OP Avoidance

Whether you have rescued baby from breech, (there was a reason to be in a medically un-condoned ‘awkward’ spot) or think that 40 weeks is a full term pregnancy, there may be something else that is missing.

If your baby’s head is not hitting the ‘sweet’ spot in your cervix, labour just may not start – as baby is not in the optimal position to come through yet.

If you have heard of OP (posterior or back to back) this is where you start to pay attention – as your being on hands and knees is unlikely to move baby.

If you are happy with following what is so far not working, please go down to the Magnesium section at least.

Nutritionally there is always a simple and natural solution. If you think that there may be something you can do to help Nature, please read on.

When ‘induction’ is mentioned – and you have a baby lying on your right side – facing left – (OP) it may well be time to take charge rather than trust that head down is good enough.

Many women – including myself – have believed they are right only to have a diabolical labour and outcome that was not expected or necessary – if appropriate attention was given and baby gently encouraged to turn to the optimal spot to exit your body.

Your birthing attendants do not live through your life after birth as a consequence of their inattention!!

See the Fetal positioning ebook, part of the Easy Birth Preparation suite – click here.

There is also a wealth of info on www.spinningbabies.com

Recently I have seen four women needing this help.

Three arrived with breech babies. A tale of ‘find the right midwife’ if ever there was one – it is all about the ‘care you get.

1) – B’s third baby was breech.  She was very busily planning everything to be ‘just so’ – mum was here right when she should be and all was ready to get the next stage happening  . . but baby was breech. A quick trip to see me, and all was to be well she thought.  Baby shifted from the instant I started the moxa on her sacrum (instructions in Easy Birth Preparation suite – click here.

Baby was then stuck in OP for weeks – B kept coming as the acupuncture/moxa /massage  felt amazing and she had a rest, leaving revived – and life stretched out as baby stayed OP.

13 days over she asked them to intervene – she knew baby was happy and not ready.

Fully dilated – with an full on OP baby with full on back labour – she was pushing and pushing and baby was stuck.  Three hours later still pushing and ‘emergency’ C section was to happen – but!!

Midwife change. An older woman who was used to being a midwife – not an obstetric nurse said “let’s get this baby out” and half an hour late with appropriate midwifery care – an easy vaginal birth.

Going back to the ward B heard tales of the exact same story she had – minus the breech and the moxa – all ending as the ‘emergency’ C section she avoided – just because the OP was persistent and baby stuck . .. please read more in Fetal Positioning Solutions part of the  Easy Babies 4:  Birthing suite click here.

She was SOOO grateful that she had had all work put in at home for weeks by following the Easy Birth Preparation, as the massage and moxa at home from her husband who now knew just what to do, allowed the time in painful contractions to ease – and baby to come gently and easily once her position was altered.

2) – C was carrying a breech – and after the first session baby changed to head down – as most do when mum sits forwards and someone uses the moxa – on her sacrum (see Breech Solutions as part of the Easy Babies 4:  Birthing suite.

From here she felt such lightness of being – and the carpal tunnel and fluid in the legs cleared up with the massage at home by husband and the herbs she took away.

Baby did not need the moxa on little toes to turn either – as the moxa on the scarum and massage and treatments meant she was not tight and her uterus relaxed and baby went head down – and OP.  Stayed OP – regardless of what she and I did.

Labour eventually started naturally, two weeks late.  After a 30 hour gentle labour – which she found easy as husband knew what points to press and what moves to make as they had practiced at home with their manual (What Dads Can Do and by watching their Birthing – What Dads Can Do – DVD)

She was so grateful she had all that preparation as she had a gentle easy birth of a 9 pounder – and knew it as the baby needing to gradually take the long way around (being still OP) to get out.

(A different, less respectful midwifery package would have had the same outcome as M below).

C was ecstatic as she did it all herself – and dad was an integral part of the birthing (as intended when I wrote the manual and all the preparation work).

3)  – M – arrived as a 35 weeker – and as often happens, was unsure about what to do – as she had only heard the medical side of things.  She as unsure of her new relationship; as baby was an accidental surprise – she was on the other side of the world from home and knew not how life would be post baby.

All these doubts often feature in baby helping by being upside down so attention is drawn to the birthing as a priority – what needs shifting in mum and in the couple?

Using moxa on her sacrum (please look to the instructions in the Easy Babies 4:  Birthing suite, baby shifted and by the end of the week was head down – and comfy in the right hand position, meaning labour was going to be difficult unless baby swung around.

