Occiput Anterior is the most common position for a baby during labor. It describes a baby with its head down with the back of the head (occiput) facing the front of the mother (anterior). Occiput Posterior is the position during labor in which a baby has its head down with the back of the head facing the back of the mother.
When the baby is in the Occiput Posterior position, labor becomes more difficult. The bony part of the head is pressing against the bony part of the mother’s pelvis. During contractions, these bones push together and cause tremendous amounts of back pain. Occiput Posterior labors tend to be longer than average, particularly the second stage of labor. This can be greatly fatiguing to the mother.
Some women may get relief from the back pain involved in Occiput Posterior through the use of a local anesthetic. However, this is not guaranteed. There are several other things that the mother can do to help labor be more comfortable, including:
– Using counter pressure on her back.
– Having someone assist with a "hip squeeze" massage.
– Pelvic rocking or other activity to gently move the pelvis, to help encourage the baby into a proper position.
– A chiropractor may be able to realign the pelvis to improve the position of the baby.
– A birth ball may encourage good positioning for the baby and relieve some of the mother’s pain.
– Various exercises done on all fours can help, such as wiggling your hips from side to side, or arching your back like a cat, followed by dropping the spine down.
– In early labor, walk up stairs – sideways if you need to.
– March or ‘tread’ on the spot
– Step on and off a small stool
– Use kneeling or all-fours positions. Kneeling on one knee can help.
– Avoid lying on your back, semi-reclining, sitting or semi-sitting.