What Moms Should Know about Optimal Fetal Positioning

From packing a hospital bag to thinking about finding a pediatrician, the final weeks of pregnancy are busy ones for an expecting mother. One thing you should prioritize during this busy time is working to navigate your baby into the best position for birth.

As a fetus grows, it fits into mom’s pelvis any way it wants. In the last month of pregnancy, when the baby drops, it can sometimes land in a less than ideal position. Like a halved bagel slice fitting into the slot of a toaster, your baby should face sideways in the pelvis to make the childbirth experience easier for both you and your baby.

This is achieved by optimal fetal positioning.

There are exercises that a mom-to-be can do when the baby is active to help get baby into position.

When your baby is moving around on its own, he or she will work with you to get into a better position for birth.

In this video, I show one popular baby positioning technique that works for many women. (If you have heartburn, talk to your midwife or provider to find another pose that will work better for you.)

Here are some answers to common questions about fetal positioning:

Where can I find a position other than child’s pose?

I recommend Spinning Babies® to my patients who are looking for more information on optimal fetal positioning.

While we are not Spinning Babies instructors nor do we offer Spinning Babies services, classes, appointments, or sessions at South Shore Health, the Spinning Babies website offers a number of helpful resources perfect for expecting parents.

The website also offers links to birth preparation classes.

Visit SpinningBabies.com to learn more.

At what week of pregnancy can I start doing fetal positioning exercises?

Most women can start around the 36th week of pregnancy, but talk to your provider to confirm it’s safe for you. If you use a South Shore Health midwife, we’ll share the labor recipe with you around this time, which includes instructions around fetal positioning.

Will positioning exercises turn a breech baby around?

Fetal positioning started to help navigate breech babies into a better position for birth, so it may be helpful between 34 and 36 weeks. Consider getting on all fours and turning your butt toward some music or a TV show. (Babies love to listen and will turn towards the sound.)

You can also find a chiropractor who uses the Webster Technique to keep your ligaments loose, which may help your baby navigate into a head-down position.

I’m experiencing pelvic pain. Are fetal positioning exercises safe for me?

Run it by your provider first. He or she should evaluate the cause of your pelvic pain to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.

Learn more about midwifery at South Shore Health.