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Key techniques that will help make birth as smooth as possible

How to Get Your Baby into the Best Position for Birth


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05/10/2017

Key techniques that will help make birth as smooth as possible

This information may help you to assist your baby into the most favorable position for birth before labour begins. Note that this applies only if your baby is coming head first and is singleton baby rather than a multiple. From 34 weeks onwards, your own

From 34 weeks onwards, your own postural awareness and habits can potentially encourage your baby to lie with his or her back to your left front/side (occipito anterior) so that the baby’s head engages in the pelvic brim in this position. This will increase the potential for a normal and straightforward birth. A baby already lying the other way, with spine against your spine and facing forward (occipito posterior) can be encouraged to rotate to the anterior position in late pregnancy or during early established labour.

 A few babies will remain posterior and this may be a problem. However, because the extra rotation needed can mean a longer labour and complications do sometimes occur with posterior births, it is worth doing your best to encourage your baby into the optimal position. Please note this advice is intended to complement your antenatal care, and may not be suitable for all women or all pregnancies. Always consult your childbirth/ health professionals.

Do

  • Use upright, forward leaning postures regularly. This allows more available space in the abdomen for your baby to lie; rotate spine to the front
  • Be on your hands and knees now and then, swinging your hips (baby hammock)
  • Always sit with your knees lower than your hips with your back vertical. Do this by using 2 or 3 cushions to sit on and another one in the small of your back, if necessary, sitting on a birth ball is another idea. Sit like this to read on a dining chair, with your elbows resting on the table, knees apart, leaning slightly forward. (Similar posture used when sitting on the toilet); or
  • Sit facing the chair back and resting your arms on the back of the chair
  • Sit on a wedge cushion when driving to prevent the pelvis tipping backwards
  • Kneel on he floor leaning over a large beanbag or floor cushion to watch T.V.
  • Use an office kneeling stool, birth ball
  • Lie the majority of the time on your left side, with a pillow or two supporting the top knee to rest or sleep
  • Swim with abdomen forward (avoiding breastroke – the kick can potentially strain the softened pelvic ligaments)

It is ideal to use forward leaning postures when having Braxton Hicks (practice contractions) as this increases their effectiveness with regard to helping the baby maneuvers into the optimal position.

Don’t

  • Relax in semi-reclining positions. This tip the pelvis back with knees higher than the hips so that gravity will encourage the baby’s spine posterior
  • Take long trips in cars with bucket seats. If you must, use wedge cushion as above
  • Sit with your legs crossed
  • Use the squatting position after 34 weeks as it may make it more difficult for the baby’s head to engage optimally

Useful Positions for Labour

  • Stand or kneel leaning forward and moving your hips during contractions
  • Lean forwards over a beanbag or birth ball or on all fours either on a bed or on the floor. Or sit your partner on a chair, kneel on the floor knees apart and lean into his thighs
  • Hang onto something with arms well above the waits height (e.g. your partner’s shoulders) and let your body sag from time to time, turning your knees outward
  • If reclining, lie preferably on your left side well propped up with a backrest and cushions. Avoid lying on your back in the semi-reclining or supine position in bed

If your baby is in the posterior position in labour try making yourself comfortable, with pillows, in the knee-chest position in early established labour for up to 45 minutes at a time. This will encourage your baby to rotate. Otherwise use all fours, or forward leaning, kneeling and standing positions. Effective labour has only begun when your tummy changes shape with each contraction.




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