Video | Optimal Positioning: Balancing the pelvis for a natural birth!
Optimal Positioning: Balancing the pelvis
Five keys to help ensure a natural birth with chiropractic pregnancy care
Starting chiropractic care early in pregnancy can help provide all the benefits of prenatal care and contribute to a healthy, natural birth. Here are 5 keys to help for optimal positioning: balancing the pelvis and ensure a natural birth with chiropractic pregnancy care.
In this video I share our office saying; ‘Got a Bump- Got a Chiro’; meaning the optimal time to begin prenatal chiropractic is when you see that little belly beginning to form.
The 5 keys to Ensure a Natural Birth
- Alignment of the pelvis
Chiropractic adjustments can help align the pelvis, which can reduce the risk of a breech or posterior presentation, as well as allow the baby to move through the birth canal with ease.
- Balanced nervous system
Prenatal chiropractic care can help balance the nervous system which can benefit digestion, proper blood flow, and optimal hormone regulation. This can lead to a smoother birth experience.
- Decreased pain and discomfort
Pregnancy can come with many uncomfortable symptoms. Regular chiropractic adjustments can reduce common pregnancy discomforts such as low back pain, sciatica, and headaches.
Chiropractic adjustments can reduce stress and tension in the mom-to-be, which can positively impact the baby, leading to a peaceful birth experience.
- Preparing for labor
Chiropractic care can help moms prepare their bodies for labor and delivery by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and ensuring proper alignment of the pelvis. It can also help ensure that the baby is in the optimal position for delivery.
Optimal Positioning: Balancing the pelvis for a safer and easier birth
In preparing for natural childbirth we recognize two things: the mother’s autonomy in childbirth and the primacy of normal physiology. A pregnant woman has many resources to draw on in preparing for birth, the greatest of which are her innate abilities. Learning how the body is designed to give birth can provide great insights and support for the entire birthing process.
The Importance of Optimal Positioning for a Safer Delivery
The words “optimal positioning” mean that mother and baby have been aligned in a complementary way for a natural and enhanced birth.
The most desirable position for the baby during delivery is when the baby is head down, with the back of the head (occiput) and spine facing the mother’s left anterior side.
During delivery, from the mother’s top view, the baby’s body rotates clockwise, aligning the occiput with the mother’s symphysis pubis.
Then the baby’s head emerges. Once the head is out, the shoulders continue to rotate clockwise so that they too can pass through the mother’s pelvis.
If the baby’s occiput is facing the mother’s right side, for the head to be placed in the most desirable position, the baby must take a clockwise “long roll” across the mother’s entire pelvis to reach the symphysis pubis. Often the baby will come to rest with the occiput against the mother’s sacrum. This is called the posterior occipital presentation.
It can lead to longer and more difficult labor and delivery, or even to surgeries that prevent natural delivery. Babies move freely during pregnancy. Between 35 and 37 weeks, they settle into what is usually their birth position. Obstetricians do an ultrasound at 37 weeks, but how can a mother determine her baby’s location earlier? And what about mothers who choose not to have an ultrasound?
Belly Mapping: A Tool for Determining and Encouraging Optimal Fetal Positioning
One way to know your baby’s location is with belly mapping. Belly mapping is simply one way to get a pregnant belly tattoo; you draw your baby, where do you think your baby’s position is.
But the bigger question is why do children choose a suboptimal position to begin with?
Many mothers are unaware that their pelvic balance during pregnancy affects the position of their baby during delivery. Increasing your awareness of your posture and movement will support your baby’s ability to find the optimal position for a safe and natural birth.
The first key to a healthy natural childbirth you need to understand is that Structure Determines Function
Mispositioning in labor may occur partly because of the modern, sedentary lifestyles that thwart optimal positioning during pregnancy. Especially while seated, we often compromise our spinal alignment and optimal positioning.
Easy chairs, couches and car seats force us into a slouch position. Even when sitting in straight-backed chairs, we can find ourselves slouching, compromising our pelvic balance.
Slouching misaligns the pelvis in such a way that it makes it more comfortable for the baby to turn posterior or breech.
If, instead, you sit with your pelvis tilted forward, your lower spine curves forward. Your pelvis will be open and the baby can choose the most ideal position for birth.
Be conscious of your posture as often as possible, especially when you are sitting. Sit with your hips rocked forward and your knees always lower than your hips. Cease slouching, leg-crossing, or sitting on your legs. Sitting toward the front edge of your chair will help overcome negative sitting habits. Well inflated birth balls and the Swedish kneeling chairs make it easy to keep your knees lower than your pelvis.
When taking long car rides or when sitting at work, take breaks often and move your body. Spend time throughout the day moving your hips in a figure-eight-type motion. You can use the back of a chair to lean on to do this movement.
This keeps the joints in your pelvis flexible and better able to maintain a balanced state. These positions also lean the uterus forward and encourage the baby to settle into the anterior position, an ideal position for birth.
Optimal Positioning: Balancing the pelvis
Another beneficial movement is pelvic rocks
Harvard describes exercise during pregnancy is not only safe, it’s encouraged. To start, get on all fours and arch your spine. This strengthens and tones your lower back muscles. Then allow your spine to arch forward. This motion opens up the pelvis, relaxes the uterus and gives ample room for the baby to move. Also, you can exercise by crawling on the floor to optimize positioning.
If you have an occupation that is restrictive to movement or has you maintaining a one-sided posture for long periods of time, it is important that you aim to change postures regularly so you can support pelvic balance. For example, chiropractors and massage therapists may spend their entire day on one side of their table. In this case, maintain pelvic balance by adopting alternate stances.
If you are frequently holding an older child during pregnancy, and you elevate your hip for added support, know that this repetitive torque to your pelvis can cause structural imbalances that may adversely affect your baby’s positioning in utero.
It might seem inconvenient to balance out your daily positions, but your awareness and effort to do so throughout pregnancy can make a significant difference in your birth experience.
Watch the video above for more about how optimum positioning and how to balance the pelvis with a chiropractor.
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- Sleigh, J. (2013). Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy: Evidence to Support Its Safety and Benefits. Journal of Perinatal Education, 22(4), 205-214.
- Stuber, K., Wyatt, K., & Fritz, J. (2015). Musculoskeletal Disorders in Pregnancy: What Can We Do? Current Women’s Health Reports, 15(6), 462-471.
- Walker, J., & Yundy, A. (2019). Chiropractic Can Enhance Prenatal Patient Outcomes. The Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, 56(1), 10-14.
- Williams, M. (2013). The Role of Chiropractors in Prenatal and Postpartum Care. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 58(2), 181-187.
- Young, G. (2015). Preparing for a Natural and Safe Childbirth: Positioning, Movement and Chiropractic Care. International Journal of Childbirth Education, 30(3), 66-69.
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