Ideally, the best position for the baby to be in is with the head down and the face pointing slightly towards your spine. This is commonly referred to as the anterior position and most babies will get into this position on their own. This orientation is preferred because of the snug fit of the baby in your pelvic area.
Once active labor begins, the baby will begin to tuck her head into her chest while curling her back before the descent is begun. The purpose of this is to encourage the widening of the cervix which in turn will help in the hormone production necessary for childbirth.
For labor to go as smoothly as possible, it is best when the baby is in anterior position. For this reason, some experts recommend that a technique known as optimal fetal positioning or OFP is used. This involves urging the baby into the anterior position by altering the mother’s posture, especially when she is in the sitting position. For this to occur, it is important to tilt the pelvis forward; keeping the knees lower than the hips.
To get the baby into the anterior position, experts recommend that you try the following.
1. The first step in attempting optimal fetal positioning is finding an appropriate surface. Avoid bucket seats at all costs as they tend to keep the knees at a higher elevation than the hips in some instances. If your chairs tend to sink in, use a dining chair when you can kneel on the seat itself and throw your weight forward towards the back of the chair. Staying in this position as labor approaches can often help get the baby in the right position.
2. Get on all fours when possible as this will help the baby move easily; this orientation will allow the baby the most room to turn. This position also allows the baby to slide down so that the back of the baby’s head faces away from the spine.
3. If you find yourself spending most of your day in the sitting position, keep in mind that it makes it more difficult for the baby to assume the anterior position. Move around as much as possible so that the baby can make use of the gravity and the movement of your pelvic muscles to make her way down.
4. Birthing balls are becoming a favorite among expectant mothers as leaning on it with your knees on the floor will give the baby the most traction when taking the anterior position.
5. If you have been put on bed rest towards the end of your pregnancy, it may not be easy to move around. In this case, sit on a pillow so that your knees are well below your pelvis. Sitting in this position for a few days or even hours before labor can contribute greatly towards your baby finding the right position for labor.
If you are worried about how lying down will affect the position of your baby, just know that the position will not change significantly when you are asleep. However it is always recommended that expectant mothers sleep on their side, especially late into pregnancy.