Optimal Fetal Positioning During Pregnancy
An optimal fetal position is when the baby is head down, with their chin tucked, and with their back on the maternal left side or center. This matters because an optimally positioned baby promotes more effective contractions, a shorter labor, decreased back labor, and a higher likelihood of vaginal birth. If a baby is malpositioned at the onset of labor it can lead to a long labor causing maternal exhaustion or fetal distress, and other interventions.
Here are some ways in which you can encourage optimal fetal positioning throughout your pregnancy:
Maintain good posture. Avoid slouching and any reclined positions while sitting. Think about keeping your knees level to or lower than your hips.
Utilize an exercise ball when sitting. Make sure your feet are flat and that your hips are wide.
Practice daily pelvic rocks/pelvic tilts at home. Pelvic rocking can often alleviate back pain and hip discomfort while also encouraging your baby to be in an optimal position.
Practice daily squats. Bonus: This will also help to build strength and stamina for labor!
Practice daily static deep squatting. You can use a wall to support your back or place a towel underneath your heals if your heals come up off of the ground.
Ask your midwife about how to use a Rebozo if you know your baby is malpositioned.
How to tell what position your baby is in:
Visualize where your baby's legs and feet might be based on where you feel kicking.
Listen for your baby's heartbeat with a fetoscope. Your midwife can teach you how to do this! With the use of the stethoscope you can tell when you're directly over your baby's heart.
Midwives can help you to understand what position your baby is in during prenatal appointments by feeling your baby's head and body with their hands and showing you how to do this too.
If you have further questions about this, or would like to see a midwife in order to learn more about the position of your baby, you know where to find us. As always, we're here for you.
-Charli & Sarah