In Labor Now
Is any of the following happening?
- Strong labor seems to start and stop, or surge and withdraw, for some hours to days
- Contractions are long and irregular, but strong for hours, but then fade away
- Pattern occurs with or without back labor
- An internal exam reveals that baby is still high in the pelvis
- Pain is on the pubic bone, or mid back
- Sometimes there isn’t pain to give a clue but contractions continue (39 weeks or later)
Your baby might not be engaged. For some, the uterine action to engage baby seems like labor, sometimes as strong as labor associated with transition. But the baby isn’t even on the cervix, or even in the pelvis. The uterus works very hard to try to get the baby into the pelvis.
The cervix is often open less than 3 cm in a first birth. But don’t rely on the cervix to indicate what to do! Sometimes women open all the way to 10 cm and yet the baby hasn’t come into the pelvis.
Birth talk for when the baby isn’t engaged: The baby is -3 station.
This unengaged posterior baby often must rotate to left occiput transverse before engaging. Our approach is to help baby turn to line up with the pelvis for engagement. The uterus will take it from there. You can open the top of the pelvis to add even more ease.
The mother can check her own abdomen for a little tell-tale “ledge” resting on her pubic bone. If the ledge is there, it’s usually baby’s forehead. Then we know contractions may start and stop until the baby is turned. High in the pelvis might also be termed -2 station (2 cm above the halfway point of the ischial spines). When baby is directly posterior the back of the head might be felt in the pelvis at -2 and the provider thinks the baby is engaged. This is also because the head won’t wiggle. If the forehead overlaps the pubic bone then the forehead isn’t in the pelvis and the baby isn’t truly engaged.
Spinning Babies® solution is The Three Sisters of Balance relaxes the mother’s abdomen and makes room for fetal rotation.
- Rebozo Manteada (sifting)
- Forward-leaning inversion through 3 contractions
- Side-lying release through 3 contractions on each side
Now rest is easier. Labor may be mild for an hour. She can snooze. Surges begin again. If a woman isn’t pushing her baby out, she follows the Three Sisters of Balance with the techniques to match pelvic level.
Baby still high? We balanced, now we reposition the baby for flexion! Do the Abdominal Lift and Tuck through a contraction for 10 contractions in a row. Let the belly down and relax the back in between contractions. Doing the Abdominal Lift with a posterior pelvic tilt to flatten the lower back and move the sacral promontory out of the way will help baby to tuck the chin and rotate out of posterior and descend. Or, Baby is Zero, “0,” station, in the midpelvis, or +1, +2 station, lower down in the outlet. Either way, strong labor isn’t progressing labor. Do 3 lunges on each leg, resting between contractions. This series of techniques will help almost everyone.
A woman with an android pelvis, large baby and low thyroid may need help with more techniques, including a manual rotation of the baby by her OB or Midwife (done internally). If the posterior baby is large for the mother’s pelvis and the mother’s ligaments are tight, an excellent myofascial therapist who is specially trained in pregnancy may be necessary to avoid a cesarean. To prevent that crisis in a labor, begin before pregnancy or early in pregnancy to release spasms and imbalance in the whole body and pelvis to promote optimal fetal positioning in labor.
The Three Sisters of Balance is the most powerful contribution of Spinning Babies® to the birth world. Adding balance to the pelvis in pregnancy and in labor. Starting balance in pregnancy may mean you won’t need them in labor. Starting balance in pregnancy may mean you don’t end up with a crisis in labor to a stalled labor or a case of “baby won’t fit.” Some people may need more specific balancing activities.