How to get your baby into the ideal position for childbirth
Head Down and MORE!
When I was in midwifery school, we sang a silly song to learn the ideal position for childbirth. It went “Head down, Chin tucked, Back to Belly, Arms Down, Yeah Baby, Yeah Baby”!
Here’s your guide to figuring out your baby‘s position in utero. Mapping your baby can also be a fun and sweet way to get to know your kiddo. You can try this as early as 30 weeks, but it is easiest to do once you’re 34-36 weeks pregnant.
Map your baby!
Step one: Eat a snack to get your baby moving. Slow your breath, close your eyes and place your hands on your belly. Tune into your baby.
Step two: Divide your stomach into 4 quadrants and pay attention to the type of movement you feel in each quadrant.
Step three: Wait for your baby to move! Notice where you feel the most vigorous movement (could be a foot or knee)? Where do you feel a limb glide or roll across your belly (could be a foot, leg, or arm)? Where do you feel tiny pokes and jabs (fingers/hands)? Do you feel a firm but squishy ball (a little baby booty)?
Step four: Map out the position based on what you felt. If the baby is in the “ideal” position, occiput anterior (OA), you would feel rolling/squishy/vigorous movement at the top of your belly on either the left or right side. You would perceive poking/jabbing movements in the lower two quadrants. If your baby is “sunnyside up” or occiput posterior (OP) you are more likely to feel a butt in the far upper left or right quadrant, your belly might look deflated from the belly button down, and when your OB provider listens to your baby’s heartbeat it is closer to your back.
If you’re concerned your baby is breech or OP (posterior or sunnyside up), see if your OB provider can confirm your suspicions with Leopold’s maneuver or a quick bedside ultrasound. There are tricks to get baby in the optimal position for childbirth.
Tricks for getting baby into ideal position for childbirth!
Keep your knees lower than your hips. If sitting on an exercise ball, have your knees level with your hips.
Keep your belly lower than your hips.
If you are in bed, have your belly angled toward the bed or floor and keep a pillow between your knees and/or ankles.
Sit on your sitz bones, not your tailbone. Relaxing is not the same as collapsing. Think about what if feels like to sit on a couch- you’re more likely to ‘collapse’ and sit on your sacrum because of the soft cushion. It’s nearly impossible to stand on a couch and maintain your balance, the same is true when sitting. If you’re sitting on a couch make sure to have lower lumbar support or try a side lying position. If you’re sitting in a chair try flipping it around so you’re sitting like a ‘rebel teenager’ (Breakfast Club, anyone?) to support your lower back and pelvis.
Practice your squats! Try a long, deep yogic squat.
Sit on an exercise ball and swivel those hips!
Practice your downward dog or forward inversion.
If you’re sure your baby is in ssunnyside up (or OP) don’t squat as it can wedge baby deeper into that position. Instead, work with a chiropractor trained in Webster technique, walk, stretch, try rebozo shifting with a trained professional.