My first two births were LOOOOOOONG and resulted in c-section the first time round, and a rather long drawn out vbac the second time around. When I was pregnant with Lena, my midwife told me about optimum foetal positioning and how it can have a huge impact on the length and type labour that you have. Lena's birth was much much easier, and by the time Anja was born, I was actually really enjoying the whole process and it certainly made for an easier natural birth.
Of course, you could say that by babies numbers three and four, my body knew what it was doing, which made it much quicker and easier, and possibly even suggest that I'd got a bit more room, but I honestly think that these things I'm about to share made for a much easier natural birth. You might not bend down, sneeze and your baby flys out, but hopefully this will help a little.
When to start working towards optimal foetal positioning
I began doing these things around 32-34 weeks, of course you can start later than that and it will probably still help, but doing it from the 32-34 week mark means that you have plenty of time to get things lined up and right. It might be worth finding out what position your baby is currently in, these tips are for single pregnancies where your baby is head down. If you have complications then you should consult your health professional first, and in all situations, it's probably worth speaking to your midwife.
What you are aiming for is your baby to lie with it's back on your left/front. You should also be encouraging your baby to engage, which should help move things along when labour arrives.
Your position helps your babies position
If your baby is back to back, then getting him/her to move into the right position is even more important. But even if they are not, doing things such as going on all fours, crawling around and kneeing for about half an hour a day can help with positioning.
Sitting can have a huge impact on your babies position, and from this point in, although it's really tempting to lounge back with your feet up, it really won't help.
- Sit upright or in forward leaning postures as much as you can.
- If you are sitting on a dining room chair, turn it around the wrong way (cowboy style) and sit like that, you'll naturally lean forward, stay upright and your hips are nice and open.
- Kneeling over a large cushion or bean bag when watching tv can help.
- When lying, try to lie on your left side with a pillow between the legs and with your top knee on the bed.
- Car seats are not good at keeping you upright, try putting a cushion under you when you are in the car.
Try to avoid:
- Using chairs that recline or semi-recline and have our knees higher than your hips.
- Taking long car journeys, use a cushion if you do.
- Sitting with your legs crossed
An Easier Natural Birth
While in labour, or having braxton hicks, leaning forward can really help. Getting on all fours is also helpful, or leaning against a wall or someone, rocking your hips with each contraction. Wiggle your bum during contractions, as this really seems to help keep things moving, and I found that it gave me something to focus on so that the pain wasn't as intense.
Most of all though, avoid lying down, and if you really really have to (my midwife put my bed up, so that I couldn't get on it) then lie on your left side.
If things don't seem to be going as fast as you'd like in labour, then trying a visit to the toilet, with both Lena and Anja, I was getting somewhere but not quite there. A couple of contractions while sitting on the toilet and it was game on, the position seems to be ideal for giving birth.
There are some great sites with heaps of info on, and most of this is pretty straight forward. Spinning Babies in particular is a great site, and not just for breach babies. Good luck and I can't wait for the birth announcement.