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.
- 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. -)