The 3 Principles in Pregnancy

The Three Principles of Spinning Babies are: Balance, Gravity and Movement

These positive principles guide your preparation for, and your progress through, childbirth.

Your doula and midwife understand the value of gravity and movement (getting up out of bed and moving the hips). But for many women, if you don’t balance the muscle and connective tissue by releasing what is tight or twisted, or support what is loose, then gravity and movement may not work.

3 Principles by Shelly Rahim
Growing into a healthy pregnancy and birth with the 3 Principles of Spinning Babies. Painting by Shelly Rahim, San Diego. All Rights Reserved.

What is balance? Balance is “not too tight and not too loose”. That’s it!

What is gravity? The female pelvis is designed to birth a baby in an upright position, so being in line with gravity makes sense!

What is movement? Moving your hips, your legs, your whole body, can be used to relax what your mind can’t relax or open the level of the pelvis where baby is moving through.

What will techniques for all 3 Principles of Spinning Babies do?

  • Baby’s chin may tuck to create a smaller head circumference
  • Baby may turn to find the most space in the pelvis
  • The pelvic bones may be able to open even wider
  • Soften the muscles in (and to) the pelvis to help baby move down whether in the ideal position or not!
  • Reduce medical interventions by letting baby make these changes themselves
  • Help mother start and finish her birth under her own power or ease medical interventions

 

Why start with The Three Principles?

Our posture and muscle tension affect uterine ligaments and tone. The effect comes from habit. Uneven postures used habitually over time can tilt the womb and tighten uterine and cervical ligaments on one side, twisting the uterus. After years of such a habit, simply sitting and standing properly for a few weeks may not correct fetal malposition.

Balance, alignment with gravity and movement in pregnancy enhance mother and baby’s birth experience but also comfort and perhaps even health today.

Sometimes simply adding balance makes the difference!

 

Balance

I believe most mothers and babies will benefit from improved pelvic balance.

An aligned pelvis may make pregnancy more comfortable and prepare for an easier childbirth.

 

How do I know if “balance” is needed?

Discomfort is a symptom of an imbalance. Chronic tension in the ligaments or muscles, or undeveloped muscles make a pelvis unstable which creates pain. Malposition may reveal that the baby’s position simply fits the space available.

If the space is not in balance, not symmetrical, then baby’s body will not be lined up with the easiest way out. In fact, if we make “the way out” more aligned, then baby can line up with it!

The red flag list for pelvic or uterine imbalance often includes:

  • Discomfort in pregnancy
  • Previous labor longer than 24-48 hours,
  • Fetal malposition
  • Previous tipped uterus
  • Previous car accident, or other sudden stop in gravity, even if mild
  • Sport or work movement that twists and stops, like softball or golf, throwing hay bales, chiropractic adjustments to many patients’ pelvises.

See what to do in pregnancy to learn what you can do at home and with the help of professionals to get your body into balance.

Goals of Balancing the pelvic joints and muscles:

  • Comfort today!
  • Easier birth later!

Once the womb and the surrounding supportive structures are toned and symmetrical, a mother can find improved success from good maternal postures.

Sidelying release front back drawing

How do I balance my muscles?

For balance, try these activities:

The womb is anchored in place by ligaments, like ropes to a hot air balloon. Helping your womb be symmetrical can help the baby be symmetrical–in other words, in a vertical position (vertical lie) with the chin tucked to the chest. This makes the baby come out in the smallest diameter possible.

What if a woman’s abdomen is already relaxed?

After a few births, a woman’s abdomen may be too loose. Supporting her belly with a pregnancy belt can substitute for any missing tone in the abdominal muscles.

A good pregnancy belt supports the baby’s angle into the pelvis. The belt adds a slope to help the baby to aim and later, rotate into a good starting position for labor.

Some women may have to wear the pregnancy belt through labor and pushing to keep the baby in a safe position.

Whether too tight or too loose, balancing the supporting connective tissue to the uterus should be the first activity each day, helping you towards optimal fetal positioning.

Release any muscle spasms or support loose abdominal muscles and uterine ligaments to set the tone of the abdomen. When one or some of the muscles are loose, there is often another one or some that are too tight. They are not in balance. It’s not about making one set stronger per se, but helping them work in balance.

What should I do for The 1st Principle of Balance?

If we attend to the first principle of Balance, the next one, Gravity, works even better in labor.