‘Overdue-ness’ followed – it was after all a first baby – and hence at least 10 days post 40 weeks is entirely expected. Eventually she hung out for 3 weeks and 5 days – as she felt crampy and likely to go that morning she allowed interventions to start her u.

BUT – baby was still OP. This meant a very slow labour, felt in the back – and when she was fully dilated – the midwife was confident all was well – and the resident freaked when he saw how pregnant she was – and told her that the baby would have poohed at least twice (clear liquor though) and ordered an immediate C section – no need other than the gestational age – baby and mum were fine.

M went through a large amount of PTSD over this as she felt her baby was ‘plundered’ put of her.
Stolen maternity.

4) – E contacted me as her acupuncturist had been needing, and leaving press studs in her little toes (excruciating) – and she at home had diligently been using moxa for 20 minutes every night since the session in clinic.  Her acupuncturist thought to try working on the sacrum next session  – (where the nerve and blood and qi impulses start from and to the pelvis/uterus and in my experience the only and the FIRST place to start)

I suggested that you can’t decorate a cake without baking it (why is baby there?) and icing it (why are you fighting birthing). I suggested that she start with what sort of mother she wanted to be (bake the cake)  – not focus on turn breech (icing) !! As thought that was the magic answer.

Whilst she had been sexually assaulted earlier in her life and did not want to feel ‘down there’ and did not want to be ‘raped’ again this time by medical procedures: she did not want what would project herself to where she had no voice again – she wanted to be  part of the decision making.

I suggested that if she got the fear of C section out of the way. By letting baby start labour on the day he (baby) wanted and then she would show up for a C section if still breech – hence having potentially a month more inside her – better for baby and best to give herself more time (at 35 weeks currently) to think and work things through.

This sounded exactly what she needed.

I feel much more empowered now whichever way it goes.

I will talk with my partner as I feel after reading everything you sent me that I will continue to be in a better position and be much more able to make this a positive experience. Every day now I am becoming more prepared to be a Mum…’

The moxa on sacrum is warming, soothing and often – when mum is sitting forwards – allows the space and the relaxation – for baby to find a new normal.  Head down is only half the issue – and what holds baby in a strange position?

Often mum’s tension. Life expectations and fears and worries . . . impacting on the physical and making it all less than Nature intended.  Suggestion – return to optimal and normal.

How to move all of that worry/fear? Magnesium has a huge part to play – and

2) – Magnesium used transdermally (http://www.rejuvehealth.com/) is a great place to start as passing through the skin allows the maximum absorption.

CP (Cerebal palsied) babies happen twice as often with Magnesium deficiency.  So too a lot of the ‘medical’ problems you may visit those who are least able to diagnose and treat well – the biomedical specialists and surgeons (obstetricans) are not up with nutritional remedies

THis often results in all manner of Magnesium deficiency warnings:

  • gestational Diabetes,
  • pre eclampsia,
  • all heightened blood pressure,
  • sleep disturbances,
  • stress,
  • IBS,
  • spasms,
  • too painful or noticeable Braxton Hicks,
  • any leg or foot cramps, and spasms – especially tension and neck /shoulder/migraine history – and
  • all PMS and chocolate addiction
  • all depression and all digestive issues – especially constipation

– why would you NOT pile Magnesium in and on?

Magnesium is the answer to all pregnancy woes.

As is more of the B complex and if living in NZ or Australia where the soil is deficient (hence the food grown) in Zinc and Selenium – these trace minerals in an easily assimilated form also.

A powdered sports form is usually the best from a health care practitioner – do not just take a tablet as you are to be able to digest it well.

3) – Rebozo (a form of gentle swaying using a sarong or towel – please search in the internet) is often a great way to finish and to relax mum – and can be done with her lying in the floor or leaning forwards on a bed – especially in birth suite). In labour – especially if baby is still in  anon optimal position.  One midwife did this for 45 minutes with a breech and he turned and birthed vaginally easily . . .

There are many ways to get an easy birth:

  • – being empowered with knowledge is one.
  • Not handing over to those who you feel ‘should’ know is another.

This is the same for all aspects of parenting – what did your great grand-parents do?
Ask them – they probably went down this road, many times. . . and eventually hit on the ‘easy’ button also.

