Someone told me once that because I was skinny and had no curves, that I likely wouldn’t be able to give birth naturally. Why ever not? Oh, yeah … because I wasn’t wide enough to make the right amount of space for the baby to come through. *eye roll*
Whoever that was, they were wrong. Three natural births later, I would have laughed if someone told that to me now. Because, have you seen me? All 110 pounds of me?
I have been petite and skinny my entire life. Now I can at least claim to having a little fluff on the back of my hips after having children. But I’m still the same old small Sarah. And I don’t care!
Because I know that no matter how small I apparently am, birth doesn’t depend directly on my size. My babies’ expulsion from my birthing canal isn’t determined by how big my hips are.
Fact is, there are different size of hips, pelvises, pelvic floors, butts, and all that. But what’s seen on the outside is never a reflection of the exact structures on the inside.
What’s seen on the outside is never a reflection of the exact structures on the inside.
There are indeed four basic pelvic shapes that determine the bones inside of your hips. All of them have slightly different shapes, and all of them affect how your baby will be born.
It’s The Pelvic Shape That Matters
Knowing your pelvic shape can be greatly advantageous, but it’s absolutely not necessary to making your natural birth happen either. What is helpful is knowing what the interior of your pelvis looks like because that’s where your baby is going to exit.
The four different pelvis shapes are called:
Each pelvis type has a slightly different shape, is more or less common than another, and can be kept in mind during your labor and delivery.
About half of white women have a gynecoid pelvis shape and it’s likely the most common. It’s interior shape is the most round with the width slightly wider than the distance of front to back.
If you have this type of pelvis, it is most likely the easiest environment for your baby to turn and rotate through while being born.
This pelvic shape is seen in about 25% of women and it has more of a heart shape or triangular form. Because the pubic sits lower in this shape, it’s trickier for a posterior baby to come through. They absolutely can be born just fine, but may need turning.
If you have this type of pelvis, keep your baby positioned properly as much as possible during the last few months of pregnancy. Also make sure that you are doing the best exercises for flexibility during your pregnancy: squats, yoga, gentle stretching.
If you’re African American descent, you have about a 50% chance of having an anthropoid pelvis. This is a very oval shape with the most room measured from front to back. This shape is more common for babies that are breech and don’t turn on their own. But posterior babies may come through just fine because of the extra front to back room for their different head angle.
If you have this shape of a pelvis, it’s important that you utilize movement with your positions during labor and delivery.
A much smaller number of less than 5% of women have a platypelloid pelvis. This shape is very oval and larger from side to side with the smallest distance between front and back. It’s important to have your baby in the right position in order for them to engage fully within your pubic bone the right way. But once they’re settled, moving through is quite normal.
That position your baby should be in is called Left Occiput Transverse. That’s just fancy terminology for a baby that is head-down, their back is along your left side, you’ll feel their feet pushing into your right ribs, and their hands tickle down low on the right side.
No Matter What Pelvic Shape You Are
Because it’s difficult to know exactly which shape you pelvis is (or combination of) when you’re pregnant, it’s best to not worry about it. You’re likely going to know only if you have access to a series of pelvic x-rays, more detailed pelvic exams, and a history of previous births with similar delivery trends.
I didn’t even know that different pelvis shapes existed until my third birth and I had a posterior baby …. again, even after keeping him positioned properly up until active labor. I believe that I have either an Android or Anthropoid pelvis because of experience. But you may not have that knowledge.
But there’s no reason to fret. What’s crucially important here is knowing that you can open up your pelvic inlet and outlet to make the most space for your baby no matter what. So how do you do that?
Opening Up Those Birthing Hips
No matter size, shape, or position you and your baby are in, the most important thing is to create as much space as possible that their head to get through. It’s the largest piece of them that has to squeeze and maneuver while the rest will be able to follow.
The most important thing is to create as much space as possible that their head to get through.
Your body has been expanding these nine months and your connections have been loosened from relaxin hormone. But your flexibility needs to be added to on top of that. Increase your flexibility by:
- sitting tailor-style on the floor
- doing proper squats as much as possible
- sitting on a yoga ball when you can
- doing butterfly and gentle groin stretches daily
- attending yoga or pilates classes regularly
- wearing flexible clothing, like [easyazon_link identifier=”B01ENWRLWU” locale=”US” tag=”mynatbabbir06-20″]yoga pants[/easyazon_link], that don’t restrict your movement
When you are more flexible and able to squat during your delivery, you can open up your birthing canal by an extra 1-2cm! And if that helps your baby arrive in a few hours versus a few days, it’s always worth the effort.
So get these into your regular exercise routine, thinking “opening” thoughts, and you’ll be priming your birth canal for the gentlest experience your baby will not even remember. 🙂
What sort of birthing hips do you have?