Exercises to Help Baby Drop for Natural Delivery?

Question submitted by Pilates Instructor Sue in Miami, Florida, on Nov. 26, 2013

Dear Team Fit For Birth,
I’m hoping you can give me some advice for my client. She is ‘due’ on December 17th and if she does not go into natural labor before that her doctor is going to require a c-section. Of course we REALLY don’t want that to be the case as she is perfectly capable of giving a natural birth! Her baby is still sitting very high (she told me that you can see it). She also has a lot of anxiety that she holds in the form of tightness in her hips, glutes, etc. I am recommending acupuncture to her but whatever we can do to help at this critical time. This is not her first baby, she had twins by c-section about 8 years ago.

Can you recommend any exercises that I might give to her to help move her child down that she might have the opportunity for a natural delivery ?

Answer by Fit For Birth Team Midwife Dana Linvill-Gordon, L.M., C.P.M.
The fear of a “high” baby, prior to labor is one that is common.

In a first time mother, the baby usually doesn’t enter the pelvis until 38 weeks gestation. An experienced birther, however, may have the baby drop, or “engage” within labor.

Essentially, with overly tight muscles, active releasing of those muscles, along with specific body-work and/or myofascial release can sometimes relax the pelvic floor enough to allow descent. The exercise emphasis can be on belly dancing or even hula hooping.

If the stalled engagement is due to a malposition, we would focus on possible misalignment within the mother, and refer for chiropractic care.

We could also do activities to encourage the flexible of the baby’s head, such as Rebozo Sifting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p2cd2P63Q4) or Sidelying Release. These techniques can be performed by a qualified midwife or natural birth consultant.

It is worth noting that only rarely would a baby not fit their mother’s pelvis. CephaloPelvic Disporportion (CPD) hardly occurs, but is possible with a very large baby, previous trauma of the pelvis, or an abnormal pelvic shape.

If the expected date of delivery has come, and the baby still lacks engagement, I would suspect either malposition of the baby in relation to the pelvic shape, or overly tight, even spastic musculature of the ligaments within the pelvis.

Dana Linvill-Gordon, L.M., C.P.M., is the founder of B.O.R.N., Birthing Options Respecting Nature and a Birth Natural Birth Expert with Team Fit For Birth. She helps women achieve a more gentle birth experience by supporting their emotional and spiritual work prior to coming into labor. She feels passionately that a woman’s birth story is specific preparation for the type of parenting that mother/child will need throughout that relationship. Her true work and specialty is to bring healing, education and empowerment to survivors of sexual abuse, including human trafficking, to enable the successful birth of their babies.

“Pregnancy and birth are the fundamental steps toward trust and power that we must pull from ourselves during the entire journey we walk as a parent, starting with parenting ourselves first.”
Dana Linvill-Gordon, L.M., C.P.M.

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