Like more space to birth your baby?

Photo credit: Human Birth Project

Photo credit: Human Birth Project

Want extra space for your baby to move down in labour? Labouring and birthing off your back (i.e. upright, hands and knees etc.) allows your Rhombus of Michaelis, the kite shaped area in your lower back, to open up like a butterfly giving baby an extra couple of centimeters! That's a lot when you consider a baby's head usually moulds to 10cm or less during birth...

Like to find out more about making space for baby in labour, and how to help baby begin labour in an optimal position? You'll find lots of great information on these topics in The Birthing Room's new Online Antenatal Classes! Due for release in March 2018!


A day in the life of The Birthing Room…


Today the cat and I are hard at work creating a segment on Optimal Foetal Positioning for The Birthing Room's new Online Antenatal Course. I think the cat has optimal cat positioning sorted ­čśë

Make sure you have subscribed to The Birthing Room's Quick K┼Źrero┬áto find out the latest goss on our upcoming classes and to receive special pre-release deals! The next Quick K┼Źrero comes out tomorrow, so sign up fast!

To join Quick K┼Źrero click here

Optimal Foetal Positioning at the LLL Breast Start Study Day

I have had the most fun presenting at the LLL Breast Start Study Day today! What a privilege it was to empower women with knowledge about Optimal Foetal & Pelvic Positioning for their up and coming birth experiences. I learnt really interesting information about breastfeeding in relation to reaching UN Millennium Development Goals, thanks to Carol Bartle. I'm really looking forward to passing awesome Elimination Communication information on to you all -Dr Kelly Dombroski's presentation was SO interesting! And it was so crucial to have a father's voice during the study day (Brendon Smith, Father & Child Trust). But the best thing of this wonderful day, was the opportunity to meet so many of YOU! Thank you for sharing about you birth experiences, your children, your hopes and fears. So special.

La Leche League Study Day Christchurch

Just a reminder that the big day of the La Leche League Christchurch Study Day is tomorrow! Door registrations available. Don't miss out on this fabulous opportunity. Presenters include the amazing Carole Bartle of Breastfeeding Canterbury, Kelly Dombroski, THE world leading expert on Elimination Communication, Brendon Smith of the Father & Child Trust, LLL Leaders, and our very own Rosemary Joyce -empowering you with knowledge on how to help your baby into an optimal position for birth.
Discounts available for LLL members and community service card holders. This is not breastfeeding exclusive -so all health professionals, mothers, fathers and pregnant women get involved and be empowered with knowledge. See you there! LLL Study Day

Benefits of Forward Leaning vs Lying in a Bed During Childbirth

Labour/birth in a supine position

You've been working so hard oh labouring woman -surely resting back on the bed is well deserved? Yes, but no! There is a good reason this position is usually less comfortable. Your body is born with the knowledge of how to give birth, so it is giving you all the right signals to get up and keep moving.
What makes this position less than ideal?
1) In order to stop herself slipping down the bed, the labouring woman must keep her heels down. She is now sitting on her sacral curve, rather than on her "sit bones". Therefore she her back is rounded, which means her pelvis is posterior. This cuts down the amount of space for baby to move down and out!
2) Now the baby cannot make use of all the room he/she would have had in the mother's pelvis.
3) The Curve of Carcus slows down descent of baby, as the tail bone is curved upwards, restricting the outlet.
4) Pushing is required -baby is going against gravity!
5) The pelvic floor muscles have tightened with the posterior pelvis. So much for "letting go" and giving birth!
6) The weight of the heavy uterus is pressing on the mother's inferior vena cava, reducing the oxygen supply to the baby's placenta. A recipe for foetal distress?

