Pregnancy posture matters: how you sit, sleep, & relax can determine labor outcomes

Pregnancy posture matters: how you sit, sleep, & relax can determine labor outcomes

During pregnancy, every little thing we do affects our babies and even labor outcomes. So the more intentional we are, the less likely we’ll encounter complications.

While I am not perfect by any means, I have learned how my own poor posture, sleep habits, and preferred ways of relaxing are not ideal for the position and presentation of my kids prior to birth. (In fact, my imperfection is why I have had to learn all of this… and when we know better, we do better, right?)

Ultimately, we want anterior babies. This means better positioning of their head is down and they’re facing mom’s spine for a less painful birth!

So how can a pregnant woman possibly work to change her baby’s position?

Gravity

So beyond just how someone sits making their bones and bodies push baby in certain directions, gravity pulls the heaviest part of a fetus, the head, downward. Therefore, the longer a woman sits reclined and unsupported, the easier it is for her baby to be malpositioned or present less optimally.

So what’s the difference between the position and presentation of the baby?

When using the term “position,” it assumes the baby is head-down on the cervix. So if your provider is using terms like LOA or ROP, the “O” stands for occiput and very simply just means the back of the baby’s head as it related to the pregnancy mom.

So the ideal, LOA, means Left Occiput Anterior and that the baby is on the left side, facing mom’s spine.

Malpresentations are those in which the baby’s head is not the first thing at the cervix such as transverse and all the variations of breech.

How to prepare for better labor outcomes by improving pregnancy posture

Again, it’s not guaranteed that doing everything perfectly will put baby in the perfect position, but doing our best can at least help prevent it. And comfortable sleep is one of the easiest ways to do just this.

Sleep helps align our spines and rejuvenate us, so no wonder it’s an important part of prepping for childbirth. Hinfant's pillows are a great solution to discomfort while sleeping and throughout the day.

In my 4 pregnancies, I have found multiple ways of helping myself stay upright. Over the years I have used all 4 different Hinfant's pillows that offer solutions to pregnancy discomforts and lack of sleep during pregnancy. The different shapes and price points help customize a pregnant moms’ needs to do everything from keeping knees apart while sleeping to improving posture while sitting or propping up her back while relaxing.

When sitting, sleeping, or resting, simply remember to take the birthing path of “L.E.A.S.T.” resistance!

1. Lie on your left side

Doing so helps improve blood flow and nutrient transfer between mom and baby. The weight of the uterus can restrict blood flow to the fetus when sleeping on the back, the stomach is not easy, nor recommended, and the right side is fine, but left is best.

2. Exercises balls can be used as chairs to sit on when possible

When winding down for the day or even sitting at a desk, exercise balls actually help align baby, especially later in pregnancy. By sitting on a ball, it forces better posture, but also helps open up the cervix to prepare to deliver the baby into this world!

3. Tailor Sit (Criss-Cross or Butterfly)

Especially if you can sit and watch TV in bed or on the floor in this position, it discourages reclining while strengthening the muscles in your back and stretching the pelvic region. So not only is it a preferred means of sitting, it’s also an easy, effortless exercise to prepare for labor.

 

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