Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Optimal Fetal Positioning (OFP)

Posted on: May 13, 2012

Optimal Fetal Positioning (OFP) – Encouraging your baby into the best position for birth.  How and why? (including quotes from local independent midwife Valerie Gommon)

The best position for birth is when the baby’s head is down and facing the mothers back and baby’s spine is to the left of your navel (known as left anterior/lateral position).  In this position the baby can pass most easily through the mothers pelvis.  This will ensure a quicker and easier delivery.

Towards the end of pregnancy it is advisable not to slump back on the sofa as gravity will encourage your baby’s  spine (the heaviest part of her body) to swing back towards yours!  Instead, remember the good posture you have worked so hard to develop during your pregnancy yoga classes!  This will gently tilt your pelvis forwards, as well as maximise the space your baby has to move around in.  Whenever possible lean forwards to rest e.g over a yoga ball, table or legs wide over a backwards facing chair.  As in our yoga classes, remember to use cushions to allow your hips to be level or higher than your knees when sitting.  Use cat pose when ever you have a moment.  Valerie also suggests: “getting  onto your hands and knees to wash the kitchen floor or play with your toddler!” or just enjoy moving with your breath!
Another suggestion is that you “lie on your left side on the sofa with your belly hanging slightly over the edge – a nice relaxing way of encouraging your baby into the best position!” (Valerie Gommon).
However, do keep things in perspective if hoping to turn your baby…be comfortable, stay active and above all enjoy your pregnancy.
Remember babies can decide to turn right up to the last minute and some babies are just happy where they are whatever plans you might have for them!!
Sarah Cooper.

3 Responses to "Optimal Fetal Positioning (OFP)"

May I offer an alternative view based on my experience as a midwife… I don’t think it is helpful to consider an OP position as the ‘wrong’ position. Women get very stressed when their baby is in this position which is not in the best interest of them or the baby. This position may alter the labour pattern but not necessarily in a bad way. Please see my post about this issue:

Thank you for sharing this thoughtful and encouraging blog. When Sarah suggested writing about this subject we did discuss this and I am aware of the negativity around OP position, and also aware that babies are often in a position (OP, breech) for a reason. It is an interesting subject … are we experienceing more OP babies? certainly in my practice I see a lot of babies in the right lateral position … I am increasingly coming to see that it might not be helpful to dwell on the position, but at the same time feel that if I can give women infomation regarding posture then perhaps I should!

Thanks again.

I don’t think we are experiencing more OP babies. I think we talk about it more and women worry about it more. I agree that most women do want information about how their baby will move through their pelvis and I share the same info I have on my blog post. I am happy to use the rebozzo or suggest positions that may give the baby a chance to move… if he wants to. But I also spend a lot of time reassuring women that if he stays OP it does not mean a harder birth. In labour I don’t mention the position unless asked. It really doesn’t matter.
Thanks for your response – debate is good 🙂

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