Diary of a Healthy Mom: Posterior Baby at 37 Weeks
During our routine appointment this week, we had the opportunity to see baby Hardin #3 once again, and hear the pitter patter of his sweet little heartbeat.
37 Weeks – Baby Boy #3
It was a huge relief to confirm he is in a head down position, as it means I don’t need to go through the same hurdles (such as chiropractic visits, acupuncture, and various positions thought to get babies to turn) that I did with Sawyer in the last weeks of pregnancy, who was breech until a successful external cephalic version (ouch) got him into the preferred position which is heads DOWN. Unfortunately, even while baby boy #3 is heads down, he is also in a posterior position with his spine against mine, and his face, arms, feet, etc towards my belly. This sunny side up position explains SO MUCH of what I’ve been feeling, and what I see poking out of my belly on a daily basis. When we got to see him via ultrasound, his butt and one knee were literally pushing out of my belly in two areas causing noticeable lumps, and he had one foot in, or near his mouth which means he was folded up nearly in half! Apparently we have a very flexible toe sucker. haha
The midwife we saw at our appointment did not raise a lot of concern, but her comments about a longer, more strenuous labor left me needing more information.
I’ve already done a few hours of reading and have found both comfort and frustration in the information found. The below article is from pregnancystatistics.org, and nicely summarize the various opinions and concerns that I found all over the net.
- When a baby is born “face up” it has fewer risks than breech birth, but there are risks nonetheless. Delivery of a posterior baby can be difficult for the mother. In many cases, having a posterior baby means a longer delivery, and sometimes difficulty in pushing. In some cases Pitocin is needed to keep contractions going.
- There is no clear reason for babies to be born posterior, other than that babies often switch positions several times during the labor process. While there are plenty of theories and recommendations about how to prevent a posterior birth, none of them have been proven scientifically to be effective. Additionally, there is no substantial evidence that posterior birth causes back labor. However, mothers who do give birth to a posterior baby do often have other issues. They are more likely to tear, or to need an episiotomy, since the position of the baby makes the delivery difficult. In some cases, posterior babies need help with vaginal delivery and health professionals may use a special vacuum, or forceps, to help the baby out.
- There is some evidence supporting a link between epidurals and posterior birth. However, the correlation is incomplete. Researchers do not know whether epidurals cause posterior babies, or whether the stresses of a baby in a posterior position increases the likelihood that mothers will request an epidural for pain management during labor and delivery.
- In the end, there are risks associated with any birth, including a normal birth. Your best bet is to do what you can to prepare and remain healthy, carrying your baby to full term. It can also help to have a clear birth plan, letting your health care professional know your delivery requirements, and the situations in which you want a c-section to aid in the birth of your baby.
My reactions to all of the information I’ve gathered thus far
Pitocin, forceps, vacuum, epidural, surgery – NO THANK YOU, not for me, and not for my little baby boy.
There are various positions and postures I can try now, as well as during labor that may encourage the baby to turn on his own. The positions recommended are all forward leaning such as hands and knees, leaning forward against the back of a chair, or on a balance ball with elbows close to your legs. Side lying with your right leg draped over a mound of pillows, lunch type stretching … basically the opposite of what most of us consider comfortable (crossing legs, laying back in a reclined lounging position, etc.).
I’ve also read a large number of babies turn naturally on their own during the laboring process, and that with the right mindset, and support team that understands your birth plan, it’s completely possible to have a problem free birth experience and minimize all the ‘scares’ I’ve read out there.
With every pregnancy, and every birth being as individual as each child, I feel we will make it through this in our own way, hopefully without any necessary medical interventions, and will have a story to tell once we’re on the other side. Until then, I’ll be leaning forward, doing my part to get this little man to turn into the ideal position.
Have you had an experience with an OP birth? I’d love to hear about it!!!