Your baby’s movement in the third trimester will prepare them for birth. The optimal birth position resulting from your baby’s movement is when their head is downwards and their face towards the front of the mother’s tummy. This way their body is aligned to pass through the pelvis in the most convenient natural way. An ideal position like this can speed up the process of birth with minimum pain experienced during the labor.
Your Baby’s Position Inside The Womb
Anterior And Posterior
Medically, the mother’s pelvis is divided into 4 quadrants—Right Posterior, Left Posterior, Right Anterior and Left Anterior. The anatomical terms anterior means the front of the body, while posterior means back of the body. When the baby’s position is mentioned as posterior, the back of their head faces the back of the mom’s pelvis. Likewise, the anterior position means the baby’s head faces the front of the mother’s body or towards the tummy.
The position of the baby is determined considering 3 different parameters—side of the pelvis they are facing(left or right), posterior-anterior position, and the presenting part or the part of baby closest to the birth canal.
The Not-So-Convenient Positions
Breech position is when your baby’s buttocks are aligned downwards towards your pelvis instead of their head. Sometimes, the baby has positioned such a way that instead of the head, the shoulders are in the presenting position or the delivery position. In these cases, there is a requirement of C-section. Know more about optimal fetal positioning.
Dr. Ragini Agrawal, gynecologist and clinical director of W-Hospital, Gurgaon, India explains that there are two significant fetal positions involving your baby’s head entering the pelvis first—Left Occiput Anterior and Right Occiput Anterior.
Left Occiput Anterior (LOA)
This position is considered as an ideal fetal position for birth. The baby’s face is towards the mother’s back between the right hip and spine—their back is on the mother’s left side.
During birth, the baby tucks their chin to their chest to fit in the small pelvic space. This allows the smallest part of the head to pass first through the cervix.
Right Occiput Anterior (ROA)
In the ROA position, the baby’s back is more towards the right side of the mother’s uterus. She can feel the kicks in the upper left area of her belly. A lot many determinant factors that make ROA position easy for labor—one of them is tucking of the baby’s chin against the chest during birth.
ROA Position Isn’t The Ideal Position
That being said, ROA isn’t a risky position either. The only concern your obstetrician will have is that baby’s in ROA have a risk of turning in posterior or Right Occupit Traverse (ROT) position.
ROT is between posterior and anterior position, where the baby is facing in the direction of mother’s left thigh. Moms with babies in ROT position are known to have slightly more painful and longer labor.
Ways To Reduce Labor Pain In ROA Position
- Avoid sleeping on your right side. If you found yourself sleeping on the right side at night, don’t worry—shift onto the left side.
- On consultation with the doctor, start with exercise like cow stretch or cat stretch. Try doing it 3 times a for 20 minutes—be on all fours or keep your elbows on a table or a birthing ball while staying on your knees
- While sitting, don’t lean back. Avoid reclining in a chair or a couch. Instead, sit on an exercise ball.
- Exercises like lunges, squatting, walking, dancing, and swaying can also promote right fetal positioning
There are multiple fetal positions in which your baby can be positioned. Here is a quick view of different fetal positions. If there is enough space for the baby, they usually turn before the onset of labor. Many moms also take the help of therapies that externally encourage the movement of the baby.