Optimal Fetal Positioning

What is it?

It's a theory written by midwife, Jean Sutton and antenatal teacher, Pauline Scott.  They discovered that a women's position can greatly affect how the baby lies in the womb, particularly in the 3rd Trimester.  Optimal Fetal Positioning is about the best positioning for you and your baby in preparation for labour and birth.

Approximately 87% of first babies will rotate from the 'back to back' position to 'back to bump' during labour, the percentage is even greater for subsequent births.  Although most of the evidence is 'anecdotal' this is only due to research being too complicated and potentially, unethical, to undertake.

How?

Positions you should be mindful of semi reclined, particularly on sofas.  Any positions where the knees are higher than the hips.  These positions can cause the pelvis to tilt backwards, assisting your baby into that 'back to back' posture.  This is not to say you cannot enjoy a relaxing seat on your sofa; you may want to add a few (more) pillows or lie on your side for a while.  If you really want to then every so often have a walk around or lean forward over a chair or birthing ball (see photo below).  This just keeps 'reminding' your body and baby of the optimal position.  Sitting and rocking on a birthing ball is a great way to do this too.  Gently rocking from side to side or hip circles can feel great for you as well as helping your baby's position.  The video below from Sally Parkes shows more examples of this.

As I mentioned, over 87% of babies will naturally rotate into the Occiput Anterior (OA) position during labour so relax in the knowledge of this and enjoy this time and movements with your baby.

"The moment a baby is born, the mother is born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new" - Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Maternal Sunshine Yoga

Seaford, UK

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