How Posture Changes Baby’s Position For Birth

The baby’s head and back are the largest and heaviest parts of a baby’s body. As baby grows, gravity helps baby to position itself for birth. Aside from gravity, amniotic fluid, as well as mother’s posture during pregnancy can also contribute to baby’s “heads-down” position for birth – or not.

The “Anterior” position  (front, baby’s face down, baby’s back faces mom’s abdominal wall) – ideal and best position for birth (see picture below).

The “Posterior” position (back, baby’s face up, baby’s back faces mom’s spine) – may lead to a more challenging birth

Baby’s fluid (amniotic fluid) environment allows it to move easily in the uterus without friction. Physics plays a role as well – an object in fluid will move in the direction of least resistance. For baby, head down and positioned in line with the mother’s spinal cord, otherwise known as the Longitudinal Lie, moving in a direction of least resistance, is the normal, perfect fit!

However, moms-to-be rarely pay attention to their posture during pregnancy and how it may help baby’s position for birth. Instead of leaning back, or “slouching” backwards in a chair for “comfort” from a pregnant belly, it’s best to always lean forward and sit upright.

This is because baby’s back will naturally “swing” towards the gravitational pull.

For example:

  • If you are sitting upright or leaning forward, baby’s back will swing towards your tummy
  • If you lean back or ”slouch” on a couch or lean back in a car seat, baby’s back may be pulled towards your back

We often forget the most simplest and natural forces available to us when it comes to having babies. Gravity is one of them!

For first time moms, around six weeks before your estimated due date, start being conscious of your posture on a daily basis.

  • no “slouching” or leaning backwards
  • always lean forward in chairs, on couches, even when you drive
  • when you watch TV, get yourself in a comfortable “hands and knees” position. Lean over a birth ball and watch TV
  • straddle straight backed chairs and rest your arms on the back where your back would usually be
  • adjust your car seat to sit upright and comfortable as possible, not backwards
  • scrub the kitchen floor on your hands and knees :-)

For moms having their second or more little ones,  start being conscious about your posture about 3 weeks before your estimated due date. Do the same as listed above.

The important thing to remember is stay upright and forward when sitting to help baby follow the curves of your spine – a natural and normal fit. -)

Birth Bold,
Lesly :-)


 

 

Lesly Federici

Lesly Federici is an experienced Labor and Delivery Registered Nurse (RN), She's been teaching childbirth education for over 15 years. She currently teaches Mindful Meditation to expectant couples. Lslynotes has been helping women globally prepare for childbirth online since 1998. Contact her, she'd love to hear from you!

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2 Responses

  1. Great article Lesly! I also believe this can help mean the diffeence between having a natural chilbirth or getting a C-section. I have heard too many stories of young women who had planned a natural childbirth but once in the hospital they were made to lay down on their backs which goes against what you’re talking about here. Why do they have these women lay on their backs while starting labor as this would seem to restrict the blood flow to the baby from compression to the abdominal artery?
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    • Lesly says:

      Hey Dr. C ,
      Great question! Doctors have been using the “on the back” position for many years, since the late 1800’s in the USA. It is s-l-o-w-l-y changing. In the hospital where I teach we actually encourage moms to get up and move, even with an epidural. I think as more evidence proves that lying on the back is unproductive for labor, it will change. And as more women demand it, it will change. But women have to be educated BEFORE seeing a doctor. Thanks for the visit and post! :-)

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