‘Baby in the Hammock’ is one of series of movements we can do on hands and knees to relieve pressure on the lower back and the pelvic floor and gently mobilise our hip joints for optimal pregnancy comfort.
This is also the first of two posts that take a look at something called ‘Optimal Foetal Positioning’.
Hip Swaying / ‘Baby in the Hammock’
- Begin in a stable position on all fours, allowing your weight to be evenly distributed over both arms and legs.
- Place your knees directly under your hips, and your hands under your shoulders, or slightly further forward.
- If kneeling is not possible, see the previous article for a forward-leaning standing position in which you can practice ‘Baby in the Hammock’ (Wall Stretch/Ladder).
- Padding can be used for your knees and wrists. You can also rest your forearms on blocks or a bolster, or use your ball for this practice.
- The weight of your baby is allowed to fall forwards, away from the spine and from the pelvic floor. This may be a particular relief during later pregnancy.
- Imagine that your abdominal wall creates a little hammock for your baby to lie in. You can picture your baby with its head towards your pelvis and its back cradled against the abdominal wall – its spine towards the floor.
- Gently sway your hips from side to side creating a rocking movement for your baby in its hammock.
- Circle your hips to create a ‘merry-go-round’ movement for your baby in its hammock.
- After a few circles in one direction, go back the other way!
- Keep your movements slow and steady.
Optimal Foetal Positioning
Optimal Foetal Positioning is a term coined by New Zealand midwifes Jean Sutton and Pauline Scott. They suggested that positions like this, if practised for 10-15 minutes twice a day during the third trimester, can help to encourage your baby into a good position for the onset of labour.
“OFP is about encouraging the un-born baby to settle into the most effective position for labour and birth.”Jean Sutton – http://optimal-foetal-positioning.co.nz
Your baby is likely to be born more easily when he/she presents at the onset of labour with their head-down (cephalic presentation), and the back of their head towards the front of your tummy (anterior position).
In other words… when your baby is in the hammock!
Inspired by Jean and Pauline’s research, many people now believe that spending time on hands and knees can allow the baby wiggle room to move, and also to allow gravity to act on the heaviest part of your baby (head and spine) and roll them towards your abdominal wall.
This is especially important if you spend a lot of time sitting or driving during pregnancy, where the weight of your baby may gravitate towards the back of your body.
‘Baby in the Hammock’ is a good thing to do in your nest, ideally at least twice a day. Don’t forget to add padding to your yoga mat for kneeling on, and surround yourself with colours, fabrics and images that you really enjoy!