Position Matters in Pregnancy

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For any guys reading this: it’s all about pregnancy, labour and delivery… Just a heads-up (ummm, or down!) ūüôā

I know I haven’t¬†talked about pregnancy much on here, but since¬†our third little one¬†is due in less than 3 weeks, it’s kinda big in my life right now… along with the rest of me!

Most pregnant women know that the ideal position for a baby to be in before birth is, of course, head-down, but also anterior (with baby’s spine towards your front).

But what if your baby prefers a different position? This can mean a LONG, painful labour ending in assisted delivery or emergency Caesarean in some cases.

Fortunately, there is something we can do about it. We just have to educate ourselves a little before we get to the delivery room.

My first two babies were not in ideal positions for birth – both were direct posterior at the start of labour.¬†And neither is this little one so far (although that will most likely change a few times before the big day – lots of flipping around going on), so I’ve been doing a lot, I mean, A LOT, of research on babies’ positions during pregnancy and labour and how the way¬†my baby is positioned, as well as my own posture and movements, can have big effects on the length and intensity of¬†my labour, as well as the possible need for a¬†Caesarean or assisted delivery.

With¬†our first, I had¬†painful back labour for about 10 hours with no progress at all, before I accidentally helped him turn around by going on my hands and knees for a while¬†to relieve the pain. After that, with the help of some Pitocin that the nurses were pretty eager to give me after that many hours of no change, he was born fairly quickly with only a few minutes of pushing. Of course, I didn’t know much about babies’ pre-birth positions at that point, only that he was head-down and that was good.

Yeah, right.

After that experience, I started to read up on posterior babies¬†before¬†our daughter was born, to prepare myself in case she was posterior as well. I figured anything I could learn¬†might help with the pain if I¬†had back labour again.¬†My water broke, and contractions didn’t start right away, so labour was¬†induced the next day. From the very first contraction, I could tell she was posterior… the back labour was very painful, magnified by the induction. But, knowing a few techniques that might help, I tried the Abdominal Lift¬†& Tuck,¬†otherwise called¬†the Belly Lift, through 10-15 contractions. She turned around quickly and was born less than 3 hours after I was induced, with very little back pain for the rest of the labour and also very little pushing. Definitely keeping that one in mind this time!

This third time around, I’m determined to be more aware of the baby’s position before going into labour, so I can hopefully do something to help this little one have an easier birth, not to mention eliminate hours of pain for me.

I stumbled across the Spinning Babies website before our¬†second child was born. That’s where I learned about the Abdominal Lift¬†& Tuck technique that really helped get her into a better position. They also have great explanations for the different fetal positions and why some are better than others (for example, Left Occiput Anterior (LOA) is better than Right Occiput Anterior (ROA), even though both are equally facing the ‘right’ direction).

With this pregnancy, I’ve been paying really close attention to how the baby moves, and what position he/she is in, since about 32 weeks. This little one also seems to favour posterior positions, specifically¬†left occiput posterior.¬†But after reading and learning more about how my posture affects the baby’s position, I have noticed that the baby tends to be more posterior after I’ve spent a day or two sitting down and reclining more¬†than usual. If I pay close attention to my posture, lean forward more often than back and try to stay upright, the baby swings around to a more anterior, better,¬†position.

It’s pretty simple, really. Just like all things in nature, gravity pulls the heaviest part of an object down first. The heaviest part of the baby’s body (the spine, bottom and back of the head) will settle in the most open, lowest place it can.

This is one of the main reasons why epidurals result in a higher risk of assisted delivery or C-section. If you are stuck in bed, mostly¬†on your back, with very little opportunity to go on all fours or to walk around in an upright position, the baby, with the force of your contractions, will be more likely to¬†settle in a posterior (back down) position, requiring greater dilation and effort to be born. This will sometimes, especially if you have a bigger baby, result in a “stalled labour”, where the¬†baby is stuck in the pelvis and can’t manoeuvre his/her way through the birth canal – leading to either the use of forceps or an emergency Caesarean.

Now, of course, there are sometimes good reasons for a baby’s position. An odd-shaped pelvis, or the location of the placenta, can sometimes mean that baby is better off in a posterior position. But this is generally not the case, and even if there is a good reason, practicing good posture never hurts. Even if baby doesn’t turn, he/she can still be born face-up, and proper posture can help your abdominal muscles stay, or get, evenly toned and your pelvis properly aligned, making contractions that much more effective.

I know from both of my previous experiences, and stories from others,¬†that most Labour & Delivery nurses, and even doctors and OB/GYNs, know very little about turning a baby before birth to help labour progress. They tend to be more reactive than proactive, using medical and surgical assistance in more cases than is really necessary, although there are definitely exceptions (‘THANK YOU!’¬†to those wonderful nurses and midwives¬†who care enough to get educated on¬†fetal positioning¬†in order to help their patients).

So we can’t really count on the nurse or doctor¬†knowing what to do to turn our babies during labour. This is why it is really beneficial to know beforehand what WE, as mothers, can do to help our little ones into the world in a safer, less traumatic way.

(And, I know most hospitals automatically deliver breech babies by Caesarean, but I was surprised to find out that turning a breech baby is very possible, with much less risk than a Caesarean, even during labour.)

Sorry for the long-winded post, but I hope it will help any moms-to-be and their babies to have a safer, less painful birth.

Knowledge is power, right?

Here are some more links on Optimal Fetal Positioning and different techniques to use during pregnancy and labour:

Best Labour and Birth Positions РGiving Birth Naturally (a wonderful site with TONS of information on natural birth)

How to Prevent a Posterior Labour

Optimal Fetal Positioning

Spinning Babies Techniques

 

Linked up to Growing Home | Teach Me Tuesdays

Parenting Toddlers

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The toddler years can be challenging… I’m right in the middle of¬†them myself. There are days when all I want to do is find a corner and cry out of frustration. Please tell me I’m not the only one?!

