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What is Spinning Babies?

Spinning Babies

Green Chiropractic Webster technique

Green Chiropractor helps expecting mothers throughout her pregnancy. Spinning Babies is one method we use.

Spinning Babies® is a physiological approach to preparing for and caring for birth.

During birth, babies descend through the pelvis by turning to fit each curve in the passage. This turning is called fetal rotation. If fetal rotation can be made easier, birth is easier for everyone. Ease comes through understanding birth physiology better.

Spinning Babies® creator Gail Tully established The Three Principles to prioritize body balancing before the typical strategies of getting up and moving in labor.

The Three Principles of Spinning Babies®: Balance, Gravity, and Movement℠ guides our daily pregnancy lifestyle as we move towards a healthy birth.

The concept is simple: Add balance to your body so that gravity and movement help your birth. 

Why start with The Three Principles?

Balancing muscles, aligning with gravity, and moving your body toward flexible strength may enhance the overall birthing experience while adding comfort in pregnancy.  Applying The Three Principles of Spinning Babies®: Balance, Gravity and Movement can ease movement in your body and improve your well-being — perhaps even that of your baby. 
The First in our principles to help the other two

What is balance?

Body balance is “not too tight, not too loose, and not too twisty.” Balance results in more comfort and better function.

How do I know if balance is needed?

Discomfort can sometimes be a symptom of either imbalance or misalignment. If you live in a gravity environment you may need to restore balance.

Too tight? Chronic tension in the ligaments or muscles is one example of imbalance. Tension may make the pelvis less mobile. Immobility may not have a pain symptom until birth demands that the stiff pelvic joints move.

Too loose? Poorly toned, or loose, muscles make a pelvis unstable. Instability often leads to pain in the lower back or pelvis. The pubic bone or back may hurt.

If the belly hangs over the pubic bone (know as pendulous belly), the angle of the baby will not be aligned with the pelvic inlet.  Wearing a pregnancy belt may therefore prevent a long labor as the uterus tries to engage baby at this unfavorable angle.

Tip: Keep the pregnancy belt on during pushing until the shoulders are out and the baby is fully born to prevent a stall after the baby’s head is born.

Too twisty? Misalignment pulls the weight of the body off center and may add to tension on one side and discomfort on the other side. Our Rest Smart℠ positions help alignment. If uterine space is tipped, turned or otherwise not aligned, then baby’s body may not line up with the pelvis or cervix. Balancing the pelvic joints and muscles, the womb, and the surrounding supportive structures “makes room for the baby.”

Any of these imbalances might mean baby’s best position isn’t ideal for birth. Malposition may reveal a body imbalance. Add balance to give baby room to actually get in their “best” position. Baby’s position fits the shape of available space inside the womb.

Benefits of Balance

The benefits of living with these principles is body function. And by that we include easier birthing

.If we attend to the first principle of Balance, the second principle of Gravity works even better. Whether too tight or too loose, balancing the supporting connective tissue to the uterus should be the first activity of each day.

Spinning Babies® First Principle is Balance 

To improve body function, use restorative body balancing techniques together:

  • The Jiggle (Jenny Blyth)
  • Forward-leaning Inversion (Carol Phillips)
  • Side-lying release (Carol Phillips)
  • Standing release (Carol Phillips)
  • Psoas release (or resolution with Liz Koch)
  • Prenatal yoga with props, or physical therapy techniques
  • Dip the Hip (Deb Lawrence)
  • Ball Squeeze (Colette Crawford)
  • Abdominal Release (Carol Phillips)
  • Chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, and  fascia therapy

Balance comes from Body Balancing

Using the pull of the earth wisely

What do I mean by a principle of gravity?

Gravity is at work 24/7. Let’s put it to work. It’s a free resource!

A pregnant person’s ability to walk upright helps her baby settle head-down. Even from 10 weeks and on through the second trimester — even before baby is expected to be head-down — posture habits can influence the ligaments and muscles and determine the “space” for the baby.

