Friday, October 26, 2012

Belly Mapping!

This is a post strictly for pregos! I had heard about belly mapping several pregnancies ago after being introduced to the website Spinning Babies, a site dedicated to helping pregnant women try to get their babies into the ideal birthing position. My current midwife recommended I order The Belly Mapping Workbook available at, written by Gail Tully who is a CPM homebirth midwife and doula trainer.

The goal of belly mapping is to make sense out of those bumps and bulges and try to determine what position your baby is in during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Pictures and overlays help the expectant mom to begin to figure out which way the baby is facing, without the use of ultrasound imagery. Knowing the position of your baby helps both you and your midwife or caregiver take proactive steps towards an easier birth. We all know that breech and posterior positions are far from the ideal anterior positioned babies, so this workbook offers exercises to help the babies turn (or spin) before the onset of labor.

I have had a lot of discomfort with my last 3 pregnancies during my last trimester. I have strong contractions lasting for hours that make me think that labor is here, and all without progress (dilation). Although I was early with my first 7 (all born in my 38th week), my last 2 babies were 6 and 14 days late. All of the "false labor" and sense of being uncomfortable, according to this midwife, is an indication that the baby is trying to get into a more ideal birthing position and pointing to the need for bodywork to better align the body for birth.

The author of this workbook encourages mothers to do their work in practicing good posture and free movement to allow for a smooth and straightforward labor. I was a natural childbirth educator for several years with my first few babies, and was very faithful in my exercises. But somehow, by baby number 9, I had really slacked off and was not nearly as consistent- too busy, maybe? :) With this pregnancy I am really striving to exercise daily using a pregnancy workout and doing the exercises to help me stretch and relax tense muscles. One recommended exercise is doing a forward leaning inversion in which you lean forward off of a couch or bed propping yourself up on your elbows (check out the website to watch a demonstration). This pose helps relax the cervical ligaments which attach the womb to the pelvis. After doing this exercise for several days, my baby went from a transverse position to being head down- and we now believe she is in one of the more ideal birthing positions, LOA (left occiput anterior). And with just 14 days to go, I am not nearly as uncomfortable as I was with my last few girls, and I've had very few contractions so far... I'm so thankful!

If anything, this workbook and website helps a pregnant mother become more in tune with her unborn baby and become more proactive in the whole birthing process!

With this pregnancy I did a 10 Minute Solution Prenatal Pilates workout that I really enjoyed and recommend to anyone looking for a pregnancy workout. I have found most prenatal workouts to be somewhat slow and boring, but this DVD is doable while still being challenging. You can custom tailor your workouts choosing from 5 different focus areas that are just 10 minutes each- so you can exercise for 10 minutes up to 50 minutes. I usually chose 2 to do and mixed and matched them throughout the week to get a full workout...

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