Many times, delivery experiences turn out to be traumatic for mothers. Labor becomes a constant pain but no gain affair. Obstetricians fail to identify the definite cause behind it and perform a c-section. But, in most cases, a painful and prolonged childbirth is attributed to wrong positioning of the baby inside the womb.
Optimal Fetal Positioning
The ideal position of birth is when the baby’s head is downwards with its face towards the back of the mother. This way the baby’s chin tucks onto the chest forcing the smallest part of its head through the birth canal—the diameter and circumference of the head that passes through the pelvis is approximately 9.5 centimeters and 27.5 centimeters respectively. This is referred to as occiput anterior position (OA).
But, sometimes, the baby spins its way to face the mother’s abdomen, with its head towards the mother’s back. This is called the occiput posterior position (OP). It results in a painful labor commonly known as back labor. But, why? As compared to the OA position, here, the width of the baby’s head that has to pass
How To Find Out The Position Of The Baby
It is possible to find the position of the baby through ultrasound scans during gestation and by digital vaginal examination at the time of labor. You can anticipate the correct position of the baby yourself. If it is in the anterior position, your back may feel hard and smooth. The kicks will be prominent under your ribs. Your belly button may seem firm and poking out. In case of a posterior positioned baby, the kicks will be more on the front in the middle of your bump. Your belly may look flatter and dip into a concave, saucer-like shape near the belly button.
If you feel the baby is moving, lie down on your back with your legs stretched out. Try to feel what part of your baby’s body is moving. It may be difficult to anticipate at first, but gradually you will be able to figure out. The head of
Another way to find out is when you experience a backache during the last trimester. However, it may turn out be a pregnancy symptom and not an effect of posterior positioning. You may also feel long and painful contractions as the due date nears, which may not be labor contractions but irregular practice contraction ( Braxton Hicks Contractions). This could indicate that your baby is turning around while descending through the pelvis.
Ways To Avoid The Posterior Positioning
Proper sitting positions like the tailor pose can help—sitting with your back upright, knees to the sides and soles together. Avoid leaning back in a chair. Always keep your knees below your pelvis.
Various exercises can prove helpful. For instance, wiggling your hips when you are on all fours, cat pose, and camel stretch—arching your back and rounding out your upper back. Chiropractic techniques may also come to your rescue. A technique called diaphragmatic release can adjust posterior babies back into the normal birth line.
Find out more about the
If your baby is already in posterior position, it isn’t necessary to undergo a c-section. Keep calm and continue with the mentioned ways to avoid posterior positioning and make your baby spin.
Know that it may take a few days for the baby to turn around in the right position even if you work day and night for it. Your goal should be to prevent your baby from descending lower and engaging in the pelvis.
Most posterior babies turn during the labor, however, if your baby doesn’t budge, you can still have a vaginal birth. Some babies start well with the onset of labor but end up dancing their way to the wrong position. What you can do in the end is to help the baby and in turn help yourself through the process of labor. Here is what you can possibly do during labor.
- Walk, walk and walk. Walk up the stairs if possible.
- Indulge in Kegel exercises that you may have practiced during your prenatal class.
- Try using a birthing ball. It can provide some
- Take a warm water bath or get in a Jacuzzi.
- Kneel on all fours or rest your elbows on a table while standing.
- Squat with the help of a support keeping the bottom 18 inches off the floor.
- Use birth stools that are 18 inches above the floor.
A study found that the posture of being on your hands and knees during pregnancy can prevent the occurrence of OP positioning during labor. 1
The research on methods to identify and correct the positioning of the baby is still in progress. Nevertheless, it is considered healthy for both the mother and baby to remain active till the D-day.