Preparation for Labour – Optimal Fetal Positioning
Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time but increasingly women are needing help with delivery from instruments and caesarian sections. There are a variety of causes of this, from fear of litigation to use of local anaesthesia so that the mother is out of contact with the delivery process. Also we tend to be sedentary nowadays and our back and pelvis are often not as strong as in previous generations and we are tending to have babies at older ages. But you can do a lot for yourself to help achieve a normal delivery.
The baby tends to lie facing the placenta, which is normally on the back wall of the womb, which will place the baby facing towards your spine hopefully head down. You can encourage this position by lying on your left side in the later stages of pregnancy – you can put a thin pillow under your tummy to help support this.
If your baby is not in the best position – either face forwards or transverse or breech – there can be a variety of causes. Perhaps the womb itself is an unusual shape or twisted or flopped over, your pelvis could be an unusual shape or out of alignment. The Osteopath can check the pelvis function for you. Maybe the cord is too short not allowing movement or too long and wrapped around the head, neck or body of the foetus, or the placenta could be attached differently. If there are twins they will use the space as best they can.
You can do the following to try to help the baby find a better position:
· Get down on all fours and relax your tummy and experiment with crawling and rocking and try placing one knee on a cushion. Doing this for a few minutes a day in the latter stages can encourage the foetus to move into the correct position.
· Stand with feet apart leaning a little forward. Let your tummy really flop into relaxation and hold onto the banister or sink and gently rock to and fro. This can help.
· During the day avoid sitting with knees higher than hips.
· Go for a swim.
· Take rests and ideally give up work about 6 weeks before delivery to allow your body to rest and build up strength for the delivery.
· Once in labour try to keep active and on your feet and kness, leaning forwards with support from a chair or partner so that gravity can help the baby descend, or try on all fours for a time.
· Try to have the epidural only when needed – you will be able to control the birth process more easily. If you have the epidural try to lie on your side to deliver – it helps to keep the sacrum free to move.