Thursday, December 29, 2016

Belly Mapping

Gail Tully is the developer and creator of Belly Mapping. Belly Mapping is a 3-step process to estimate your baby's position in the womb. Many pregnant people can estimate with fairly good accuracy in their last trimester of pregnancy.

Step 1. Feel the contours of your baby with the pads of your fingers.

In Step 1, you will draw a 4-piece pie and draw in the fruits - locations of kicks and wiggles, firm edges and round bulges. If you know where your provider heard the loudest heart beat from baby, then draw a heart in that place. 

Draw a circle adding four parts to help you draw baby’s small parts in location. Fill in the “pie” you’ve drawn with marks to indicate the kicks, flutters, bulges and firm, smooth areas.
In Step 1: Lie on your back and bend your knees. You -or your partner or loved one - will feel through your abdomen more easily and you will be more comfortable. Roll over to your side if you suddenly don't feel comfortable. Pregnant people ought not to be on their backs very long. You can do this for 5-15 minutes and then roll over.  
 Put a doll over your map and then over your belly to visualize your baby’s actual position. Do the hands match the location of small flutters or are the doll’s hands going the other direction? Put the doll’s feet where you feel the biggest kicks and swing the dolls back around to match the largest firm, smooth part of the baby that you feel. (An anterior placenta will mask the baby with the big, smooth placenta.)

Step 2: Visualize baby using a doll. Holding a doll over your map and then your belly, put the doll's head where you know or suspect your baby's head to be. Place the doll's back where you feel the smoothest flat, firm area. Remember, you find that area on your own back. You won't likely be accurate if you try to locate baby while you stand up. Your stomach muscles will be engaged and hard to feel details through them.

In your lasts months of pregnancy your baby’s kicks and wiggles become more certain, more perceivable. When you lie on your back with your knees bent your abdomen is often soft enough to feel through your skin and uterine wall to contact your baby.

Feel your baby’s contours. The womb and your belly muscles, even though they are likely softer now, will protect your baby during your gentle but determined touch. Getting to know your baby’s shape will help you picture baby’s position in your womb. You can see the steps on my website or get a more detailed description and a template to draw in the Belly Mapping Workbook.

Seeking your baby in your mind is not as awakening as actually sketching your baby on paper or creating another visual image. “Seeing” your baby ignites fires in your heart beyond the more abstract thoughts without image. The highly technical ultrasound scan increases positive perceptions of the baby early in pregnancy while late pregnancy ultrasound has mixed results in increasing or decreasing anxiety and closeness. So, ultrasound may not inspire the same neurological firings of gentle feelings which a drawing may connect.

Visualizing baby by having a friend paint baby's picture on your belly in the actual position of baby is a fun way to finish up!
Let’s explore how bonding may increase. Your hand moves the pencil or crayon towards the curves and lines of your child. It’s as if you discover this mysterious visitor as you draw. You see the image, you feel the love of creation as you draw. This is the being within and this is the art which expresses your hope, your wonder, your own emerging self.

Belly Mapping is a three-part process to discover your baby’s position in late pregnancy.

If someone paints your belly, as Gail is about to do here, they will be more accurate if they feel your baby first. 
2.    Pu

3.    Step 3: Name your baby’s position.
 Right, Left, Anterior, Posterior are the directional words for mother's body. Baby's body part words used are Occiput for a head down baby or Sacrum for a breech. Learn more in the BellyMapping Workbook.

We show photos of paintings to help you see the end result here. But the real result is in the connection between mother and child within.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Three Levels to avoiding a cesarean

The pelvis has 2 distinct areas for birth, the area for getting in and the area for getting out.

But there is also the middle.

Three Levels of the Pelvis

Inlet for Getting In
Mid pelvis for turning
Outlet for Getting Out
Assessing progress in labor includes noting which of these three levels the baby is in. In medical terms, nurses talk about "pelvic stations" which, like train stations mark the journey. But unlike train stations, each pelvic station is associated with a level of the pelvis that moves in ways that are not much like the other stations.

Pelvic Stations
-3 and -2 are at the top in the Inlet
-1, 0, +1 I call the Midpelvis based on effective solutions
+2 or lower (numbers go up) are effectively the Outlet

When providers think of techniques that "open the pelvis" they are not often associating which level that move actually opens.

Side view of Pelvic Stations

Baby's head crossing the Inlet... Whoops!

Baby's head tipped (asynclitic) in the Midpelvis

Looking up to the Outlet
The pubic arch  come down each side (past the IPR noted here) to the
sitz bones or Ischial Tuberosities (IT)
and the ligaments place the coccyx (C) and sacrum's position

Here's what can happen when a provider doesn't ask, 
Where's baby? but only asks the question of dilation.

