Your baby's position during birth
Let's look at the different positions your baby can be in when you go into labour. This is called your baby's 'presentation', the part of the baby that is leading the way down the birth canal.
Anterior Position - Optimal position
The anterior position is the best position for your baby to be in when you go into labour. Anterior position means your baby's head enters the pelvis facing your back. This is the ideal and most common position for birth. Your baby fits snugly into the curve of your pelvis, and it's the easiest way for your baby to move down. Around 93% to 96% of babies move into this position without any assistance.
The posterior position is when your baby moves into the pelvis with the back of their head towards your spine. Babies can start labour this way and turn themselves before they start the descent into the birth canal. The posterior position is not ideal as it can create backache. It can also result in a slow labour due to your baby's head not applying pressure as evenly to the cervix. Your baby might also need assistance to be born in the final stage of delivery.
The breech position is when your baby presents with their bottom down and their head up. At full term around 3% to 4% of babies remain in the breech position. Most breech babies are delivered via caesarean section although vaginal breech births can be successful.
A transverse lie is when your baby is lying crossways in your uterus. It happens in about 0.25% of births. When this happens, your baby's back or shoulder covers your cervix. It is also known as a shoulder presentation. If your baby is still transverse at the beginning of labour, then a casarean section is necessary.
What you can do before labour
Before you even get into labour there is a lot you can do to help your baby get into the optimal position for birth. Your body plays a big role in guiding your baby into position.
Your pelvis is made up of bones, muscles and ligaments and part of its design is to open and expand during labor to allow your baby to fit through the birth canal.
From 35 weeks be more mindful of the position of your body throughout the day. Some beneficial positions to help your baby properly position him or herself in your pelvis include sitting with your hips higher than your knees, sitting with your back straight and your ribcage lifted off your middle and sitting on a fit ball.
If you sit down a lot during the day this creates a cramped environment in your uterus. Try standing up at a desk, taking frequent breaks to walk around and lie on your couch at night fully stretched out so that you baby can move and turn.