A guide to getting your baby ready for birth

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Try out different ways to sit and move around to get baby in the best position

Pregnant woman with exercise ball

© Getty - Handbag

The way in which your baby lies in your pelvis is important and it can affect how smoothly your labour progresses.

In the last few weeks of your pregnancy, it's a good idea to stand and sit as much as possible in ways that will encourage your baby into the best position for birth. Trying to stay active at this stage is also important.

The best position for your baby to be in for birth is head down, with baby's back against your belly, facing your back. This way, baby can fit through your pelvis as easily as possible. He can 'flex' his head and neck, tucking his chin into his chest, so that the narrowest part of his head (the back) is pressing on your cervix, helping it to dilate.

Some babies lie with their back against their mother's back. Labour tends to take longer if the baby is in this position because he can't tuck in his chin very well and getting through the pelvis is more awkward. If a baby is lying this way it can often cause backache in late pregnancy and during labour.

It's not always easy for you to know which way round your baby is lying, but your midwife should be able to tell you.

To help your baby to get into a good position, spend as much time as you can in positions in which you can lean forward and where your hips are above your knees, particularly from 34 weeks.

Here are some positions you can try:

- Sit the wrong way round on an upright chair and lean over the back

- Sit on an upright chair, with your feet flat on the floor, and lean forward so that your bump hangs between your knees

- Sit on a bouncy birthing ball!

- If you sit a lot at work, take plenty of breaks throughout the day to stand up and move around.

- Kneel forward over a pile of pillows, a beanbag, or a birthing ball, with your knees apart and your bottom down; you can do this
whilst watching TV

- Get onto all-fours and move around

- Lie on your left side, with your right leg over and in front of your left leg (with a cushion or pillow between your knees)

- Swim or float on your front

For more information on pregnancy health and advice go to www.nhs.uk/Start4Life

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