A mother writes today, 

"I labored for 24 hours before the C-section. I was 4 cms. and not feeling any pain when they admitted me in the hospital. I was doing squats and walking the halls until 5 cms. with no pain.  The doctor thought labor was not progressing quickly enough after 7 hours and decided to break my bag of water at around 6 cms. That was when the pain shot up (More of shock than pain really). I panicked and asked for an epidural. 8 hours later and still at around 6 or 7 cms , I was wheeled into the operating room. "

One of the things I developed in Spinning Babies to ease birth and avoid unnecessary interventions to force babies through the pelvis is what I call "Pelvic Levels."  

Pelvic Levels thinking asks, Where's baby in relation to the pelvis?  
Cervical dilation is one clue. But the point is where is the wide part of baby's head? This is where we need room. Birthing women can make room at all three levels with different moves. Opening the top closes the bottom and squatting to open the bottom closes the top. So know where baby is before expecting to open the pelvis -in the right level!

Then, when we know where baby was and where baby ended up, we can see, "Whoops!", breaking that water bag (amniotic sac) may have dropped and locked baby into the mid pelvis. Baby's forehead may be against one ischial spine and the back of baby's head locked over the other side in a "deep transverse arrest" (baby's head is stuck sideways in the narrow mid pelvis). 

On our enewsletter linking you to this blog, you saw that the Spinning Babies recommended activities  for any kind of a mid pelvis stall in labor:

Lay on your side with knees together and feet open and apart, but knees together!

What not to do? 
Intense pelvic floor exercises or chronic gripping of the pelvic muscles (tends to add aches or shooting pains) can shorten the pelvic floor and cause a labor stall when baby gets to the mid pelvis and expects to rotate through the hole in the pelvic floor which turns out to be held tightly closed from mom's power moves before and during pregnancy. 

Soften the way by lengthening pelvic floor muscles and doing complementary exercises for the muscle pairs that nurtured together make the balance of birth. 

Learn more about pelvic levels and the techniques listed in Spinning Babies; Parent Class. 
See step by step instructions on resolving the issues at each level of the pelvis. Birth Geek Heaven. Get your Spinning Babies; Parent Class download on your favorite device. Be sure to have extra room on your device for the download and a little more for function. You can download it only to one device, but you can stream it from any internet source that allows streaming. free membership required. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Daily Activities are "Essential" but...

We at Spinning Babies recommend beginning Daily Activities as you feel fit for simple activities.
We don't recommend "feeling the burn" but rather listening and respecting your changing body to feel the stretch. Moving through a pose slowly and holding it with good alignment is more important for supple flexibility.

If you like the social feeling of a video, even at home, Daily Essentials yoga routine is a real "feel good" stretch half-hour physically and in mood. Starting the daily routine of stretching with Sarah Longacre in the Daily Essentials video at about 20 weeks pregnant has been attributed to shorter births by the parents who use it everyday.

We expect to see baby's position be anterior at each appointment from 30 weeks on to birth (in general, I observe that a first time mom has spontaneous onset of labor between 41 weeks and 41 1/2 weeks). 

The left occiput transverse or left occiput anterior position in the womb most usually allows baby to be curled up and aim the small, round crown of the head into the pelvis.

Daily Essentials: Activities for Pregnancy Comfort & Easier Birth from Spinning Babies on Vimeo.

Unexpectedly, a baby may rarely change position quite late in pregnancy. 

Long car ride? Nope. Not in this case.
Fall? No.
Strange turning movement with a jolt (like golfing or softball or giving a chiropractic adjustment as opposed to receiving one)? No.

Could it be the umbilical cord? This is unlikely but possible. Correct for the other reasons and ask for medical (or midwifery) assessment of baby's heart rate. During birth the baby will be listened to for dips in the heart rate and if they match a particular pattern, it may be assumed to be due to a short or wrapped cord. Often when a provider doesn't know the answer they fill in the "blank" with umblical cord and only after the birth if the cord is seen to be wrapped or uniquely short can we confirm that the baby's lack of descent or rotation was due to the cord.  We leave this question for that time. 

Could there be a twist in the pelvic floor lower down that made baby turn as s/he dropped? This may not be known, but a Physicial Therapist, Pelvic Floor Specialist, professional bodyworker, Osteopath or Chiropractor MIGHT be able to assess this. If getting an assessment isn't practical, doing the corrective activities wouldn't be harmful if they actually weren't needed. 

The answer is the same here as for most mysteries, add balance and go within. 
More practical tips for parents coming!

Spinning Babies Parent Class from Spinning Babies on Vimeo.

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.