Later scans and midwife appointments during your pregnancy will mention the position of your baby. In particular, they will look out for whether your baby is breech, transverse, back to back as this can make birth more difficult for you, longer and more painful. That’s not to say vaginal delivery of a breech baby isn’t still possible - it is, although the experience and skills of your midwife are crucial.
However, if you’d like to encourage your baby in the best possible position I recommend to all women in my pregnancy and birth preparation classes to adopt certain habits as soon as possible, ideally from the moment I share them! Even if you're just 14weeks pregnant, creating new habits will help your baby familiarise themselves with the beautiful space you’re creating for them. It will help you potentially be more comfortable and create space for your baby whilst helping you think about the use of gravity and movement - for pregnancy and birth.
So often in pregnancy people reach the last few weeks and start to fret because their baby isn’t in the best possible position for birth. Often because we have a need to know what’s happening and we’ve lost some trust in our body and our babies instincts we forget that everything can change right up to birth, so a breech baby can very often turn into the ideal position at the last moment. This can be a worrying time for women because of the pressure to set induction dates potentially depending on factors surrounding your pregnancy and caesarean sections. However, if you want to be proactive, you may find this post helpful to give your baby a little nudge in the right direction!
Here’s a few tips to start now:
Whenever you sit, especially at work or during travel ensure your hips are above your knees. Perhaps use a cushion or yoga block to lift your pelvis higher.
No slouching! When you sit keep upright, preferably with your shoulders in front of your hips. This is a really tricky one when you’re tired after a busy day so please invest in a yoga ball; they make you sit upright which is great for posture and alignment. They also take weight off your back which can be a relief as your baby grows.
If you kneel on the floor with your arms on the top of the ball, head resting to the side then you’re creating a great angle in your back and encouraging baby forward into your “bump” space.
Slouching encourages your baby to lay transverse or back to back because you’re creating a space that isn’t where they’re meant to be.
Don’t cross your legs or your ankles. This narrows your pelvis and throws your alignment. Your pelvis needs to be aligned and open and not restricted. If you cross your legs your baby can’t get it’s head where it needs to be! Crossed legged on the floor, like a child would sit is fine; you may want a yoga block under your bottom to lift your pelvis.
Whenever you stand try to have both feet flat on the floor, weight evenly distributed and without dropping either of your hips with one knee bent.
As well as helping prevent pelvic griddle pain and SPD, having good posture will help your baby get into the best possible position for birth and there is some research that says excellent posture and spinal care can improve your emotions too!
If you can, I recommend a chiropractor or an osteopath is seen throughout pregnancy (and beyond).
If you can, try to practise movements on all fours daily for at least five minutes. This encourages your baby to make use of the wonderful space you’ve created for them and turn if they need to. This has the added benefit of taking weight off your back if you’re feeling the pressure of your growing baby.
Downward dog is a great position for helping your baby turn. However, do NOT do downward dog pose if you have high or low blood pressure, and if your baby is in position at 36 weeks then keep your baby there and avoid this pose. Always come down slowly from this position and go into child’s pose straight away (knees wide).
Lay on your left hand side when sleeping as long as you can. Don’t worry if you can’t lay on your left all the time; this is really difficult to do in pregnancy, comfort is important so you can get your rest! So be conscious of the left being the best side for you and your baby and do it when you can.
Lastly - and not a position at all - but visualise your baby in the best possible position and speak to them. Your baby can hear your voice; they are clever and between you both you have everything you need to have a positive birth.
I hope these tips help many women and babies. It’s all knowledge we once had but have lost over the years and it’s important we relearn what instinctively we once knew.
Always trust your instincts throughout pregnancy and birth and I wish you the best possible birth and start to motherhood.
Clare is based in Leigh on Sea in Essex and teaches Pregnancy Yoga and Birth Preparation. She is the Founder of #MothersSupportingMothers and helps support women postnatally running various classes and private Birth Trauma Recovery sessions. W: clarecurtiswellbeing.co.uk FB: @clarecurtismotherssupportingmothers Inst: @clare_motherssupportingmothers
If your baby is breeched, you may be offered a procedure to turn the baby. Check out our other blog here: https://www.ordinarymothers.com/post/breeched-baby-trying-an-ecv