8 tips on how to avoid having a star gazing baby
Star gazing, sunny side up, or more technically occiput posterior. Although most nicknames for this phenomenon sound kind of cute, it usually means a much longer and more painful labor for mom (and baby).
What is the ideal baby position?
Throughout your pregnancy, your baby will wriggle into all sorts of different positions. Around week 35 your baby will begin to sink into the pelvis, prepping itself for birth. The so-called occiput anterior position is ideal for birth. The baby is head down, facing your back. The baby’s chin is tucked onto his chest, so that the smallest part of the baby’s head will pop out of the cervix first (still no walk in the park, but MUCH better than any other position).
Why is a stargazing baby bad news?
1. Biggest part of the head first – The baby’s head is still down, but facing mommy’s tummy (looking upwards). That means the biggest part of the baby’s head will pop out first.
2. Long and painful labors – Mothers of babies in the ‘posterior’ position are more likely to have long and painful labors as the baby will usually turn all the way round to facing the back before being born. If they don’t, than labor will be much more difficult because of the baby’s bigger part of the head coming out first.
3. Longer pushing stage – Stargazing babies put extra pressure on the cervix while the baby is not in an ideal position, this can create the urge to push before being fully dilated, thus prolonging the pushing stage. It is not impossible to have a stargazing baby naturally, it just might take a lot longer and be more painful.
4. Cut – Sometimes a cut (or in medical terms: episiotomy) is necessary to help get baby out.
5. Cone head – Ok, so this is purely an esthetic thing. But hey, don’t we all want to have a cute baby propped up on our chests after nine months of pregnancy and numerous hours of labor? Babies that were in stargazing position during labor tend to come out with serious cone heads. Luckily this disappears after a week or so post partum.
How to prevent a stargazing baby?
Unfortunately there is no surefire way to prevent having a stargazing baby, but there are ways to reduce the odds of having one!
Yoga tailor pose while pregnant
2. Tailor pose – Use yoga positions while resting, reading or watching TV – for example, tailor pose (sitting with your back upright and soles of the feet together, knees out to the sides).
3. Prop up – Sit on a wedge cushion in the car or at work, so that your pelvis is tilted forwards. Keep the seat back upright to make sure you are not slouching backwards.
4. Don’t cross your legs – This reduces the space at the front of the pelvis, and opens it up at the back. For good positioning, the baby needs to have lots of space at the front
5. Don’t put your feet up – Lying back with your feet up encourages posterior presentation.
6. To the left – Sleep on your side (preferably your left) and never on your back.
7. Swim – Swimming with your belly downwards is said to be very good for positioning babies – not backstroke, but lots of breaststroke and front crawl. Breaststroke in particular is thought to help with good positioning, because all those leg movements help open your pelvis and settle the baby downwards.
8. Birth ball – Bouncing about on a birth ball can encourage good positioning, both before and during labour.
9. Active labor – try to avoid lying down on your back during labor.