Monday, April 6, 2015

Why Cesarean Awareness Month? Giving Birth With Confidence says,
My Birth Matters. And while a cesarean may be the best choice for a particular birth, the cut mother may have mixed feelings and need understanding of both her gratitude for a life saving procedure and  the grief of not finishing the birth on her own powers.

For these women, the short cut cuts short the hormonal completion some women need to feel finished. The closure of the incision is not the closure on the surgical birth.

Out of the desire for birth need recognition comes a new movie, Trial of Labor. Spinning Babies was a supporter of this effort. Here is an April 18th  film screening of Trial of Labor  at ArtRage, an activist art and social awareness gallery in Syracuse, NY.
Good going ICAN of Syracuse.

I, myself, am speaking Monday April 13th for our local chapter of ICAN Twin Cities in South Minneapolis (Minnesota). Come to the free evening and learn something useful to avoid a cesarean in your upcoming birth.

Cesarean Awareness Month gives a voice to woman who felt shushed when they expressed the grief next to everyone's relief that the birth resulted in a living child. Even when the cesarean is what helped make sure the baby lived.
Not all women grieve their cesarean. I would hope we all realize that some women have a peace with having had a cesarean to avoid health threats, for scheduling convenience, or even avoid facing the fear of birth when their is no support for birth around them.

And even if its a surprise cesarean for someone wanting a natural birth they may not grieve because they began labor, everyone helping them tried their best and the woman got to make decisions through out.

In my circle of supporting women wanting natural birth either at home, birth center, or in the hospital, women feel that they've tried "everything" and know why they consented to a caesarean. But this doesn't take care of all of the loss of the birth they did not have.

Part of grief is trying to restore the expectations that were lost. The birth went differently and the expectations of the vaginal birth are lost. Who she was becoming as a mother changed scenes and she seeks her self in the difference. Feelings emerge and sometimes erupt spontaneously from this change.

We grieve until we find ourself on the other side of the stage, so to speak, and then we maintain.

Cesarean Awareness month supports that journey.

Cesarean Awareness is also public awareness of the risks associated with major surgery for birthing a baby. Higher rates of injury and infection and higher future rates of pregnancy and birth complications can be examined at

Resource on what is a VBAC and if they are safe on

Nurses, Key to Reducing the Cesarean Rate

In April we Celebrate Cesarean Awareness Month
I want to give a shout out to Shakopee, Minnesota nurses for helping bring down the cesarean rate in their hospital! 

Melissa Rezny is a Labor and Delivery Nurse at  St. Francis Medical Center in Shakopee, Minnesota, just 20 minutes away from my home.

 When St. Francis' statistics came out showing a marked reduction in their cesareans, I asked what she though attributed to the improvement. 

Melissa: I think our success in decreasing our cesarean rate has been several things.
- We're inducing far less women.- "Laboring down" has become a widely accepted practice*- We use peanut balls on most all of our epiduralized mama's**- But mostly there are several of us who have taken the Spinning Babies class and worked hard to educate each other in how important fetal positioning is during labor. And how to help encourage baby into a more favorable position if needed.
We have many providers (CNM's and several OB's) who also have a large focus on fetal positioning for an easier birth.
I think one more thing that stands out is we all work together as a team very well focusing on what is best for mom and baby.

Melissa is talking about a Spinning Babies Workshop I did with the Labor and Delivery Nurses and one of the doctors at St. Francis years ago. I had a 102 degree fever that night, it wasn't my best effort! Nevertheless, Melissa and her nurse friend, Sarah Steenson, have been amazing Spinning Babies advocates and users of the myofascial releases described on Spinning Babies as either the Fantastic Four or The Three Sisters. These can be done in pregnancy and/or labor. 


*Laboring down means that the woman numbed by an epidural is not expected to begin active pushing efforts until the uterus has moved the baby quite low in the pelvis. This may even be a couple hours the cervix is fully dilated. A Canadian hospital began the trend about thirty years ago and reduced their cesarean rate dramatically. Now its more accepted knowledge that full dilation does not mean the baby must be born in a set, or limited, amount of time. Pushing right at ten centimeters can lead to a diagnosis of failure to progress when, indeed, who's failing to progress is the practice habits of the labor floor. So this is good news for the moms at Shakopee!

