In Celebration of the OP Baby

To be perfectly honest, I was pretty smug about my son’s position throughout pregnancy. From pretty early on, he had been laying LOA (Left Occiput Anterior). We had been working together, I had spoken with him and visualised the optimal position and I had spent plenty time on my hands and knees.

40 weeks arrived and right on cue, he flipped OP! Immediately I was doing everything I knew of to help him move back to LOA. 40weeks and 3 days and my labour started with an OP baby. I instinctively started to do many of the things listed in this amazing blog post, In Celebration of the OP Baby. I had the urge, um, correction, involuntary pushing and was told I was going to hurt my baby and myself if I continued. It was literally out of my control and while I was pushing I was screaming that I was not in control. Eventually, I was told to go onto all fours and put my bum in air. This certainly helped with my “urge” to push as pressure was taken off my cervix but it was also the very first time in my beautiful labour that I started to doubt my body and myself.

If something I was doing completely naturally and instinctively was harming my baby, then could I be trusted? Did my body really know what was going on and what to do? I felt disempowered and that wasn’t necessary.

Reading this post was like a breath of fresh air and a huge sigh of relief – my body HAD known exactly what to do AND I was doing a beautiful job. It is my hope that everyone working with labouring women read this post- a woman’s bodymind really does know what it is doing, even if our understanding of it is slow to catch up (or specific knowledge is isolated to a medical event as opposed to a natural physiological event).

All in all, I had an amazing labour and gentle water birth. If there is a next time, I hope to remember this blog post and take solace in that my bodymind knows exactly what it is doing. I certainly draw on this very personal experience when I support a birthing goddesses in my practice.

MidwifeThinking

Edited and updated: July 2013

How many times have you heard “I had to have an epidural/c-section/ventouse/etc. because my baby was facing the wrong way”? An occipito posterior (OP) position occurs when the baby enters the pelvis facing forward with his back towards his mothers back. The back of the baby’s head is referred to as the ‘occiput’ and is in the back of the pelvis against the sacrum. Between 15-30% of babies start labour in an OP position, but less than 5% will remain in this position at birth (Sizer & Nirmal 2000). An OP position is associated with medical intervention during labour: syntocinon infusion; epidural; forceps; ventouse; c-section. This post will discuss whether an OP position is actually a problem, or if the problem lies in our beliefs about, and management of this common position.

A bit of anatomy and physiology

I’m assuming that readers of this blog…

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