The aspect of ‘Optimal Foetal Positioning’ is very important for expecting mums. You may have heard so many times that someone had a difficult delivery because the child was ‘stuck’, which is basically an issue with the baby’s birth position. It can occur due to many reasons such as when the mother’s pelvis is smaller than the baby’s head, or when the baby has turned to become posterior. Optimal foetal positioning helps to address these concerns.
Why Is Optimal Foetal Positioning Important?
If we can work around the baby’s birth position before the labour starts, delivery can be smoother and can be managed more efficiently. The ideal birthing position of a baby is Occiput Anterior (OA), wherein its head is downwards and its backside against your tummy, facing your back. This will facilitate a more orderly movement of the baby to your pelvis. It can bend and turn its head and neck by tucking its chin to its chest, thereby allowing its body to stimulate your cervix to open.
On the other hand, the Occiput Posterior (OP) position isn’t too suitable for birthing. Due to its position change, the baby settles with its back against the mother’s back. The subsequent labour can be intense and more painful because the baby finds it difficult to tuck its chin to the chest and move towards the pelvis. This can cause delayed labour.
Many OP babies are born post-date or through C-section delivery due to improper positioning. The mother also has to endure a considerable backache during the delivery. Also, even when the Braxton Hicks contractions start, it can result in a lot of pain.
Additionally, it also creates a lot of stress upon the bladder when the baby begins to move and rotate while it is preparing to reach the pelvis. If the mother has a low placenta that can be another reason why the baby might take the OP position.
How To Determine The Position Of The Baby?
There are a few ways by which you can know if your baby is resting in the ‘occiput anterior’ position. In anterior position, your baby’s back will appear smooth, hard and rounded towards one side of your stomach, whereas in the posterior position, the tummy will look more flat and wobbly. You might feel the limbs of the baby towards the frontal side and its kicks around the centre of your tummy, which is another indication of posterior position. Your stomach may also show a concave dip near the belly button due to the spare space in that region.
How Can You Avoid The Occiput Posterior Position?
It’s simple physics – the part of the body that is heaviest tends to gravitate down. And in the baby’s case, it is its back. If you are leaning ahead while sitting on a chair, your stomach is below your back and therefore the baby’s back will also gravitate towards your stomach. But if you are lounging or slouching on a sofa, then your back lowers its position compared to your tummy, and your baby also shifts its position accordingly.
The best way to hold your body in the days of pregnancy is to try to remain upright as much as possible while keeping your torso a bit tilted towards the front. Furthermore, ensure that you keep your knees placed below your pelvic region. Squatting is also a beneficial exercise that you can try.
These were a few facts and suggestions regarding foetal positioning. If the baby changes its position on its own or there is some clinical issue, one can always look for ways to create more favourable delivery conditions for the mother and baby. Alternatively, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle by doing moderate exercise can also help in a smoother delivery and birth.