**The peanut ball can be seen in use here:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Springing Into Perspective

Springing into perspective

The late season snow, so necessary in our midwest drought, is gently melting into our soil.  Thoughts of renewal frame the season change.

Renewal comes in cycles in our lives as much as for the earth in the annual Spring. Renewal is by definition out of something gone old, even decayed or perhaps wiped flat by storm. Somethings given up, there is a loss, there is a death. Winter is likened unto a sleep among the Seasons. Spring like an awakening.

A human life is a journey of growth, and even though the body is full height, the mind and heart grow on. In middle age, each decade or half decade seems to bring a broader perspective, in youth its by the year and in childhood by the quarter, and in infancy by the week. So my steps may be slower than they once were, but oh, so much more landscape is covered.

Birth is the first big visible, social celebration of a person's life. The community recognizes a new member. The older members of the community, the elders or the providers, depending on the culture of the birthing mother, guide the birth by actions founded on the beliefs held in their established values.  Often these are protective actions,  and some actually do protect. Coming to a location set aside for birth, whether a hospital or a hut, eating and drinking or intake of certain foods, fluids or substances, and having certain rituals, whether IV fluids or prayers and things to effect the environment (disinfectants or incense, for instance). Whatever it is, the action carries great importance to the people providing this service. Looked at spiritually, these are gifts to the life of mother and child. Looked at from a wider view, the results may or may not be useful to the wellbeing of mother and child. Let the mother have a say and enter the discussion.

All these actions also act to guide the mother and child into the values of the larger community.  To step outside of those protective actions can seem like a rejection to the people who are prepared to help. So why would someone choose a variation from the expected path?

I think one part of it, not all, but part of our reach beyond is because our heart and mind reaches further than the norm. A growth spurt, perhaps, a Spring branch stretching for the Sun.

There is often a struggle involved. This may be in the search for the birth attendant who has the skills, both in birth and in personality - and legal rights! It may be in the personal relationships with those who are happy not to reach. It may be within amongst the very parts of our own spirit as we reach in one area and are unsettled from a deep comfort in another.

The evolution of the human spirit is dependent on this reach. Birth rights are also dependent on the reach and the support for that reach. I am proud to be part of a World community of BirthKeepers, parents and providers, womens' circles, social activists, lawyers, doctors and even marketers who help us spread the word for how birth can be better.  Oh, that morning stretch!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Where OP babies get stuck in labor and what to do

Occiput Posterior Presentation
Facing forward in the mother's body, the posterior baby's head presents in a bigger because of the angle the baby must pass through the pelvis. Baby can't help with the birth because their neck is already extended, they have less spinal movement because of spinal extension. 

Anterior babies have the room for more flexion to get into the pelvis (at the brim) and can then help with the birth better.Spinal flexion and extension helps with the birth - when they occur at the proper level of the pelvis. 

Arrest at the Brim
For first time mothers, just less than half have a vaginal birth if the baby is not engaged when labor begins. Not even half of the babies who are in direct OP at the time of delivery were born vaginally. I believe many of the babies who do not engage are in the posterior position and can be helped to rotate and engage.

Posterior babies may have their chin up and when so, can have their forehead on the front of the mother's pelvic brim. Even if the dome of baby's head is low in the pelvis, the fact that the forehead remains overlapping the pelvic inlet means that the baby is not actually engaged. 

Baby has to flex, or to flex and turn, to fit into the pelvis. We hope the baby turns to face mother's right side, putting their back to mother's left. Baby being hung up on the brim is a common reoccurrence in VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) labors when the first labor was due to lack of engagement.

Transverse Arrest at the ischial Spines (found at 0 station):
If a baby was stuck at 0 station, the usual reason is that baby remains facing one of the mother's hips and hasn't turned to get past the boney bumps called the ischial spines- the narrow part of the middle pelvis. The baby may, alternately, have started labor posterior and began the turn at the pelvic floor found at 0 Station. Now stuck on the ischial spines, the baby can't fit the long angle of the head, which is to the mother's side, through the narrow midpelvis. Rotation can be hard for baby to turn at 0 station due to the ischial spines are holding baby from turning, and sometimes from pelvic floor tension. 

Baby must turn or all the Pitocin, pushing or contractions will not bring baby down. The rotation solution is to help baby turn to the oblique diameter or to face the back directly to fit. 

