As a baby grows during pregnancy, it can move a lot and put itself in different positions. Keeping an eye on a baby’s position can be just as important as regularly checking their growth and heartbeat since it greatly impacts the baby’s health — especially when it comes to the position they’re in just before labor.
We hope to make things easy for all the new parents out there, so we’re breaking down the different baby positions and explaining what they mean and what you can do to ensure your baby is in a safe and healthy pose.
This is the position that most babies get into before labor begins and it is considered the best position for them to be in. While in this position, the baby’s head will be down in the pelvis of the mother, with its back facing its mother’s belly, allowing it to press down on and open the cervix during labor. If a baby is lying slightly to the left or right, the position can be called left occiput anterior (LOA) or right occiput anterior (ROA), respectively.
This position is also known as the back-to-back position. The baby’s head is pointing down and their back is resting against their mother’s back. Unlike the anterior position, it is difficult for babies in this position to tuck their head in and pass through the smallest part of the pelvis. This can cause labor to become longer and slower than if the baby were in the anterior position, even causing the mother’s back to hurt.
This position can be caused by the mother spending a long time sitting or lying down. Similarly, a mother can encourage her child to roll into the desired position by leaning in the direction they want them to move in.
This position happens when babies are lying horizontally in the uterus. It almost looks like they are sleeping on their back. Many babies in this position usually turn before their mother goes into labor, but some do not. When babies are still in this position as they get closer to their due date, a doctor may have to perform a C-section, otherwise, there can be a risk of umbilical cord prolapse, in which the cord is delivered before the baby.
In this position, a baby’s head is facing up, instead of down, inside their mother’s pelvis. It’s technically safe for the baby while they are in the womb, but this position can be dangerous during labor. It can be caused by a number of different factors, like the amount of amniotic fluid inside the womb or the shape of the uterus.
Women who are carrying more than one baby might have one child in a breech position, with their twin in another position. There are different forms of breech position, including complete breech, in which the baby’s feet are near their buttocks, and footling breech, which causes the baby to be born feet first.
Can their position be changed?
It is possible for a baby’s position to change while inside their mother. In fact, most babies will naturally turn themselves into a head-down position after 36 weeks. Some babies have even been known to change their position before labor. To change a baby who is in a breech position, a doctor, osteopath, or midwife might perform an external cephalic version, which manually turns the baby.
The 2005 study claimed that there was little evidence that women changed their baby’s position by exercising on their hands and knees. However, the exercise did ease the mother’s back pain. Even simple things like walking for half an hour, regularly swimming, or sitting on a medicine ball instead of a chair can help women carry the extra weight and keep themselves healthy.
Some people believe that pregnant women can perform certain exercises to help get their baby into an ideal position. One popular exercise is the forward-leaning inversion. It involves getting on your hands and knees, also known as a child’s pose, and rocking back and forth for 10 to 15 minutes. Some variations have the woman lift up her legs. This is done in the hopes of relaxing both the pelvic muscles and the gravitational pull inside the uterus.