What also may help – reprinted here from the web


4) – Diaphrammatic release

“There is an excellent way to change persistent posterior babies that has worked every time I have used it. It may need to be done several times in late pregnancy, but it will turn the baby every time. It is a chiropractic technique called a diaphramatic release. It is non-manipulative and easy to learn.

I learned it from Dr. Carol Phillips, who teaches chiropractic care for pregnant mothers and newborns. Every midwife should know this technique. I no longer have any posterior babies. Neither my mothers nor I miss those long hard back labors!!

‘It is easy to recognize a persistent posterior baby. You cannot feel the back on palpation, rather only little lumps and bumps of limbs. To do a diaphragmatic release, it is best to have the mother lie on her back. If she is in advanced pregnancy and this makes her very uncomfortable, you can have her lie in a recliner or semi-sitting position. If you use that position, place a small pillow or adequate support behind her lower back.

‘One hand will go horizontally across her lower back where the uterine ligaments attach. This is where you would put lower back pressure during labor. You do not need to press, as just the pressure of the mother lying on your hand will be sufficient. (Be sure you take off any rings you may be wearing, for your hand’s sake!)

‘The top hand will go on top of the abdomen, horizontally just above the pubic bone with the thumb upward. Just rest it lightly on the abdomen, no pressure. Then all you have to do is wait. Things may start right away or it may take several minutes before you feel anything. What you will feel is a motion beneath your hands. For the hand in back it will feel much like it does when there is a contraction taking place during labor as you feel the muscles tighten and contract beneath your hand and release. For the top hand it will be either a waving motion or a circular motion under your hand. At first you will think you are just imagining it, but you are not.

‘The best description I can give is that it feels as if the mother has a tennis ball in her abdomen that is being bounced back and forth between your hands. As it hits one hand it will roll across it or around underneath it and then bounce back to the other hand. Sometimes the motion is so great that it will actually make your hand wave on the abdomen. Sometimes the mother will feel things inside, sometimes not. What she feels may not be located where your hand is located.

‘The movement under your top hand may stay all in one place or move around. If it moves, try to gently follow it with your top hand to keep it centrally located under your hand. Do not move the back hand. Sometimes it will move around in a circle, sometimes off to one side, or even clear down to a hip. It all depends on the muscles that are involved and the type of injury that precipitated all the spasm of abdominal muscles.

‘Our muscles really only know how to contract and shorten, not how to relax and lengthen. They depend on another counter muscle to contract and pull the first one out of contraction. Abdominal muscles do not have as many counter muscles, so this technique allows the muscles to relax.

‘If you go back into the mother’s history, you will almost always find a history of a car accident (especially with a seat belt on, where there has been a twisting of the abdominal muscles because we use only one-shoulder restraints) or severe fall. However, I have had a mother cause it simply by doing too much hoeing in the garden.

‘You continue the diaphragmatic release as long as you feel motion under your hand. Usually it will just fade away and you will no longer feel it. Sometimes, if you end up over a bony prominence, it will end with a vibration. The process takes some time, often at least 20-45 minutes. But if you consider the time you save in labor, it is well worth it. You may need to repeat the process over several visits. I usually start at about the 6th month unless I have a mother with a history of car accident or several prior posterior babies.

‘This procedure has also been used this technique to turn breech babies. I use it for transverse but find it less effective for breech. I usually use a tilt board for breech and then do a diaphragmatic release after the baby turns. It works marvelously well for posteriors. I have never done one where the baby did not turn to anterior. However, on some occasions, after a few days the baby will turn back to posterior and you will need to repeat the process more than once. The more severe the history, the more likely you will need to do it several times before the baby will stay anterior.

‘Posterior babies use to be the worst problem I had in births. The long hard back labors wore us all out and occasionally ended in transfers for maternal exhaustion. I am thrilled not to have these any more. Now my biggest problem is cervical lips! But I am working on a solution for that also, using evening primrose oil!

‘I do believe every midwife should have this valuable tool, the diaphragmatic release, in her bag of tricks. It is so easy and non-interventive. It is much better than other suggestions I have seen of putting your fingers in the baby’s suture lines and trying to turn the head!”

–Judy Jones

Reprinted from Midwifery Today E-News Volume 2 Issue 18 May 5, 2000
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“The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you mad.”

“And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Please start with the Easy Babies 4:  Birthing suite, as regardless of what way baby emerges, the mother’s body and psyche can always do with pampering – and massage and moxa and knowing what points to press can revolutionise not just eth late pregnancy and birth, but your lives – and lovemaking.