OFP or Optimal Fetal Positioning is probably one of the best kept secrets of pregnancy and birth. I don’t know why we don’t talk about this more, it’s ancient advice that’s maybe got lost in our modern day and age. Your baby’s position is a key factor for labour and birth. If you think of it like this, no matter how far dilated you are or how many contractions you are having, if your baby is not in a good position your labour will be affected because your baby physically can’t come through your pelvis easily.
More women are experiencing prolonged or stalled labour as a result of fetal positioning so here’s the secret..
From 36 weeks for first babies and 38 weeks for any more, you can help to encourage your baby into the Optimal Fetal Position (OFP)
The OFP is:
The head is down
The baby has their back to your front – as though they are looking towards your spine
Have their bum pushing forward
If your baby is lying in an anterior position this will generally result in an easier birth than a baby in the posterior position.
Ask your midwife at appointments what position your baby is in.
Note: some babies will adopt the posterior position due to the position of the placenta.
What is a good position for me to sit in to encourage OFP?
You should keep your knees as far away from your spine as possible. This leaves more room for the baby to move down into your pelvis.
- When you are resting or sleeping, lay on your side, preferably the left but don’t panic if you wake up on the right (I know the press released some scary articles about it but it’s okay, your sleep and rest is important so as long as you’re on your side it’s fine)
- When sitting, place a cushion under your bottom to tilt your pelvis forward. You can do this in the car or at work, especially if you have a regular commute or an office based job. Get your pelvis tilted in a good position to encourage OFP.
- All fours is also a great position to help baby gravitate around to the anterior position. Although you might want to save that one for at home – rather than in the office.
- Rotation, imagine you need to get a ring off you finger, you wouldn’t pull it straight up and off would you? You would be twisting it at different angles to help it slide off. What you’re doing with your ring there is similar to what you can do to help you baby into a good position through your pelvis. Rotate your pelvis, walk up and down stairs (if you don’t have SPD) or try a rocking on a birthing ball.