Posterior baby position is the fancy way of saying that your baby is face up, or sunny-side up. This means that your baby’s front is facing your front as well.
You see, they want to see the faces of anyone staring down your nether region when they first emerge, instead of the other way around of taking a gander at your bottom. I can see why they would want to. 🙂
But this can come with a few problems that range in difficulties from mother to mother. So if your baby is posterior, you don’t know if it will be an issue or not until you’re in the moment of trying to push or breathe them out.
Posterior Baby Position Explained
When your baby is trying to travel down your birth canal during labor, there is an optimum way of fitting through your pelvis. That optimum way of fitting through you is with their back facing towards your belly.
When your baby comes out this way, their chin is tucked down and the smallest part of their head is the first part of crowning to emerge.
A posterior baby is exactly the opposite. They’re head and face is angled upwards a bit more so the top of their head towards their forehead is what is trying to emerge first. Plus the back of their head is pressing much harder against your sacrum and tailbone.
Problems With Posterior Baby Position
So it makes things a little more difficult instead of your baby just coming down their first tunnel slide the easiest way.
- They may get stuck in your vagina.
- Your odds of needing some intervention in order to get them out increases, like using forceps or the vacuum cap on your baby’s head.
- You’re more likely to tear through your perineum because you’re having to stretch even farther than expected. Using a stretch oil beforehand may help.
- Your baby may not even be able to go past your cervix, thus requiring the need for a c-section.
- It’s more common for mothers in labor with posterior babies to have distinct back labor.
- You’re likely going to end up pushing longer than what is typically expected.
- If your baby ends up staying in your vagina for longer periods of time, they are more likely to have minor complications or need for greater assistance after delivery because of low Apgar scores.
Now, just because these things are more likely, that doesn’t mean that ANY of them will happen with you. Most women are able to delivery posterior babies just fine. But some are not because our bodies and babies are all built just a little bit differently.
Only around 10% of babies born that started in a posterior position actually end up staying that way.
Most babies are also able to turn from a posterior position to an optimal ‘face down’ one even during labor. Only around 10% of babies born that started in a posterior position actually end up staying that way.
Items Needed To Help Prevent Posterior Position
What You Can Do Before Labor Begins
In your third trimester, your baby will still be moving around and not be head down until up to 37 weeks. So if your baby is ill-positioned before then, there’s still time to see if they will naturally turn on their own.
After that, the last month of pregnancy is a key time to keep your baby in the right position as best as you can. There are things you can do on a regular basis to increase your odds of going into labor without a posterior positioned baby.
Spend time on all fours. When you’re doing your pelvic tilts during exercise is a great time to do this. Simply stay on your hands and knees for about ten minutes a few times a day allowing your baby to sense the gravity of your belly’s hang. Plus it helps A LOT with any pelvic or lower back pain you may be having.
Sit with your knees below your hips. This helps your pelvis rock forward and make your belly cradle your baby more than your pelvis. Remember to keep your shoulders back and chest opened as you sit this way or your bad posture can make it more uncomfortable. Do this as often as possible and make it a habit. If your chair or seating arrangements make it difficult to do this, bring a pillow with you to sit on, then tilt forward off the edge of your seat for a better angle.
Visit your chiropractor. They can keep everything aligned in your lower back and pelvis best. Your body has been stretching and moving so much that your joints and ligaments take a terrible beating and can cause things to slip out of place, leading to other aches and pains. I see mine every other week. But it may be an even better idea for you to see one at least once a week in your ninth month leading up to your delivery.
- Do side-lying release. This is a technique that helps your psoas muscle and inner hip connections to stretch and relax. You can do it a few times a week to help lengthen your muscles surrounding your uterus so it is more able to make room for baby to turn. It’s primarily taught by Spinning Babies.
- Laying on a firm, flat surface with an edge, such as a table or counter top, lay on your side facing the edge.
- Move as close to the edge as possible without falling off.
- Have a helper hold your upper hip verticle so that you don’t roll off the edge. Or you can brace yourself by holding onto a chair directly in front of your upper body.
- Support your head with a pillow so you’re properly aligned with your spine.
- Keep your hips and back at a straight 90-degree angle with the surface.
- Keep your lower leg that’s against the surface straight and flexed to help brace yourself.
- Let your upper leg start to hang forward and off of the edge. It should be relaxed with your knee slightly bent.
- Take some deep breaths and relax your abdomen so that your hip muscles will relax.
- Do this for a few minutes, keeping your hips and dangling leg relaxed. You’ll find that your dangling leg will gradually lower and lower because your hip and pelvic muscles are stretching and releasing.
- Repeat on the other side.
Likely excluding a chiropractic visit, you can incorporate all of these things while you’re in labor too. But there are other things that word very well during labor as well.
What You Can Do During Active Labor
You may not want to do side-lying release just in order to stay comfortable, but there’s no harm if you do. You can apply rocking back and forth on all fours during contractions. Or you prefer sitting with your pelvis and belly tilted forward on a birth ball, those are positions you would already be familiar with.
But you might want to try a few other things too:
Rocking into your hips. If you prefer walking around or simply swaying through your labor, you can dip into your hips, keeping most of your weight angled to the side instead of perfectly balanced. This works well with mothers who are eager to dance through labor.
Rebozo Sifting Technique. This is something your midwife will have to help you with. She will take a sheet or scarf and sling it around your hanging belly or hips while you sway squatting or lean over a birth ball. Then she’ll apply a rocking motion to the sling to stimulate a moving environment for your baby to turn easier in.
Reaching In And Turning Baby. This is something deemed a last resort option to mothers in particular circumstances. It will NOT work for everyone and shouldn’t be done in every case. Your midwife would reach up to your cervix and physically turn your baby by grasping its head. It IS NOT comfortable and often painful. It doesn’t always work, and other times it can very well. But please discuss this with your midwife to be sure that you understand all of the risks and benefits of this if you need to decide to have it done or not.
If You Have A Posterior Birth Anyway
Remember that if you’ve had a posterior birth before, you likely will be able to again just as well. Some mothers apparently can do it successfully many times. But every little bit helps in order to increase the likelihood of an easier birth with less trauma to you and baby, with an easier recovery.
If you’ve had a posterior birth before, you likely will be able to again just as well.
Another thing that can help you prepare for a posterior baby is keeping your perineum primed and flexible for your delivery. If you end up have a posterior birth, the next step is to do all you can to protect your tissues down there with natural methods.
I’ll let you know how all of these things work for my and if it makes a difference with this third baby here to arrive in two months.
Have you had a posterior birth?
- Natural Pregnancy Essentials
- Natural Birth Essentials
- Spinning Babies For Optimal Birth Positioning
- What Does It Mean That Baby Is In Posterior Position? by Baby Center