Many women support the balance they have with Daily Essentials downloadable video. Its the easy way to do the recommended daily activities. Adding the Fantastic Four from the Spinning Babies; Parent Class demos can be quite a dramatic improvement for up to 90% of pregnant women… be sure to follow directions and contraindications and help your helper do things comfortably for you. You can also get them on DVD.

Gravity

Gravity works 24/7. Standing and walking are examples of movement and gravity work together to settle baby head down. A woman’s ability to walk upright helps her baby settle head down. Even from 10 weeks, and on through the 2nd trimester, even before baby is expected to be head down, a pregnant woman’s habits can influence how easily, or not, her baby can become head down.

In normal circumstances, baby will settle in a head down position. However, sometimes tension or twists in the uterine muscle occur or the pelvis gets “out of alignment.” These are a couple reasons that a baby couldn’t settle head down.

Active women who walk, swim or do yoga may have overcome many of the bad effects of growing up sitting in school desks or slouching on the couch.

In the last month of pregnancy, the growing baby slides lower in the softening womb. Baby’s weight bends baby’s neck as the back settles lower. This tucks the baby’s chin. Help your baby tuck his or her chin by relaxing the pelvic area and keeping it flexible.

What should I do for The 2nd Principle of Gravity?

Go to our section on resting smart and posture to learn more about how to use gravity to promote optimal fetal positioning. And remember, maternal positions are more effective after daily balancing techniques.

Movement

The pelvis opens better when it has been kept mobile and “symmetrical.” That means there is full range of motion in the four pelvis joints and even the sacrum restores mobility. Symmetrical indicates that one leg isn’t shorter or longer, one hip isn’t rotated forward, and the pelvic floor isn’t twisted or shorter on one side causing baby to turn to an unfavorable position.

Movement such as walking supports flexibility. Movement and stretch in prenatal yoga and similar static stretch exercises helps range of motion as well as flexibility. Some women will swim belly down.

Water helps movement.  In labor, women will decline a request that their amniotic sac, or bag of water, be broken by the doctor or midwife in an attempt to shorten a long labor. They know that an intact sac may help the baby rotate her head more easily during birth than no water. If marbles are stuck in a jar, then filling the jar with water and jiggling it gently is likely to free the block. Movement helps the water “flow” around baby’s head to help it move.

In pregnancy, movement and exercise improve

  • Muscle length and tone
  • Pelvic joints stretch and align
  • May help with engagement at the end of pregnancy.
  • Help descent once labor begins.

In labor, movement helps the

  • Baby descend through the pelvis
  • The birthing woman relax muscles she can’t relax simply by mentally trying or breathing

What should I do for The 3rd Principle of Movement?

Check out daily and weekly activities to learn more about which movements can optimize fetal position.

Check out the birthing ball tips to help the head slip into the pelvis. Visit the pages under “Learn More” and “Techniques” on the main menu to dive deeper.

When might these activities not work?

Habits of poor posture and chronic tension affect the balance (symmetry, abdominal tone and the state of tension or relaxation) over time. The uterus works most effectively when the abdominal ligaments, muscles and fascia (a strong coating of membrane around all the organs, are in balance.

Active women who walk, swim or did regular yoga may have overcome many of the bad effects of growing up sitting in school desks or slouching on the couch.

When we have had a habit for years, sitting and standing properly for a few weeks is not likely to correct the effects. A history of intense dance, sports, or core strengthening, or a car accident or other twist and stop event can make restoring balance challenging.

That’s where body balancing with myofasical techniques come in. Spinning Babies teaches some of Dr. Carol Phillips’ techniques to parents and professionals and Rebozo sifting, a traditional Mexican technique with the long scarf.  Together these are called the

Fantastic Four and they can be used in pregnancy and even in labor appropriately.

Professional help may make all the difference. Find the person right for you to get body work from.

What if this is too much and I feel overwhelmed?

We are all doing the best we can, with what we know at the time and to the point that we can cope with. A year from now, I want you to be satisfied you did the amount of preparation you are satisfied with. Not every challenge with fetal position can be overcome, but many can!

Go to Daily Activities to learn more about what you can do during pregnancy to add balance.

Even easier

Seeing the instructions on video is easier than searching the website. Are you ready to download Daily Essentials downloadable video and begin an easier pregnancy and childbirth?  Add the  Spinning Babies; Parent Class to see the Fantastic Four demos. Regular use creates a dramatic improvement for many pregnant and birthing women. Be sure to follow directions and contraindications and don’t drop down into positions with a jolt. You can also get instructions through these same titles on DVD.