posterior vs anterior labor positions

16 Feb

I’ve enjoyed the experience of fully dilating and pushing both posterior and anterior positioned babies. My first child, Kai, was in the posterior position, meaning his spine was lined up with my spine. In this position, the back of his head pushes against my spine during labor. It was my first labor and it ended in a c-section (although i had fully dilated and had been pushing for hours.) My second child, Madison, was in the anterior position, so her spine was lined up with my belly and her face pushed against my spine during contractions. (She was delivered vaginally) Having labored both posterior and anterior, I’m in a good position to describe and compare them.

Continual aching with posterior positioned baby.
There was no rest inbetween contractions because it was always aching in my lower back. The contractions would intensify this ache. Rocking my hips, sitting on a birthing ball and having my husband apply counter pressure helped. This constant aching really tires you out.

Rest between contractions with anterior positioned baby.
I wouldn’t believe this if I hadn’t experienced it, but in between contractions there was absolutely NO PAIN. i could actually close my eyes and relax. i could get up and walk around (until the next contraction hit).   And during the ‘transition’ period before the baby starts descending, there was a weird euphoria that occurred, I don’t know for how long, i felt like i was high, and if someone had said i was dreaming it all up, i would have believed them.

Felt the cartilage in front of my pelvic bone stretching.
The contractions with the anterior positioned baby were very intense. Particularly in the early stages of labor, the sharpest pain was that cartilage in the front of my pelvic bone. It stretches to make room for the baby to pass through, and i could literally feel it stretching. Counter pressure on my hips probably would have helped, but my husband went to bed when I told him I was in labor. My first labor experience lasted 36 hours, so he wanted to be rested up for the long haul! haha. Little did we expect my second labor to last only 4 1/2 hours!

More about baby position:
Book: Understanding and Teaching Optimal Foetal Positioning by Jean Sutton & Pauline Scott
online article with very clear drawn pictures:

Best Advice:
Sit leaning forward during the last month of your pregnancy. Straddle a backwards chair & lean onto the seat back. Imagine your belly is a hammock & you want your baby to lean its back onto it. NEVER sit back with your feet up, it encourages the posterior (back labor) position. If your laying down, lay on side – preferably your left side, not your back, which is likely to be uncomfortable now anyways.


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