Wednesday 24 January 2007

a pain in the back

Right so, back labour. No one wants this (although a lot of women have perfectly fine labours with back-to-back babies), and it's something that can happen in any pregnancy. I'm not too sure how much proof there is about anterior placentas and back labour (it's something I came across on a midwifery list recently), but I'll be a bit more aware of it this time than I was with Jack.

The Spinning Babies site is a fantastic resource for baby positioning, and positioning during labour. To sum up briefly, here are a few ways to encourage the baby to look the other way, apart from installing a plasma screen on the back wall of your uterus (reception would be terrible, I'd imagine):
  • Don't slouch on the sofa, no matter how lovely and comfy it feels. Try to imagine your baby floating away in there while you recline back; it's natural for the baby to then face the front, simply due to gravity. Try to sit upright as often as possible and better still, invest in an exercise ball (they are the same thing as a birthing ball). They are incredibly comfortable to sit on while watching TV or working on the computer. I am 5'4" and use a 65cm exercise ball, which most should suit most women. I got a Reebok ball (anti-burst) for £7 at Argos.
  • Get on all fours. Some resources suggest that you scrub the floors on a regular basis to get in this ideal position, but this was obviously penned by a man who was nowhere near a pregnant woman at the time (or else he would have ended up with a TENS machine lodged in the side of his head at the mere suggestion.) I find kneeling over and leaning on a beanbag to be very comfortable, and again, this is something you can do while you're watching television. Yes, I watch a lot of television.
  • Go for a swim. Similar to the "all fours" position, swimming on your front also encourages the baby to face your back. And I can tell you, there's nothing lovelier than being weightless in the water as opposed to on land, where you feel like an elephant seal with water retention.

It's really important to remember that in a lot of cases, babies turn themselves round during labour. Also, you don't really need to worry too much about the baby's position until you're in the final few weeks - before that point, there is plenty of time (and room) for the baby to move.

Thank you, I hope you enjoyed today's lesson. Next time, I'll discuss second (or more) pregnancies and how it can make you feel like you've got a concrete bowling ball in there when you're only in the second trimester.

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