  • Sidelying Release softens and lengthens the pelvic floor and other pelvic muscles temporarily. Follow with lunges with one foot flat on a chair through 3 contractions on each leg. 
  • Rotation off the protruding spines while lying down requires a "bed lunge,"  
  • A peanut ball to straddle  while on a sort of hands and knees position to open the pelvis, 
  • Few doctors, nurses, or midwives know to manually turn the baby, but that is another option. So a cesarean is the only solution known and if baby can't fit or turn, then the cesarean is a lifesaver. 
Would it happen again? It might, small chance? Solution? Works like a charm - if the sacrum isn't pulled in...But Pitocin will not help unless you were having nearly no contractions and then, it won't help by itself, but with these techniques given here.

Immobile Sacrum or one that is pulled inward by ligaments: 
An immobile sacrum doesn't move out of baby's way in labor. All the exercise and most of the self-care suggested on my website and in my workshop is not likely to help if the sacrum is pulled in by a short (due to a chronic spasm) ligament pulling it into baby's path. 

Pitocin is unlikely to help bring baby down.

Mobilizing the stuck sacrum outward takes a specific release from a body worker or physical therapist. There is a trigger point release that isn't well known. It takes about ten minutes generally. In tougher cases, longer. But once done the sacrum swings out and, if the baby was held back by it, now descends to give the birthing mother an urge to push.

Massage of any small adhesions surround the sacrum, acupressure or acupuncture, chiropractic, and forward-leaning inversion followed by "shake the apple tree" may also help a lot if this is a borderline issue or tension is from muscles not sacrotuberous ligament.

Would it happen again? Yes, unless the sacrum was mobilized to swing out into its neutral position. Recheck the sacrotuberous ligaments periodically in the later part of the next pregnancy AND during birth. 

A little less than half of persistent posterior babies are born vaginally in modern university settings (See Lieberman, 2005). With better knowledge of how to open pelvic diameters, soften and lengthen pelvic muscles and ligaments, I believe we can increase the rate of vaginal birth for persistent posterior babies. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

    Hi, Spinning Babies,
   I am 39 week pregnant and been reading and doing Spinning Babies exercises on and off since 30 weeks as baby been on Right Occiput Lateral (Right Occiput Transverse in US) and Right Occiput Posterior for all pregnancy. I had him go transverse for a week and back down again. 2nd baby. I can't find links to the positions to do in labour since the site has changed and my partner has just taken some time off work to get up to speed with what he needs to be telling me and helping me with in labour, as was clueless last time! Was wondering if you could send a link?
    Thank you!
    -N____ in the United Kingdom

Dear N,
Here's a few direct links which will hopefully lead you to what you're looking for:

For a list of techniques (you can click on them to go to individual pages with descriptions) you can see the lists here and here.

I hope that helps! If there's anything else you're looking for specifically, please don't hesitate to write. 

Thank you!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New website goes up tonight!

We're so excited to announce that the new Spinning Babies website will be going up tonight. There might be some time while the old site is migrated over to the new one where you can't access We've compiled a list here of important articles if you find yourself in need of some guidance while the site is down!

In Labor Now? Here's what to do.
How to do The Fantastic Four
Why won't this labor start properly?
Arm first -What is Baby's position?
Help! I want to avoid induction
Labor isn't starting or starts and stops?
Deb Lawrence's Dip the Hip Circles myofascial release
The abdominal lift and tuck to help engagement during labor

SpB Trainer Training 2015

Please help me to welcome our new Spinning Babies Trainers with me!

Preparing for months ahead, our Trainer Training brought everyone together for 10 days from our arrival on February 27th through March 8, 2015.

My sister, Kathleen, and I are proud to announce the lovely emergence of
6 Spinning Babies Approved Trainers!

In alphabetical order,

Lorenza Holt, Massachusetts
Marya Molette, Virginia
Nicole Morales, California
Ginny Phang, Singapore
Tammy Ryan, Iowa
Jennifer Walker, The Netherlands

We gathered, prepared, filmed, learned, shared, taught, and everything in between!
Enjoy the love and eagerness in these faces. I could look at these pictures for hours.

Changing the Earth by supporting Birth

Mothers bring forth life; medical corporations do not. Birth can be simple, powerful and loving. Fetal positioning, natural birthing and practical help for normal birth.