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Your midwives will likely mention your baby’s position or ‘presentation’ at antenatal appointments throughout your pregnancy and your baby may flip between anterior (head down) and posterior (head up) from one catchup to the next.
Until mid-way through your third trimester, your baby has plenty of space to move into nature’s preferred presentation – that is head down, and facing away from your spine. Breech (posterior) or transverse (sideways) positions only become a little more problematic as you near the end of your pregnancy and your baby starts to run out of space.
Note, there’s no reason to panic if your baby is posterior. Mums-to-be and midwives are keen for the baby to turn as it makes for an easier and less complicated birth, and there are plenty of ideas here for you to try.
Recently, one of the Bounty Parents Facebook community posted, “My baby is posterior and just not budging. I’m trying exercises like crawling on all fours but no luck. Anyone know something I can do to get this baby to turn around?”
Crawling on all fours has long been suggested to encourage your baby to turn head-down as gravity provides more space for the little one to get into position, but the ‘village’ had some other opinions too.
One commenter suggested swimming, saying “Grab a kick board and glide up and down the pool for about 1/2 hour.”
The rationale is similar to that of crawling – the baby has more room to turn – but being in water has the added benefit of taking the weight of your body plus your knees won’t get carpet burn or splinters!
Sitting on an exercise ball mimics a good position for labour and birth, and may encourage a baby to turn.
If your Braxton Hicks are especially painful, it’s possible that your baby is wriggling into position for the big reveal. It’s also possible for midwives to assist with manual manipulation to have move your baby into an easier position for birth.
Another Facebook member reassured that “They turned mine in hospital using a peanut-shaped fitball between my legs while I was lying on my side.”
One mum had lots of tips to encourage a breech bub to turn: “Neverrrr sit leaning back. Hang on a fitball on your knees to watch TV. Don’t lie back in a bath. The crown of their head is the heaviest – make gravity work with u! Get some pool noodles (I needed about 8) and float belly down.”
The child’s pose is very relaxing and opens up your pelvis, creating more space for your bub to move. If you have a small dog you can get back a massage at the same time.
Yoga poses for relaxation (and a nudge in the right direction)
Yoga is also a terrific way to persuade your baby to get into position, and you don’t have to be a yogi to make the following moves work for you:
If none of the above help your baby do the head-down shuffle, don’t be alarmed. Of breech or posterior babies that haven’t already turned sooner, the majority do so in labour or can be assisted by midwives, as above. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, of the 281,025 women who gave birth in 2019, nine of 10 (94%) had a head-first (vertex) presentation.