Optimal Fetal Positioning

OPTIMAL FETAL POSITIONING

anterior posterior

The Anterior Position is the optimal position for birth. The head of the fetus is more round. When entering the birth canal, the crown of the head presents first, molding to the birth canal and opening more readily.

With a Posterior Position, the head is more oval. Unlike the presentation of just the crown of the fetus, the baby’s head is not as moldable. The head will have more difficulty moving into and through the birth canal.

If the baby is in the Posterior Position, see if your support person can assist you to move the baby into LEFT Occiput position by using the Rebozo, forward leaning inversion (discussed in another handout), or have a Chiropractor do a pelvic adjustment (Jamie Zenner, specializes in this area).

The ROT (Right Occiput Transverse) position is a common position the fetus would be lying prior to the onset of labor. During birth, the fetus is most likely to rotate to Posterior Position rather than Anterior Position. The chin is usually flexed upwards, presenting first (See D, below).

Cranial Flexion

With LOP (Left Occiput Posterior) position the fetus’ back is lying opposite the mother’s liver. This position may allow the fetus to flex or curl his/her back, to tuck the chin. This would allow for an easier birth.

fetal position in relationship to the pelvis

The illustration above shows the various acronyms for the lie of a fetus, where the face of the fetus is turned towards. This will assist you in understanding what your doctor is telling you about the position of the fetus in your womb.Nearly half of the babies start out as breech babies, but turn on their own at around 34 weeks. 3 to 4 % still remain breech in presentation.

Doctors can do a maneuver to turn the baby called External Inversion. 60% of the babies will turn, but some revert back to breech presentation. Doing this maneuver may cause a premature birth.

There things that a pregnant woman can do for a breech baby without the external inversion:

  1.  Use an ironing board lain against the couch and lie with head towards the ground
    i. Be sure to use cushioning for the body, and a pillow for the head
    ii. Do this 3X a day for 20 minutes
  2. Another way is to lean forward, on your knees, butt up/head down resting on arms
    i. Do for 10 minutes, 3X a day.
    ii. Think of it ( and mentally “couch” your baby) as the position you would like to have your baby in birth
  3. Do not do either of these exercises if baby is head down, and posterior (without consulting your labor support person).

    Do not do either of these exercises if baby is head down, and posterior (without consulting your labor support person).

    If after reaching 37 weeks and these techniques have failed, try:

    1. Chiropractic Webster Maneuver with pubic symphysis aligning (see: Resource Page or class hand-out for local chiropractors)
    2. Craniosacral Therapy and Myofascial Release

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