I think baby bellies are pretty awesome. I’m in awe of the way a woman’s body stretches and adjusts to accommodate her growing baby, and love seeing (and feeling) the resulting “bump.” Last night in Prenatal Yoga at Mommy Fitness, our instructor Julie talked about belly mapping – never heard of it? Yeah, I hadn’t either.
The idea is pretty simple but way cool. Basically, in the last few weeks of your pregnancy (typically 36 weeks +), you set aside some time to pay close attention to your baby bump to determine baby’s position. Why is this important? If you’ve ever had a posterior baby and endured back labor, you’d understand ;)
Basically, we all know that head down is where you want baby to be. But we also ideally would like baby to be facing mama’s spine. This keeps the hardest part of baby’s head from adding pressure on mama’s tailbone during labor. I had incredibly painful back labor with Eleanor, and would LOVE to avoid that pain for a second time.
Now, keep in mind that I’m not a baby belly expert (or really an expert at anything) but I’m going to do my best to explain the process Julie laid out for us…
1. Eat a snack, drink some water, and relax!
2. Imagine your belly as four different quadrants
3. Find your fundus (top of your uterus) and start gently pressing around the outside of your belly. Note any harder spots and any squishier spots. Do this on both sides from your fundus to your pubic bone.
4. Wait for baby to make her move and take note of how different areas of your belly feel during this movement. Was it a big kick? A rolling feeling? Little flutters?
That’s it! Now it’s time to process the information. A harder area is likely to be baby’s head. Depending on how squishy the soft area is, it may be the baby’s bottom. OR if there’s lots of give where you push, it’s probably extra space the baby isn’t taking up filled with amniotic fluid, etc.
As far as movements go, I find this part much harder to distinguish. Big kicks are obviously legs. Little flutters are more likely to be arms.
Here’s a look at what a mama might **typically** feel with an **ideally** positioned baby (but everybody, every BODY, and every BABY is different)….
Here’s a look of my belly mapping done at 36 weeks…
Baby is head down but currently has her spine curled up my right side. If I were to go into labor with her in this exact position, she would almost certainly be posterior. So basically I need her to do a big swap :)
I feel big movement at the top of my belly and lots of rolling near the bottom (I think this may be shoulders). The top right side of my belly bulges occasionally with her… butt? But like I said, movement is so hard to interpret and explain.
Julie gave us some awesome tips for helping baby find that ideal baby belly position, but that’ll be for another post. You better believe I’ll be spending the next 4 weeks doing everything I can to convince this little girl to turn ;)
Have you ever heard of belly mapping?
Any tips for spinning babies?