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Pain Pattern Before Engagement

When labor is active – contractions are strong and frequent – but baby remains high, check to see if baby remains high in the pelvis or is yet above the pelvis.

At -3 Station, baby’s head is right at the entrance to the pelvis, the inlet. The provider typically finds this out when a vaginal examination shows baby’s head is a full finger’s length inside the vagina. Quite a reach is necessary. If the amniotic fluids are released (water broke) or the birthing person declines an exam or simply gives birth in a situation where internal exams are not common, there are other clues.

The clue of the “pain pattern” (many of my readers typically do not use the word pain to describe labor. I’m using a phrase from literature here) can sometimes help. We might notice:

If back pain is present, it’s higher than the sacrum, even kidney level just below the ribs in back.

If hip pain is present,

  • One side may be the side muscles are tight on, and if on
  • Both sides may occur if baby is not lined up with the inlet. Baby has to turn to put the back of their head on the left side. Use Sidelying Release for this and rub the buttocks on the sore side or both sides.

The Sidelying ReleaseSidelying Release

If there is pain in the front,

  • Pubic bone pain may happen when baby tries to turn the forehead
  • Lower abdomen muscle pain is not typical, or occurs after several hours of strong contractions

With contractions, options to help baby engage include the

Abdominal Lift and TuckAbdominal Lift and Tuck

  • Abdominal Lift and Tuck (ten contractions in a row, moving freely between them)
  • Posterior Pelvic Tilt (which can be done with any birth position, including in bed on an epidural)
  • Flying Cowgirl (laying on one’s side with back arched and a peanut ball to rest knees apart. Can be done with an epidural)*
  • Froggie Walcher’s (6 contractions and stay in position between them, also can be done with an epidural.)
  • Walcher’s (Shown below. 3 contractions and stay in position between them)

*If you have a clear photo of this position in a real labor situation, please consider sharing with us.


Add the body balance first and then if contractions are frequent enough to become predictable, these techniques can help baby engage within 3 or 10 contractions.


Out of Hospital Breech Report

Friends Stuart Fischbein, MD, and Rixa Freeze, Ph.D. report on Dr. Stu’s out-of-hospital breech birth experiences. This is a great boost to our stand for physiological breech birth.

newborn indigo birth photography

Data from Midwives Alliance of North America show that while breech birth at home does carry a somewhat higher risk of infant death, the risk is small. Injuries out of the hospital seem less than in the hospital in both Dr. Stu’s obstetrical care and the midwifery outcomes. With the approach of all-fours birth position, Dr. Frank Louwen and others have proven better outcomes than the on the back birth position.

The often whimsical warning “Don’t do this at home!” may be questioned seriously when it comes to vaginal breech birth, but mainly because vaginal breech birth is not well trained for; about 10% of breech babies at term have a neurological or other problem, some of which may need medical care faster than a car can travel to the hospital, or resuscitation efforts are not well coordinated. Training in breech birth is a value at Spinning Babies. Gail Tully has taken the teachings of midwives and doctors using all-fours techniques and shows what to do when in our Breech Quick Guide download for those who catch babies. Be ready and be reassured.

Go to Dr. Stu’s home page to download a pdf of the published report, Breech Birth at Home.


Did you know Spinning Babies® is a proud affiliate of Hypnobabies®?

“Kerry (founder of Hypnobabies) has high standards in choice of words for a positive message. She covers a wide array of topics, including a visualization to turn a breech baby to head down. I’ve been at several births where the calm and relaxed mother was listening to her Hypnobabies audio guide. For me, it’s like running into Kerry at a birth!” – Gail Tully

Hypnobabies is providing our Spinning Babies community with a $200 discount for their 2019 Hypnobabies Instructor Training. Bring easier natural childbirth to the moms in your community; so gratifying, an extra income for you, and you’ll receive everything you need at the training to get started right after certification. The next Hypnobabies Instructor Training is in Albuquerque, NM April 26th-29th, 2019. Childbirth is such a huge event in a mom’s life and all women deserve a much easier birth. Become a certified Hypnobabies Instructor, save $200, and help change lives … yours too!


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