Read about head-down fetal positions here. Go to the Breech section to read about head-up babies.
The Belly Mapping how-to article may give you clues to your own baby's position.
What is "the most practical way of making sure my baby stays anterior? I've had TWO posterior babies! UGH!”
Mainly, the baby will "stay" anterior if your womb is balanced (symmetrical, not torqued or twisted) and you continue to use good maternal positioning. Positioning without releasing tension in the abdominal soft tissues and pelvic joints isn't likely to succeed in rotating a baby in pregnancy, especially for a woman with a history of posterior babies or breech, because these positions show the uterine ligaments weren't in balance before pregnancy.
There are some myths about laboring with a posterior baby.
Let's start with appreciation for Penny Simkin's brave confrontation of a dogmatic trend that has arisen over the last few years. At first, I was rather surprised to hear a talk by Penny Simkin called, "The OP Fetus; How little we know." Now, the light has gone on. Parents and professionals alike have some misunderstandings about the influence of posterior presentation on labor. For instance, "She didn't have back labor so I didn't think the baby was posterior." Or, "We did everything we could because we tried hands and knees position in labor."
Sometimes a midwife or doctor will say they don't pay much attention to a head down baby's position in late pregnancy because some posterior babies come out fine. Emphasis mine. Spinning Babies is about the 15-30% that need more help than strong labor and the hands and knees position.
"There is an indentation in my belly near my navel. Does this mean my baby is posterior?"
An indentation, or dip, near or beneath your belly button can mean a couple of things. One possibility is that the baby is posterior. The posterior baby has his or her back along the mother's back. The knees are bent and the arms are bent, usually. This makes the baby in the shape of a letter "C." The opening of the "C" is towards the mother's abdomen wall and navel. The opening can allow a "dip" in the mother's belly shape, right about the place her navel is.
“Transverse Lie” means a sideways position. The baby has his head to one of his mother’s sides and the bottom across her abdomen at her other side. This is normal before, and at, 26 weeks, but by 29-30 weeks we expect babies to be head down, or at least breech. If not, this article outlines what to do, easy ways to fix it, and what to do if they don't - read the stories, too.
What is the effect of an anterior placenta on fetal positioning?
An anterior placenta means that the placenta is located on the front of the uterus. Most of the baby will be hidden behind it.
It is a common belief that the anterior placement of the placenta causes the baby to be posterior. The fact that this is sometimes true doesn't mean it is always true. Babies can be anterior with an anterior placenta. Abdominal tone, when loosened, can allow the baby to turn away from the placenta and face the mother's back.
The left occiput anterior position is often the easiest fetal position for the start of labor.
Babies settle in the LOA position naturally when the womb is pretty well balanced. This position helps the baby be in the smallest diameter to fit the pelvis.
Click "Read LOA" to see pictures and understand more.
Flexion into the brim of pelvis helps the baby fit through the pelvis. Flexion refers to the tucking of the baby’s chin, often the first step to engagement of the head and the start of labor.
Flexion, or chin tucking, is more important than starting labor with an anterior head position!
Many posterior babies can be born with natural labor when we help them engage with their chin tucked. Water broke? After the 3 Sisters of Balance, begin gentle forward lunges to help achieve flexion. Learn about both flexion and engagement here.
The ROA baby is not on the Spinning Babies list of clearly ideal or optimal fetal positions. Read why not...
Occiput Transverse (OT or OL)