In the final month of pregnancy, the growing baby slides lower in the ripening womb. Baby’s weight bends their neck as the back settles lower, tucking baby’s chin. You can help your baby tuck their chin by relaxing your pelvic area and keeping muscles supple well before the last trimester.

Upright birthing positions use gravity to help align the uterus. Rest Smart℠ helps align the uterus for fetal positioning.

There are a number of specific birth positions we recommend to make use of gravity for improved fetal descent.

Tip: A benefit of sitting up on your “sitz” bones (ischial tuberosities) is improved function by adding length for your spine, and space for your pelvic floor and tailbone, abdomen, and lungs.

Will gravity work if my abdomen is too loose?

After a few births, the abdomen may become too loose. Gravity pulls baby and belly over the front of your pubic bone.

Supporting the growing belly with a pregnancy belt can substitute for missing tone in the abdominal muscles. Tip: A tight muscular belly also likes the support belt to sigh into for relaxing a bit.

A good pregnancy belt supports the baby’s angle into the pelvis, adding a slope to help the baby aim and rotate into a good starting position for labor. Belly belts vary and must be chosen specifically by and for each individual. I don’t recommend any particular brand.

Tip: A store selling used maternity items may have a variety of belts to try on. Every body is different so we don’t have one we recommend over others.

Spinning Babies® Second Principle is Gravity 

Improve body alignment with aligned posture in pregnancy and birthing.

Gravity’s effect on your baby’s position will improve after daily balancing techniques.

Rest Smart℠

  • Sit up on your “sitz” bones!
  • Sleep with a pillow between knees and ankles
  • Tummy like a hammock
  • Shoulders wide and low
  • Your chin tucked a little bit and head held back over spine

In birth, position your legs and back to give room for baby to turn in your pelvis and come down.


What is the Principle of Movement?

A specific way of jiggling and stretching muscles can relax what you can’t relax by intention alone. This is where the principle of Movement comes into play during pregnancy.

The pelvis opens better when it has been kept mobile and “balanced,” meaning there is full range of motion in the four pelvic joints .

Movement such as walking supports flexibility while enhancing stability of the joints. This is a basic prenatal preparation activity however, a very mild assistance in actual childbirth. Nice but not revolutionary.  Jiggling the hips with Shake the Apples during a contraction is for when a lack of labor progress needs a more innovative technique. The science is that the jiggle activates the fascia.

Tip: Make walking more comfortable. Wear a pregnancy belt and/or what’s called an “S. I. belt” in two different locations. The pregnancy belt supports the ideal slope of the lower uterus for baby to slip into the inlet at the right time.  The S. I. joint belt increases stability of the lower back/upper sacrum between the hips. Movement and stretching in prenatal yoga and similar static stretch exercises help improve range of motion and flexibility. Some women will swim belly down, as well.

Water helping movement in labor

Water helps fetal movement. In labor, a doctor or midwife may attempt to shorten a long labor by breaking the amniotic sac, the barrier to the outside world of unfamiliar germs. Women know that an intact sac may help the baby rotate his or her head more easily during birth than if there were no water. If marbles are stuck in a jar, then filling the jar with water and jiggling it gently is likely to free the block. A uterine contraction creates a similar movement in which a thin film of water buffers and flows around baby’s head to help it move.

In pregnancy, movement and exercise help improve:

  • Muscle length and tone
  • Stretching and alignment of pelvic joints
  • Engagement at the end of pregnancy
  • Descent once labor begins

In labor, movement helps improve:

  • Descent of baby through the pelvis
  • Relaxation of muscles that can’t be relaxed by mentally trying or breathing

What should I do for the principle of Movement?

Daily and weekly activities can help add range of motion to the pelvis and help the uterus become more centered to help baby into position. Walk!

In labor, adding some tiny jiggling movements help activate stretch organs in the muscles and tendons to soften the path and reduce pain. Your support person or doula can gently jiggle the hips, thighs, and/or buttocks, “Shake the Apples”. Hip circles and Figure-8’s on a birthing ball can also help baby’s head slip into the pelvis.

Stay tuned for our next Blog Entry for Breech baby!

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