Pregnancy Yoga: Positioning Baby
Labour and birth is generally more comfortable, quicker and smoother when you start with baby in the right position - often called the optimum birth position - which is head settling downwards into your hips and baby's spine diagonally across the front of your tummy. The position also gives baby (and you) the most space, so it's usually a more comfortable way to carry baby in pregnancy.
Ideally, aim to get little ones settled into a good position by about 35 weeks for first babies while there's still room for manoeuvre. Next time around babies can float around a bit more and pop into and out of position. Some 'next time babies' don't even settle into position until labour actually starts.
If baby is breech, there are some yoga techniques I can teach to help baby to gently turn. There's no pushing or pulling - it's all about opening up space and inviting baby to do the rest. It's surprisingly successful. Just ask if you need this. Ask your midwife if you're getting towards 35 weeks and not sure how baby is lining up.
To practically position your baby, keep your knees below your hips whenever you are sitting - especially notice when you're on the sofa, sitting at your desk or if you do a lot of driving. Keep the natural arch in your lower back standing or sitting and be careful not to tuck your tailbone underneath and lose that curve. Use a rolled towel or pillow to give you some support if you feel yourself sagging. Sitting with good, upright posture will keep gravity pulling baby's head down into your hips and tend to float their spine forwards.
If baby is spine at the back, next to your spine when you go into labour, you can encourage baby to swing around by labouring on all fours (perhaps doing some gentle rocking), or leaning a little forward when you kneel or stand up. You can also kneel on lots of pillows leaning over your birth ball or on to your sofa seat. These techniques are perfect during pregnancy to ease baby's spine round to the front too.
It's what you do most often that makes the most difference. If you spend a lot of time sitting during the day, make sure you do a little practice on all fours every day too - perhaps slot it into TV ad breaks during the evening.
And. most importantly, remember to breathe!