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I became interested in fetal positioning during the end of my own pregnancy.  Since the birth of my son I have continued to gain knowledge, a deeper understanding and an appreciation for the importance of fetal positioning.  I believe all care providers and birth workers need to have an understanding of the importance of fetal positioning and translate this knowledge and the importance of it to their expectant clients/patients. 

 

This article will serve two purposes, to help those women who find themselves in the “breech predicament” and to educate women on how to best avoid ever having to deal with a breech presentation. I firmly believe this knowledge will help Mothers and families make informed decisions and choices for themselves, their baby and their family, while avoiding feeling bullied by the “system”.

When it was confirmed that my son was in the footling breech position during the last couple weeks of my pregnancy, I began to closely follow the work of Gail Tully, Midwife and Author of SpinningBabies.com and have since been fortunate enough to attend her Spinning Babies workshop.

 

The Spinning Babies view on the common cause of breech presentation: the possible asymmetry of the uterus. Uterine symmetry depends upon pelvic alignment and ligaments of equal length. Bring balance and tone to the womb and the baby will spontaneously move into the best position in the space available to them.

 

So what does this mean? First lets focus on balance and symmetry. If a woman has an asymmetrical or “out of balanced” uterus this can make it more difficult for baby to get into a head down position as this asymmetry may create a smaller space in the womb. How does a uterus become asymmetrical? An asymmetrical uterus can be caused by our modern life experiences i.e. driving a car, sitting at desk for long periods at a time, wearing high heels, stress from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, poor posture, pregnancy, etc.

 

Now let’s look at uterine tone, a uterus either too tight or too loose in muscle tone can also influence fetal positioning. The tone of a symmetrical womb will have an influence on fetal position. According to Spinning Babies there are 3 Principles: Balance, Gravity & Movement that will help address the issues involved to help create both a balanced and symmetrical uterus leading to optimal fetal positioning.

 

Other causes for breech presentation can include:

 

  • Too much or too little amniotic fluid. 
  • Baby or babies sometimes growing larger than the available room to flip head down.
  • The anatomical shape of the womb.
  • Position of the placenta.
  • A short or wrapped umbilical cord.
  • Time in pregnancy that birth occurs.
  • Birth anomaly although this is very rare.  

 

According to Gail Tully, “No more than 10% of full term breech babies have a physical reason for staying breech.”

What proactive steps can you take to help turn your breech baby?  First and foremost let’s discuss Optimal Fetal Positioning. OFP describes the activities that can help balance your body and guide your baby to a position that encourages a straightforward birthing experience. 

The sooner a mother begins OFP the better chance she has in balancing her body and encouraging baby into a good position for labor. I would start OFP techniques as soon as I am planning on becoming pregnant. If you are already pregnant and are finding yourself reading this article, I would begin the techniques today. The sooner these techniques are started the better. 

 

Try to incorporate the following activities into your daily life either prior to pregnancy or as soon as you learn you are pregnant as a way to create a balanced womb.

 

Posture

Make your belly a hammock for your baby. Try to maintain your belly in a relaxed forward or down position rather than pointing up.  Please visit http://spinningbabies.com/more-info/for-pregnancy/rest-smart-posture for more information.

 

Move Freely

Taking brisk walks can relax the PSAOS muscle pair, which, when tight can hold your womb and baby up. Do hip opening stretches and pelvis-balancing exercises in yoga, swim or dance.

 

Rest

Make a nest of pillows and lay nearly belly down, with the lower leg positioned behind you and upper leg resting over high pillows. Remember to alternate on each hip with a pillow between your knees and ankles. Always protect your belly and the small of your back with pillows.

 

Bodywork

If you are experiencing discomfort during pregnancy whether “false labor” or a general sense of discomfort, it could be an indication of bodywork need. Many “Baby Spinners” (those trained in the Baby Spinning Techniques) use a combination of these techniques: --Chiropractic adjustments (Webster Maneuver), craniosacral therapy, diaphragmatic release, sacral release, acupuncture, moxibustion, homeopathy, maya uterine massage, prenatal yoga and/or Reiki treatments.

 

Birth Support

Research shows that doula support is the most effective labor intervention. A doula can provide helpful tips and education for labor progress while providing continuous emotional support for the mother. 

 

Continue reading: Types of Breech Births & Tips to Spin and Turn Baby

Published in Fetal Development

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