Pregnancy Posture and optimal fetal positioning (OFP)
Pregnancy Posture changes and achieving Optimal Fetal Positioning (OFP). One of my focuses when treating pregnant women is helping achieve optimal fetal positioning. A baby’s positioning in- utero is important for many reasons: optimal fetal positioning allows for more comfort, and in my opinion, help a pregnancy to be more enjoyable for both.
There is a large school of thought that believes many difficult births may be a result of a mal-positioned baby. This can results in long and painful labours and the use of medical intervention. An ideal positioning, optimal fetal positioning, is when the baby is head down, chin tucked in and the head is aligned up to fit easily through the pelvis. This can be achieved by the mother following a few posture changes.
Posture tips to encourage optimal fetal positioning.
• Don’t sit cross-legged, this decreases the space in the front of the pelvis and pushed the baby backwards.
• Don’t put your feet up. Lying back on a chair with your feet up is a BAD position. Knees should never be higher that the hips. This encourages the baby to move to the back of the pelvis and a posterior positioning. Wedge cushions should be used when sitting to tilt the pelvis forwards and lift the hips. Cushions can be bought from many pregnancy outlets and should be used when sitting, driving and dining.
• Sleep on your side, not your back (lying on your back puts pressure on your major blood artery). As you lie on your side, place a pillow underneath your bump. This helps prevent the weight of your baby pulling your pelvis forwards; another pillow should be placed between your knees to assist correct alignment of your spine and pelvis.
• Swimming is a great exercise. It keeps you fit and helps encourage a good positioning. Lots of front crawl and breaststroke. Always swim with belly down! Breaststroke is great as it helps settle the baby forward and down wards but should be avoided if you have any pubic pain (SPD/pelvic girdle dysfunction). Always check with you midwife or consultant if you have any concerns about swimming.
• Spend lots of time kneeling or leaning forwards over a ball. Exercises balls are fantastic for this. Kneeing forwards or sitting leaning onto a ball is a great way to relax in the evenings. Spending time on all fours can also be very helpful!
• When in a car have the seat upright and tilt the pelvis forwards using a wedge cushion.