Labour and birth in a forward leaning position

If a labouring woman leans forward during each contraction, there are multiple benefits!
1) Sides of her uterus tighten, top flattens off, and the whole uterus tilts forward.
2) Therefore labour has now become efficient, as every scrap of energy is directed down baby's back and onto the cervix.
3) This causes the cervix to dilate and baby to descend. Awesome!
4) Because the uterus is not pressing on the inferior vena cava, a good oxygen supply to the placenta can be maintained.
5) It is easier to "close off" to the outside world in this position, helping reduce stimulation to the neocortex (thinking brain). This helps a woman enter her primal brain -the part of her that knows intuitively how to give birth.
6) By letting her bottom stick out (tall back or slightly arched), she creates an anterior pelvis. The tail bone moves back out of the way, and baby can utilise all that lovely space in his/her mother's pelvis to move down and out.
(Let Birth Be Born Again by Jean Sutton)

You can find out much more about Optimal Foetal and Optimal Pelvic Positioning in The Birthing Rooms Antenatal Classes. Where knowledge is born! ANTENATAL CLASSES


The Birthing Room is incredibly fortunate to have international guest speaker Cathy Daub of BirthWorks International present an evening on Optimal Foetal Positioning.

Based on the teachings of Jean Sutton & Pauline Scott, Cathy Daub will be demonstrating how movement of the mother’s pelvis in pregnancy, labour and birth can facilitate or inhibit positive birth outcomes.

Cathy Daub has presented at international conferences such as The Mid-Atlantic Conference on Birth and Primal Health Research with other world leading researchers such as Michel Odent and┬áKerstin Uvn├Ąs-Moberg.

This special evening is open to all midwives, midwifery students, childbirth educators, or anyone who would like to know more on how optimal foetal positioning can improve birth outcomes.

Limited door sales will be available if not sold out prior.


Prices: (NZD)

BirthWorks International Member: $17

Student: $17

Non-Student: $25

Supper included.

All profits go to the not-for-profit organisation BirthWorks International to empower women and improve birth outcomes worldwide.

Tables are available for hire for organisations who would like to promote their business at this event. For more information email


Guest Post by Dr Andrea Dawson of Little Spines

Powerful information which could be the key to a positive birth experience. Optimal foetal positioning is when your baby is in the correct, ideal position for birth which means that the smallest diameter of the baby's head moves down the birth canal. When the baby is in the best position the pressure of the baby's head will also evenly push down on the mother's cervix which aids an efficient thinning and opening of the cervix reducing the length of the first stage of labour. Having studied this at length for my thesis and Doula training I could write on and on but I definitely recommend mums to be or those wanting to help others birth to come along to this event. Invaluable knowledge. If you influence baby's position, you influence the duration of labour, pain levels, the physiology, emotional experience and outcome of birth as well as potentially the health of the newborn and the mother's recovery, ability to breastfeed etc. The ideal occiput anterior position (OA) is when the baby is facing towards the mother's spine (image 1) versus occiput posterior (OP) when the baby is laying back to back/spine to spine (image 2) which is associated with "back labour", intense pain in the lower back/sacrum area during labour, which can potentially be avoided. (There are other positions a baby may be in too, these are the two most common presentations when the baby is head down "vertex presentation" as opposed to breech).

The Birthing Room is holding an evening on OPTIMAL FOETAL POSITIONING with international guest speaker Cathy Daub on July 28th 2014 in Christchurch. The evening is for health professionals and birthing parents who would like to know more on this crucial topic. Click here to find out more

Watch this space!


Have just the the most exciting meeting with the USA! The Birthing Room is not only hosting the most fantastic BIRTHWORKS DOULA WORKSHOP from 28th-30th June 2014, but on the 28th of June we have booked an incredible international guest speaker to present an evening on OPTIMAL FOETAL POSITIONING to midwives, midwifery students, and anyone else who is interested in this topic! This speaker has presented at conferences with Michel Odent, Kerstin Uvn├Ąs-Moberg, Elizabeth Davis etc. so we are incredibly fortunate to be having her come!!! Check out The Birthing Room's website for all the latest events details: The Birthing Room Events Page

Could your baby be too big to be born? Pelvis too small?


Here is a great write up on the optimal foetal positioning we learn about in BirthWorks Classes, and what you can do to give your baby lots of room to be born. Also a wonderful YouTube clip from Samantha Thurlby-Brooks of Joyful Childbirth Auckland demonstrating the principles.