Around the 34th week of pregnancy, most babies move to a head-down position, getting ready for delivery. However, some babies do not. They are either breech babies (babies that are positioned feet or bottom down in the womb) or transverse lying babies (lying sideways in the womb). It can lead to a complicated vaginal delivery if the babies do not move into the proper position. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help your baby move to a proper position, for an easy and problem free delivery.
What Is An Ideal Position Of Baby For Delivery?
The head down (chin tucked into the chest), back leaning towards the mother’s tummy, and the limbs facing inwards. The baby fits cozily into the bow of the pelvis. This position is known as anterior position. If the baby is in this position, the delivery will be easier. This is because, as the head, which is comparatively larger and firmer part of the baby’s body gets through the birth canal first, it will be easy for the rest of the body to make its way through the already stretched and widened cervix.
By any chance, if the baby’s body comes out first, the cervix may not be stretched enough for the head to pass through it. This can life threatening for the baby.
What Is A Posterior Position?
This is another position taken by the baby during delivery. Here, even though the baby is in head down position, the back of the baby instead of leaning toward the mother’s tummy, will lean against the mother’s spine. More often, the chin of the baby is pushed up instead of tucking into the chest. Even though the vaginal delivery is possible in this position, the labor will be long and painful. The persisting back pain in late pregnancy and labor is a common problem associated with this position. Long and slow labor that makes the mother too tried to push anymore, which increases the chances of assisted delivery is another problem of this position.
How To Determine The Position Of Your Unborn Baby?
Only the doctor can confirm the position of your unborn baby. Here’s how to determine the position of your unborn baby yourself:
If you see a lump on any side at the top of the tummy, delicately press on it. If you feel your baby’s entire body move, it indicates that the baby is most probably in a head-down position
Once you find out that most likely your baby is in head down position, next you will like to know whether he is in anterior or posterior position. Well, here are some signs to determine that:
If the baby is in an anterior position, you will feel baby’s movements under your ribs. Also your belly button will pop out
If the baby is in a posterior position, you will feel the kicks right at the front of your tummy, usually around the middle. Besides, the tummy will appears flatter, rather than a rounded shape
If you feel the baby’s kicks up above your belly, or even just above your belly button, then the baby is most probably in a head-up position (breech). Also, if you are feel the baby’s heartbeat on or above the belly button, most probably, the baby is in a head-up position
How Can I Prevent A Posterior Labor?
Here are some tips to avoid posterior labor. These tips can help the baby to switch to anterior position. Remember to follow these tips atleast 6 weeks before the due date in case of first pregnancy and 3-4 weeks prior to the due date for the second and subsequent pregnancies. Don’t lose heart if you are nearing your due date. Sometimes there is a good chance, the baby will turn right away with these tips. The good thing is that these exercises will never turn an anterior baby posterior. Therefore, even if you are not sure of position, you can try out these tips as they will not create any issues. The basic concept is to keep the pelvis tilted over all the time.
Avoid reclining position. If you feel like leaning, lean over a bean bag
Swim or float on the front. Let the gravity do the rest
Crawl around the floor in all fours. This is the best exercise to turn a posterior baby anterior
If you want to sit down for a while, always sit on a birth ball or fit ball rather than a chair
Practice pelvic rocking for 15 minutes per day
Lie down on your left side, with your left leg straight and your right leg at a 90-degree angle upheld by a couple of pillows. This position usually helps the baby to rotate
Lie down on the floor on your back. Insert a rolled towel under your back so that the spine is arched. This applies pressure on the neck of the baby to stretch. This makes them turn to a relatively comfortable anterior position
How Can I Turn My Breech Baby Naturally ?
Breech tilt: Breech tilt is the most popular exercise that helps to turn the breech baby to head down position. To carry out the breech tilt, place a pillow at a low edge against a couch or seat. With the help of the family member, lie down with head down and feet up position. Once you get your balance, gently massage your stomach in a downward circular motion. You can place a frozen bag of peas wrapped in a thin cloth and set close to the baby’s head. The duration of the breech tilt is 20 minutes. Repeat it three times every day. This will urge the baby to move in the opposite direction of the cold and your posture will make it easy for him
Forward-leaning inversion: This exercise helps to turn both the breech baby and transverse baby to a favorable position. To carry out this forward leaning position, bend down or lean over the couch’s edge. Slowly and carefully first hunch down on your hand and then slowly shift the weight to the forearm. Keep the elbows out and hand close. Never let the head, rest on the floor. That will strain your neck. Stay in this chin tucked and head hanged free position for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, you can carefully crawl out of the couch on all fours. By holding something firm, you can slowly stand up. Repeat it twice a day
A Word Of Caution!
Stop these exercises immediately if you experience any kind of contractions, cramping, dizziness, nausea or spotting. You might fall and get hurt. It can also harm the baby.
There is nothing to worry about as long as you have been getting regular check-ups and following your doctor’s advice. Your doctor knows what is best for you and your baby and if C-section is required or not.