The exercises and postures you can do to encourage your baby to get into the best position are never too early to begin. Sometimes babies lie in your womb in a breech position. This means that their feet are pointed toward your cervix, and their head is toward your head. This is not an optimal fetal position since the head is the best part to be pushed out first. Breech babies usually end up being born by cesarean, as many hospitals and homebirth midwives are not comfortable doing a vaginal breech birth. However, there are lots of things to try to get baby into a better position before birth.
There are some simple exercises and habits you can start doing to help the chances of your baby being in the most optimal fetal position. A huge one is to watch your posture. When we're sitting we're often slouching, whether it's leaning back on the couch or driving in our car. The problem is when we sit like this, our back is curved, which allows more room for the heaviest part of your baby's head, the occiput, to move towards your back, hence their face will be facing forward. This position is called occiput posterior, or "sunny side up." When a baby is in this position, and their spine is towards your spine, it can sometimes cause you to have back labor. Back labor is when contractions are felt in your back and it can be very uncomfortable. When pushing, it can also sometimes be harder to push baby out when they're in this position. As far as pushing, it's very individual and some women won't have trouble pushing a baby out that's in this position. But some women will have a harder time.
During birth, your body will likely want to move into various positions of its own accord. Try to tune into your body and pay attention to what feels right. There's no telling what will feel right for you during your labor. Some women are surprised that positions they were positive would feel good actually didn't, and they ended up in a position they never planned on using. This is absolutely fine- just go with it! Across the board, there are a couple positions which can help baby get into the best position for birth- try to do these even if only for a few contractions and even if they don't feel great. On the other hand, if something absolutely feels wrong and hurts, don't do that position, it all comes down to listening to your body. The yoga pose 'cat cow' is great for labor. You get on all fours on your hands and knees. If you can put your rear as high up in the air as possible and your head down low, that's the ticket to this pose. When you're in this position, it allows your baby to move towards your head, out of your pelvis a little bit. This gives them the room to move into a better position. It's pretty amazing but our babies will usually want to get into an optimal position before birth if you help them a little bit. Here's a great elaborated explanation of this position.
Do you know your baby's position? Have you done anything to encourage them into an optimal position? Please share!