But I’ve learned a lot about being a mother in the last 4 years and have realized that the key to any day going successfully is how I handle myself. A calm, stress-free mother is essential to any happiness in the home.

This is where my strategy of minimal activities comes in – I know I can’t handle a busy day myself without getting stressed out, so, to keep everything running smoothly and everybody happy, I’ve learned to say ‘no’ sometimes and limit our day-time activities to a manageable amount.

After all, how can I expect my children to handle a busy day AND a stressed momma without more than a few meltdowns and fights? I can’t.

I’m always learning more about parenting and stay on the lookout for¬†helpful information and practical ideas¬†that I can put to use in our own lives. I came across these links in the last few weeks that taught me a little more… maybe they can help you too?

Toddler Quiet Time: a daily routine to give everyone breathing time | Day2Day Joys

Baby Steps & Toddler Tips: discipline for the earliest years | Simple Mom

What Should a 4 Year Old Know? | A Magical Childhood

5 Ways to Love Your Life More Today | Steady Mom

Do The Very Thing You Ask of Them | Simple Mom

Disconnect to Connect

A silent reminder to all of us moms… Don’t miss out on the life around you every day in your kids’ smiles, tears, feelings, growth…

the impact of my words

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“Just hurry up!”

I catch myself saying that a LOT lately. It seems I’m constantly telling my son to hurry up with eating, dressing, undressing, going outside, coming in… everything.

It hit me the other day:

Do I really want my kids to hurry up about EVERYTHING?

Is that the message I want them to come out of childhood with?

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I want them to do just the opposite.

I want them to slow down. To enjoy life. To cherish every moment.

And if I’m always telling them to hurry up, how will they ever learn to JUST. SLOW. DOWN.

The words I say have a huge impact on the way their little minds think, the way I speak to them becomes their inner voice to themselves.

Is¬†‘hurry up’¬†really what I want their default thought-line to be? Is that what I want them to tell themselves, subconsciously,¬†for the rest of their lives?

No, I don’t.

While there are times that it’s necessary to do things quickly, I do not want to instill in my children the feeling that life is a race against time, like if they aren’t fast enough, they aren’t good enough.

Because the truth is: they are always good enough for me, no matter how quickly, or slowly, they accomplish things.

I will always love them.

If I want them to know that hurrying doesn’t make them any better, if I want them to slow down and enjoy life, then I need to change the way I speak to them.

If I’m trying myself¬†to slow down every day, then I need to make my words match my actions, so they can learn to do the same.

It’s going to take some time to break this habit, but I believe it’s worth it.

Us Moms… We’re NOT Just Ordinary!

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Way back in August of last year, when I pressed “Publish” on my very first post here… my goal was to encourage other young moms like me, letting them know that they ARE a vital part of society, and not a lesser person for being “just a mom”. While I’ve veered slightly now and then, with more practical posts, a few recipes, links to other interesting articles, the over-all point was that we CAN be the mom we always wanted to be. I hope that has come through occasionally, and it’s not just staying in my head!

In today’s culture, moms (especially stay-at-home moms) are considered boring, ordinary, and nothing too special, at least compared to everything else a woman has opportunity to do. Why would you choose to stay at home with your kids when you could be making money in an office somewhere?

It’s like Kattrin Davida wrote: “[A new mother will] swiftly realize that in the balance of things motherhood is the most fulfilling role any woman could possibly experience in a lifetime. Placing everything into perspective, surely raising another human being well takes priority over almost anything else we could imagine?”

Life as a mother can sometimes feel like a rut that you’re stuck in for a long time. But a little perspective on what we do and who we are to the little ones around us can change our view on motherhood.

We have the greatest job in the universe, for we are molding and influencing the next generation of the human race, and thus, our future world, every. single. day.

 

All I am I owe to my mother.

I attribute all my success in life

to the moral, intellectual, and

physical education I received from her.

РGeorge Washington 

Thoughts on Parenting Books | Simple Mom

I just made my own mozzarella cheese! It turned out pretty good, so that’s definitely happening again… I’ll share more about it in the future.

Moving on… today’s topic: the unnecessary stress parenting books can give a new (or seasoned) mother, and why learning more about different parenting styles and ideologies¬†is not always best for a parent or kids.

Actually, I was more than a little lost when I started writing this post (or thinking about writing it, since I¬†didn’t have so much as a letter typed yet)…¬†One of those days.

But then I got my daily update from Simple Mom¬†and… problem solved.

Sarah Dunning Park shared her thoughts on parenting books yesterday and the effects they can have on actual parenting. And she included one of her poems on motherhood from her new book!

If you’ve ever had a concern about your child and started a week-long search for a solution or reason or advice you could actually do something with, asking everyone you know for their opinion an expertise, combing through book after book on parenting methods¬†(and, if you’re like me…¬†lots of¬†internet searches and a few¬†Kindle¬†purchases), and still not been satisfied…. you need to read this post. I know I did!

Here’s a little piece¬†from Sarah’s post:

I‚Äôd start with a simple question ‚ÄĒ¬†is my baby supposed to be acting this way? ‚ÄĒ¬†and somehow¬†it would turn into an epic quest to find the One Right Answer, which I was certain must be found somewhere in the impressive stack of parenting books on my bedside table.
 
I was spending way too much time poring over these books ‚ÄĒ¬†time that I could have spent finding my own way to mother her, or, I don‚Äôt know, catching up on my sleep.
 

Head over to Simple Mom to read more!

Happy mothering!

If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)