How to encourage optimal fetal positioning

Want to help ensure your baby is in the best position for birth? Check out these everyday movements that can encourage optimal fetal positioning.

Birth can naturally feel like quite a daunting task. Ahead of the birth, there are a few things you can do to encourage your baby to move into the best fetal position. 

The most ideal position for your baby to be in for labour is head-down, facing your back (with their back to your tummy). The chin should be tucked into the chest and the back of the head ready to move down through your pelvis during birth. This is called the anterior position.

Your baby will usually settle into this position between the 32nd and 36th week of your pregnancy. During the third trimester, your baby will drop down into your uterus, ready for birth. Your midwife will check the position of your baby ahead of birth. 

What happens if my baby isn’t in the right position for birth?

On some occasions, the baby may not be in the anterior position before birth. This can cause some complications during labour. You may have to undergo a cesarean section (C-section), where your baby is delivered through a cut in your stomach and womb.

Occiput or cephalic posterior position

This is when the baby's head is positioned downwards, in the direction it needs to be, but is facing the mothers' abdomen instead of her back. It’s still safe to deliver a baby this way, although it may cause extra strain on the pelvis during birth.

Frank breech

Instead of the head, the baby’s buttocks are facing the birth canal. The knees are extended in front of the abdomen and the hips are flexed. This position can cause the umbilical cord to loop around the baby’s head, which can cause injury to the baby during birth. This is the most common type of breech presentation.

Complete breech

When the baby’s in this position, their buttocks are in the birth canal and their legs and knees are flexed (folded under themselves). Similar to other breech positions, there’s a risk of the umbilical cord looping around the baby’s head.

Transverse lie

In this position, the baby lies along the uterus, meaning their shoulder will likely enter the pelvis first. If your baby is positioned like this, you’ll most likely deliver your baby by cesarean.

Footling breech

Either one or both of the baby’s feet are pointed towards the birth canal. This increases the chances of the umbilical cord slithering down into the mouth of the womb, cutting off blood supply to the baby.

Ways to help the position of your baby before birth 

We’ve put together some easy daily activities for you to naturally encourage your baby to be in the correct position for birth. You’ll need a birthing ball, a chair, a regular pillow, and a larger sized pillow. Feel free to try as many as you like - you may find that some positions are more comfortable than others.

Use a birthing ball

A birthing ball is a great way to open up more space in your pelvis. Whilst standing, lean against your birthing ball to give your baby more room to turn.
Using the support of your birthing ball, sit with your knees lower than your hips whilst maintaining a straight back.


Sit down

When sitting down on a chair, pop a pillow underneath the lower part of your back. Keep your knees apart and lean slightly forward.


Try sitting backwards on a chair. Place your torso against the back and rest your arms on the top. Avoid this if you’re experiencing any pelvic girdle pain.

Relax

Instead of relaxing on the sofa, kneel on the floor and lean over a large beanbag or floor cushion so that your torso can stretch out

You may want to try sleeping on your left side and pop a pillow in between your legs whilst you're snoozing - this is good for back support.

Final thoughts from Kami

Rest assured, if your baby isn’t in the anterior position then your healthcare professional will advise you so that you can have the safest birthing experience. Feel free to download a PDF version of our stretches so you can remember to do them daily! 

Related Content
Download the free fetal positioning guide

Do you want to help encourage healthy fetal positioning? As a mum-to-be, it can be challenging. Kami is here for you with these everyday tips to help encourage the baby into healthy positions and keep your pregnancy as comfortable as possible.

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