Your Baby's Position is *Not* a Pathology
There is no Inertia in the Womb
Your baby’s position is not a pathology.
“Positioning” is not even remotely a problem in 99% of situations.
I don’t pay any attention whatsoever to the position of my babies in the womb.
I don’t palpate, I don’t “check”, I don’t measure, and I certainly don’t expose my babies to high-frequency ultrasound technology known to objectively harm mammalian cells and tissue.
In my 20 years of birth-work, I have seen and known of babies in a posterior position to be born easily, after two-hour long birth processes, and I have seen “optimally positioned left occiput anterior” babies take 3 days to be born after very difficult births.
In a tiny number of cases, a baby’s position can be a problem, but it’s infinitesimally rare, and these outlying cases can almost never be predicted prior to birth.
Yet so many pregnant women are preoccupied with this idea that there is a “right” posture for our babies to take.
There is so much propaganda out there designed to convince mothers that there is an “optimal” position that their babies must assume in the womb, and that if our babies aren’t occiput posterior (or whatever special names—either cutesy or medical—we have applied to the fantasy that our babies can take a specific location in utero), we have to do special exercises and chiro maneuvers and on and on, to “fix” the situation.
This is overwhelmingly a manufactured concern that has led to the proliferation of an entire industry dedicated to fear mongering, diagnosing, assessing, modifying and treating “malpositioned” babies.
In my opinion, the widely projected infatuation with positioning a form of institutional (and commercialized) gaslighting and frankly, collective madness.
Your baby in utero is not a piece of machinery, that must (or can) be placed in the correct position.
Birth is so much more than a set of segregated actuations.
Your uterus is not a pinball machine, waiting for the fetus to hit the right spot in order to trigger the robotic opening of your cervix—your baby is a living, growing, sentient be-ing, continuously expressing their aliveness, and constantly moving inside of your body.
Your baby is always digesting, kicking, growing exponentially, and in a state of unceasing activity.
There is no *one* position, even if it seems as if your baby prefers to lie on with her body on the left side of your body or the right.
Even if you’re more than halfway through your pregnancy and your baby seems to be head-up (also known as “breech”), your baby may well decide to turn head down at some point, even within days of the birth process…and then again, some babies prefer to be born bum-first.
Likewise, many babies enjoy resting sideways, which is often misinterpreted as the dreaded “transverse lie”, which has mothers fretting and focusing on all the ways they can nudge and shift their baby into the “right” placement…
But none of this is necessarily a problem.
Birth, like all other spontaneous biological processes in healthy humans, tends to work very well, and the birth process, far from being mechanical operation requiring elaborate preparation and alignment and deployment— is an instinctive expression of expansion and desire on the part of mother and child to meet each other, as much as it is a spontaneous biological unfolding.
In fact, the biological and physiological elements of birth are inextricable from the attitudinal, spiritual, and soul-based work of becoming, both for the new mother, and the incarnating child.
When it’s time for your child to be born, he or she simply continues the somatic progression of embodiment that began at conception, coiling and uncoiling their energetic expression as they begin to direct that amplification of Self toward the journey of being born.
There is never stasis in the womb, and therefore there really can’t be any “wrong” position, because there is no “position” at all—there is only continuous fluidity and motion.
When I began my work in birth, the topic of positioning wasn’t nearly the craze (a couple of decades ago) that it is now, which makes sense of course, because the allopathic obstetrics and midwifery industries are always reliant upon the continuous creation of new and special ways of pathologizing and problematizing birth, that can be monetized.
Ultimately, worries about positioning are based fundamentally on the notion as always, that pregnancy and birth need to be fixed, modified, moderated, or altered extrinsically, in order for birth to “work”.
Industrial birth demands and creates a deep discomfort with the spontaneous progression of life.
The engineered fear of “mal-positioned babies” is one of the primary ways that objectively risky and potentially very harmful interventions like ultrasound are sold and justified, which is a technology that is not only possibly quite dangerous, but is also self-evidently pointless when used to asses a baby’s position.
Ultrasound offers only a static image of one discrete moment in time, and after the ultrasound is done…the baby will continue to move.
Hands-on palpation is a much less invasive (and entirely analog) tool that has long been used to, among other things, determine a baby’s position, but this too is often misused in order to instil fear and trepidation in mothers whose care providers have been indoctrinated into the cult of positioning.
Ideally, palpation (including self-palpation) is approached as simply a way to connect with baby, and to get a sense of their general posture with a spirit of openness, and curiosity.
In the presence of a loving practitioner, many women enjoy having their bellies palpated, and the ritual can feel nurturing and compassionate.
But when we’re attached to a particular “position” being “correct”, or “optional”, rather than approaching the practice with a sense of delight and awareness, even palpation can become distorted and pathological.
We’ve been led to believe that various exercises, or acupuncture treatments, or whatever, will encourage our babies to flip or turn or to do this or that, but honestly I am deeply unconvinced of the utility of any of these approaches—there is no proof that any of that stuff works—who is to say your baby might not have turned on its own even without the special techniques?
Ultimately though, whether or not you or your midwife or birth-keeper “assesses” your baby’s position, your baby will take the posture that he or she decides is best, and in the vast majority of cases, babies come out.
In this culture of increasing mechanization, we often fail to give babies in utero enough credit.
Babies know what they’re doing—precisely *because* they haven’t yet been socialized to distrust their instinctive animal selves.
Your baby is a wise and mystical space traveller, with the greatest of expertise when it comes to the business of living and growing in a womb, and then swimming out into the world as a newborn human.
Crucially, our individual and collective fixation on positioning takes a mother’s energy away from far greater concerns: connecting with our baby’s soul and spirit, cultivating the inner landscape of surrender, self-authority, self-discipline, and serenity that will optimize our opportunity to choose a blissful, centred birth experience—the focus of my acclaimed birth-preparation program, “Portal”.
As I said, I don’t ever calculate my own babies’ position, nor am I interested in imagining a theoretical relationship between positioning, and why my beloved (and intense) first birth involved an eight-hour long pushing stage, or why my fifth baby was born in less than an hour, or why my most recent ninth birth was a four-day long birth process involving the most exquisite, perfect orgasmic bliss I have ever experienced, because…why would I?
I know birth works, and I know that the best, healthiest, safest thing for me to do is to take care of myself, get out of my own way, and to allow the process to unfold.
If you’re a mother, a midwife, a birth-worker, or a woman interested in birth, birth-work, mothering, and self-healing outside of allopathy, join my private online community for women, where we regularly debrief births, discuss case-studies, and enjoy weekly live calls moderated by me personally, on a variety of eclectic topics pertaining to wild pregnancy, intuitive mothering, self-healing, living in congruence, and birth & midwifery. Join The BAUHAUSWIFE BIRTH Community
If this article resonates with you, and you’re interested in learning birth-work with me and Emilee Saldaya and an incredible community of like-minded women, get on the waiting list for the upcoming round of the Radical Birth Keeper School.