Monday, July 30, 2012

Platypelloid Pelvis

"Dear Gail:
"Just wanted you to know that the VBAC mom with the platypelloid pelvis had a successful unmedicated birth; surges were very intense with back labor for about 2 1/2 hours, mom was about 8cm dilated until the quality changed into a much more do-able intensity. 

"What helped was being on all fours, knee-chest position, strong hip squeezes, rebozo > standing did not work for a long time, just too intense, I think the walk to the car to transition to the hospital was helpful though – from there on it seemed so much easier. Active labor lasted just 3 hours, ½ hour pushing.

"– the baby was sitting on the right side throughout the pregnancy, I think ROT; this mom was very dedicated, did chiropractic work (Webster technique) & craniosacral therapy – but the baby stayed on the right side; once we arrived in the hospital baby’s heartbeat was found on the left – I think the baby was born LOA; just saw this mom yesterday – she says hello to you – she worked with every bit of information."

Dear S,
Oh, Wonderful! She got her baby over to the left via "balancing activities" and early labor so that when baby engaged baby was LOT and so born LOA! Lovely!!!

Please give her my sincere congratulations and admiration! She did a lot of work!  I'd love to post these emails without any identifying information within the pelvic types article. Would that be ok with you and her?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

When Spinning Babies fails

The success of Spinning Babies lies upon a continuum. 
Any particular pregnant woman's ease of her birth can also be thought of as along a continuum. 
The ease or difficulty of repositioning any particular baby before or during labor also falls along a spectrum from easy to difficult, even "too late." Some women will have to do 3 activities for a day, others 12 things all month!

How do we know when "Spinning Babies" fails? When the baby is stuck in a posterior position and unable to be born without a vacuum or cesarean after a good try in labor. Even then, deciding when enough is enough varies greatly from mother to mother and provider to provider. I do admit, readily, that Spinning Babies won't solve all fetal repositioning needs.

When I read on a pregnancy forum that Spinning Babies didn't work, that the techniques were uncomfortable and nothing happened in a day or three, I think someone missed a true understanding of their body and their baby's situation. Our wombs are not really round water balloons with a baby floating randomly and able to get head down with gravity alone. A few women will fit this picture, but not many! Rather several ligaments, muscles, and even the alignment of the pelvis shape our wombs by the pull on the lower uterine segment. 

When there is a twist or tightness there in a ligament or a twist in the pelvic joints, the breech, transverse, or posterior baby may find their way to an ideal position blocked. 

Jean Sutton and Pauline Scott wrote a revolutionary gem called Understanding and Teaching Optimal Foetal Positioning in 1996. I found it in 1999. Midwife Jean Sutton emphasizes maternal posture, keeping her pelvic brim open and using a pregnancy belt. Using their approach I found many women were helped to have an anterior baby. But some were not.

I started addressing those whose babies couldn't turn by maternal posture and a few tricks I knew by adding pelvic alignment, addressing abdominal tone, and releasing "spasms" in the uterine ligaments. Now many more women found resolutions. Some babies turned only with labor contractions, whose first job is to reposition the baby and help baby engage. 

 Spinning Babies doesn't equal maternal positioning for Optimal Fetal Positioning, can you give a moment to think about that? 

Spinning Babies begins with Optimal Fetal Positioning and brings in The 3 Principles, Balance, Gravity, and Movement. 
Balance means to bring the pelvis and the pelvic muscles and uterine ligaments into alignment or "balance."

Once balanced, maternal positioning becomes more successful. A transverse baby is a symptom of a twist in the lower uterine segment. Often a "3 breath" forward-leaning inversion does the trick, but don't twist your SI joints crawling out of it. So see if you can swing back UP to release the stretch of the ligaments from the inversion. Don't do this for more than 30 seconds! And yes, your head may pound the first few times you try it, so those of you with high blood pressure or other risk of stroke, no you can't do any inversions safely. Skip it. 
But if you are healthy, a short inversion is likely to help reduce pelvic pain, transverse lie and start to align your pelvis after many repetitions (repeat but keep these very short lasting!).

Here is the link for The Three Principles of Spinning Babies so that you can see the list of Balance activities you can do yourself or get help with,

Remember, as Spinning Babies gets mainstreamed, the details of what Spinning Babies is really about get diluted. That's like any "approach", idea, etc. 
Every woman is somewhere on a continuum and those on the "far end" may need body work. Some women need to start at 20 weeks, others can do something in the last days of pregnancy or hours of labor. But some need many sessions with an expert body worker, helping their tight jaws relax before their sacrums swing out free enough to let their babies pass.  So you see, its a spectrum from ease... to a super challenge.
Its not over til the Fat Baby sings. 

Love to you all,  Blessings and happy birthing. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Breech turned to posterior to anterior

Hi Gail!
It's taken me a while to get back to you, but I wanted to let you know my little one was born unassisted the other day...head down! Yay! She started ROP and ended ROA :)

This Mama's story of Belly Mapping and discovering her breech baby and how s/he turned is found on

This is the mother's actual Belly Map drawn on page 10 of the Belly Mapping Workbook
purchased right off my website.

