Why Your Baby's Position Matters
Today I want to talk about why your baby's position is quite possibly the most important thing that you need to be focused on at the end of pregnancy. And when I say end of pregnancy, I pretty much mean the entire third trimester. Your baby's position is literally everything as your baby starts to snuggle into position and the real estate, if you will, your belly kind of gets smaller.
Your baby is going to start to push on these nerve endings, ligaments, and tendons, and the pressure, those sensations that your baby is sending to your body are intentional. Your body is looking for specific nerves and tendons and ligaments to be pressed. Your body is looking for specific signals and your baby is looking for specific signals too. Your baby's position is everything for this process.
We want to make sure that in the third trimester, we're really working on your baby's position. Now I'm not going to give you tips on how to get your baby in the right position, because that is something I teach in The Birth Lounge. I teach you exactly what to do week by week, starting at week 34, I tell you every step to do it. And that is actually how our secret sauce to pushing work so well.
You have to account for nature for some of baby's position, but you also have responsibility in helping your baby get into the right position too. So here's why your baby's position actually matters as your baby drops down into the birth canal- if you are unable to get baby into an optimal position for birth your chances of a planned or unplanned c-section increase.
As they grow in pregnancy, your baby's going to do this corkscrew movement. They're going to drop and spin and drop and spin and drop and spin just like a corkscrew. And this is a very specific path. Remember that your body and your baby go together like a plug and a socket. And so everything that your baby does, your body is receiving that. Your body is looking for a very specific message and sensation from your baby throughout the entire process, because remember, your body was made to do this. So your body knows what to expect, even with your first baby. Your baby and your body know what to expect. You don't know what to expect, because you don't know mentally and emotionally what to expect, but if you surrender and let nature take over, your baby and your body actually do know what to do.
If we can get your baby in optimal position, you are going to have a shorter labor. You are going to have a less painful labor (and a lot of times we see no back pain!). I am a huge believer that back labor is not a normal thing in, in birth. I think it is the biggest indicator that your baby is in a difficult position. And we need to try to get that baby, in a different position.
So, how do we get your baby in a different position? That's something that I teach in The Birth Lounge too. So that if you find yourself in this situation during labor, you know, if you're a member of The Birth Lounge, you know how to get yourself out of that situation. You know how to get your baby out of whatever position is causing you that back labor, because we've broken down back labor and why it might be happening.
So shorter labors, less painful labors, reduce back labor, if any, at all. These all seem like great reasons to work on positioning, right? Here's another: the position of your baby can reduce tearing (what?! YES.).
Now I've got a couple of research articles, because I want you to see a, how the position of your baby can impact your tearing. If your baby's on the right position, it can actually cause you more tearing. Check out how the position of your baby can reduce tearing, here.
I also want to show you the midwifery approach, linked here. They actually allow your baby's head to be born with one contraction, then the shoulders to be born with a different contraction, and finally the rest of the body to be born with a different contraction. The OB model of care is much more hands-on and doesn't leave so much room in the approach for restitution, which is your body's way of naturally turning your baby, right? Their head comes out and then their body is going to turn and come out as well.
A final article I'm gonna link for you is how an epidural has the potential to interfere with this. So one of the things we have to think about when we get an epidural is: Are we doing it too soon?
One of the other things that I feel obligated to tell you about is anytime you introduce any sort of medical pain relief, like an epidural, it has the potential to make baby's heart tone be funky. I encourage you to do a lot of research on normal and abnormal heart tones. And what are your options with each of those?
The second thing I want to tell you about is that if your baby's in the right position, it's more likely that you're going to have less complications. You are less likely to see your baby gets stuck. If your baby is not in the right position, there are very quick and easy maneuvers that we can do. Spinning babies is a great resource to check out for getting your baby in the right position as well.
If your baby is in the right position, you are less likely to have complications like shoulder dystocia. And remember, we want to really respect that restitution. So, the key here is finding a provider that has that healthy respect for restitution and also understands the fine line of sitting on their hands and allowing your body to do what it is meant to do. Also, a provider who understands the right time to intervene in order to keep you and your baby safest.
I just got done reading the book, called 'Birth, the Surprising History of How We are Born' by Tina Cassidy. She actually explains the evolution of the pelvis as we learned to walk upright. I found it so fascinating so I wanted to share a few concepts she shares with you in the book. Honestly, it's no wonder birth, doesn't go smoothly- the physical frame leaves little room for error.
She explained that the birth canal became larger, but more important, it also became different in shape with the exit now widest between the pubic bone and the tailbone. As a result, the big head is able to descend through a pelvis, fine tuned for walking. The baby must begin to turn sideways as much as 45 to 90 degrees in order to align its body with the widest pelvic outlet. In most cases, babies can navigate the space, unaided. But every time we are are rolling the dice to see if the parts will align. So why not eliminate the guessing before labor begins?
That sent me personally down the rabbit hole of what can we do to make the most room for baby and to get baby in the perfect alignment. So I started to look into like, what are the things I'm telling our clients to do? And how can we start to replicate this? And so that's why I wanted to share this with you- to share how important your baby's position really is. We want your sacrum to be free. We want you to not be on your back. We would ideally like you to be upright. So we could be using gravity to our advantage. You really want to be considering your baby's position and what you can do all throughout the third trimester to help them into that optimal position for birth.