What to Do if Your Baby is Occiput Posterior (Back to Back)
The baby makes its way head down by week 34-36 but can still have space to move. The ideal position is a 'well-flexed occiput anterior position', which facilitated the process of labour. The position of the baby is palpated by the midwife or obstetrician or seen on a scan around 36 weeks.
- Well-flexed- where the head of the baby is tucked into their chest.
- Anterior- the back of their skull (occiput) is forward in the pelvis and their spine pointing towards the bump.
There are other presentations such as occiput posterior, transverse and breech. Occiput posterior is also known as 'back to back' or 'spine to spine'. In later pregnancy this position can be more uncomfortable, and it can (but not always) lead to a longer and more uncomfortable labour as the baby has to rotate further to descend into the pelvis. Sometimes (but not always) this means that interventions such as an induction or venteuse may be needed.
It's thought that there may be an increased occurrence of occiput posterior because of the sedentary nature of many people's day. Taking regular breaks from the desk and walking at lunch time can help to reduce this impact. Sit with the knees sloping downwards so if you had an orange on your lap it would roll to the floor.
At home, use a gym ball to sit on, and to lean forward onto. This helps the pelvis to move more freely and allow the baby to move into a more efficient position. Go to a pregnancy yoga class or practice some positions at home, such as forward leaning over a ball, or being on hands and knees. Even scrubbing floors on hands and knees as our grandmothers used to do is considered a good position for the pelvis and baby!