"I want one, too, Gail!"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Deciding whether to birth a breech baby

A very dear and dynamic midwife from the SW emailed me today asking what breech birth videos might might she share with one of her mothers whose baby is breech at the end of pregnancy. (I'm not much on the word "client" and so far away from the word "patient" that I forget some midwives ever use that word anymore.) For those of you new to the terminology, a breech baby is one that's lined up to be born buttocks or feet first, rather than the common head down position.

While her email was in my inbox, I was downtown with two friends who are sisters. We were there because one of the sisters is an expectant mom whom I'd photographed Belly Mapping herself in her first pregnancy 7 years ago.  Due again next month with her 3rd baby, I'd come last night to her home for belly painting and picture taking, this time by the amazing Tanya Villano of Belly Art. The mom casually said that, when she woke that morning, she felt her baby in a new position, well, we really found the baby in a new position!

So today I tagged along to her prenatal appointment (with another dynamic midwife, this time in the midwest!).  I just loved coming along to see her midwife's first look at her now slightly fading portrait. The smile quickly erupted into a gentle exclamation of "Oh, I hope I don't find the baby is breech!"
She did.)

We fully expect this baby to flip back head down again, as her two older siblings were breech until 38 weeks. But after the appt.,  her sister asked, what would she do if the moxibustion, chiropractic, inversions and talking to the baby AND the external cephalic version didn't work?

The idea that the baby might not flip surprised her sister.

Like so many women at the end of pregnancy (3-4%) are surprised and seemingly thrown off course when they are suddenly making huge decisions on how to birth their breech baby.

There is so much more than watching a video, but here are some links I sent along to the first midwife.
Among these you will see three types of breech birth: Mother on her hands-and-knees and no one touching the baby so that the physiological spiraling of the baby is undisturbed; Mother on her back and the doctors extracting the baby and trying their best to imitate nature without hurting the baby (a common cause of breech birth injuries); and a cesarean breech birth. Cesareans are done for most breech births in this country, but there is statistics to show that long term outcomes of breech babies are just as good if babies are born vaginally to well-screened women with well-trained and experienced providers. I have a breech bibliography posted at

How about the Australian decision making breech video blog? A Breech in the System,
(Nicole has a copy, but you can download it from the internet, also)

Lisa Barrett's blog has a great homebirth video

My YouTube has one nice hands off  one,

And my discussion on vaginal breech birth:

Friday, March 30, 2012

The abdominal lift and tuck to help engagement during labor.
Hollie at sent this 

to gail today:

I posted this on my FB, but in case you miss it, here it is.  THANK YOU!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !   You helped me spare this mama we were just talking about a c-section!!

Thanks to Spinning Babies, I believe we spared a c-section in St. Louis tonight! Tiny first-time mom had GD [gestational diabetes] and was induced with cervadil [an artificial prostaglandin gel put on the cervix]. 

Baby had never engaged in the pelvis, and mom had a posterior cervix and 0 dilation. When you have these conditions, the likelihood of having a vaginal delivery started by induction is statistically slim. 

When I arrived at the hospital, they had just started pit. The nurse said she had made no changes, although she'd been contracting all morning, with stronger contractions about 30 minutes before I got there. The nurse also said she had little to no room in her pelvis. I had two moms walk this exact path and both ended in c-sections. So, I asked if mom would be willing to do Walcher's Roll, and understandably, she just couldn't get to her back. 

So, I asked if she'd be willing to kneel (which opens the brim) and allow me to do an abdominal lift on her with her next contraction. 

Now this mom was already very, very uncomfortable on pit, but she was willing. And she DID it...and later said something like, "I thought I was going to die, or split open" or something like that. Well, this mama moved her baby!! 

She started making new vocalizations, so the nurse checked her 30 minutes later, and she was at a FIVE with baby now engaged in the pelvis! She went from 0, posterior cervix to 5 centimeters dilated with an anterior cervix in 60 minutes with just a little pit, a strong will and a kneeling abdominal lift!!!!!

And THIS never, never could have happened had she got an epidural early on. Not ever in St. Louis hospitals anyway. [Hollie, you just showed us to never say never. Since this was possible, than even more can be possible. Doulas are amazing! And doulas and nurses together will change birth in St. Louis and all over our nation.] 
This mama worked so hard and finally gave birth to a 7.1 lb baby boy VAGINALLY! I'm soooo proud of you B and A and W/L!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ok, three messages about Brazil today, an email inquiry to come do a workshop, Ana Paula Markel's video newsletter telling about her trip to Brazil, and now another blog, Birth Around the World comes up!

That's a pretty clear message. Didn't know I was going, don't know who or who with, but am now open to say Yes!  All we have to do is say yes and then the details take care of themselves. Right now, am saying yes in London and I have to go set up the room!

Changing the Earth by supporting Birth

Mothers bring forth life; medical corporations do not. Birth can be simple, powerful and loving. Fetal positioning, natural birthing and practical help for normal birth.