|Pelvic-rock position, or, baby in a belly hammock|
Getting the Baby Out: Belly Like A Hammock for Baby and Your Back
The coolest/most anxious-making information from this class (aside from the knowledge that one mom was already four centimeters dilated) was that my posture can affect whether Baby Evie gets into the appropriate position for birth. The head-down thing I get, but I'd kind of spaced out on the whole rotation issue. It's hard to fully absorb terms like "occiput anterior" and "occiput posterior," but I guess I can see where "face to tailbone" and "face to pubic bone" are clumsy, too. Anyway, that's what those terms mean, and the idea is that you want the baby to be facing your tailbone on his/her way out, rather than towards your pubic bone. This has to do with how smoothly he/she emerges, so it's actually pretty important.
As it happens, sitting in a reclining position (like, say, in a comfy recliner, or lying in bed, or any of the positions that are most comfortable for a bulbous expectant mom) narrows the space in the uterus, making it tougher for the baby to rotate. You can create more space for her by sitting with your knees at a level lower than your hips, like on the edge of a chair. The pelvic-rock position-- hands & knees or "cat & cow"-- is ideal. They describe this as making a hammock out of your belly. Somehow this creates a proper gravitational situation for the baby's heaviest part (back and torso) to roll to the bottom of the hammock, with her face rotated towards the tailbone.
What's surprising to me is that being on my hands and knees is actually pretty comfortable for me, too. We sent our nice shag rug to be cleaned (part of Heather's nesting plan), so my hands and knees themselves aren't the happiest, but it's really nice on my back to shift the weight, especially in the cow pose. If you're pregnant and your back hurts, get a cushy yoga mat and go for it.
Meanwhile, fitness/birthing balls are supposed to be excellent for this, too. Sounds like a good excuse for a Target trip.