Why having baby 'head down' is not good enough for optimal birth outcomes.

Updated: Apr 9, 2019

By now you guys know we're a big advocates for educating parents-to-be about the effects of a babies position in utero on birth outcomes.

But today we want to share some info on what happens to baby when it comes to birthing in a less than ideal position, even when they're 'head down' (and how it can INCREASE labour time and pain experienced).

We know that during an LOA (left occiput anterior) birth that baby is able to flex their neck ensuring that the part of their head with the smallest circumference pushes on the cervix and exits the pelvic outlet first.

When we have babies in posterior positions or even ROA (right occiput anterior) position, baby is unable to play one of their big roles in birth, tucking their head forward. This means we have a much broader part of babies head trying to descend and the only way out is for baby to do what we call moulding.

While moulding is normal to an extent in even the most ideal birth, in this instance our little ones need to reduce the size of their head circumference by a whopping 5-8cm to descend.

Anyone else completely mind boggled by this??

And just as you start to get your head around that, you find out that it ALSO means baby has ineffective pressure on your cervix, which can INCREASE LABOUR TIME as we are unable to efficiently dilate. Got your attention now don't we!

So mums and dads, what can we do to get this baby of yours in the best position for birth??

We have lots of tips on our website available for you all to check out and practice in your own homes as well as an online workshop you can download to watch with your support people whenever suits you.

LOA (Left Occiput Anterior) Foetal Position

To summarise, some challenges faced with a 'head down' position other than LOA include;

- Increased labour time

- Inefficient dilation

- Potential developmental delay for baby

- Increased risk of intervention such as forceps, vacuum extraction or cesarean

- Increased risk of foetal distress

There is lots we can do to help increase the chance of a great foetal presentation and therefore birth. You got this mama's!

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