Exercises to Get Your Baby Ready for Birth

Danielle Lugrand, CD/PCD(DONA) hosted Gail Tully of Spinning babies October 16-18, 2014. The Resolving Shoulder Dystocia training was attended by 20 midwives, midwife assistants, montrices and nurses. However our largest training, attended by 53 doulas, midwives, nurses and parents was the Spinning Babies Workshops.

The Resolving Shoulder Dystocia training taught skills that will allow the “baby catcher” to free a baby’s arm without breaking his or her clavicle and will minimize brachial plexus injuries. Those in attendance learned the five additional locations in which a descending baby may become caught and the steps that should be taken to safely free the baby. I encourage all midwives to attend a training and learn the “Vanna White Wave”.

Spinning Babies is a workshop that teaches specific daily exercises and movements that can be used to help a pregnant mother soften and lengthen her muscles and/or ligaments to create more room — allowing her baby to descend into her pelvis in an optimal position for a shorter, more effective labor.
Rebozo, Forward Leaning Inversion, and Sidelying ReleaseThese techniques have successfully helped mothers encourage babies who were in a posterior or breech position to rotate into an optimal fetal position. This can be accomplished by using the three sisters: balance, gravity, and movement.

Let’s talk briefly about each one of the three sisters and their benefits. Balance can be achieved by using a rebozo. A rebozo (a long Mexican shawl) can be used as an extension of the doula’s, spouse’s or care provider’s arms. A twin flat sheet could be used as a substitute. With the mother in an all-fours position, place the rebozo smoothly around the bottom of her stomach. Standing over her, gently apply pressure towards you and slowly lift each side (one side at a time) in a circular direction (think of a child pretending to be a train). Doing this daily will help to relax tight ligaments, it may help to prevent or reduce round ligament pain and it can be useful in encouraging your baby to change positions. A laboring mother may also enjoy this support during contractions.

Forward-Leaning Inversion- This exercise directly targets the support ligaments that

Photo taken by Kiara Cousins Photography

Danielle Lugrand with model        Photo taken by Kiara Cousin Photography

hold the bottom of the uterus in the correct position. Daily movements may cause the ligaments to become tight or lose on the opposite side.  If this happens, it is very hard for the baby to descend down into the bottom of the uterus. The Inversion allows the ligaments to stretch, lengthen and soften which creates space for the baby to engage. Repeat this exercise  more than once a day if you have a baby in a confirmed breech, unstable lie or transverse position, otherwise once per day will be ideal. If you have any of the following conditions PLEASE DO NOT do this exercise:

  • You are bleeding or cramping and not in labor
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you have glaucoma 
  • You are experiencing heartburn
  • Use caution if you have an anterior placenta!
  • You are at risk of a stroke
  • Stop if you feel vigorous or frantic movement from your baby!
  • If you feel that you should not do this exercise…don’t.

Here is a video explaining how the forward-leaning inversions should be done. Make sure to pay attention to the end of this exercise, it is just as important.

And lastly the Side-lying Release — this exercise should also be done daily. It may help

photo taken by Kiara Cousin photography

to prevent or correct a baby who is in a posterior, brow or asynclitic presentation. The side lying release directly effects the pelvic floor muscles. As you start to do these you may discover one side of your body that is not as tight as the other. Remember to breathe deeply and allow your leg to slowly relax and lengthen. The side-lying release is beneficial for first time mothers, athletes, moms on bed-rest, and VBAC-ing mothers, to list a few. Please use the following link for step-by-step directions from the spinning babies website — Side Lying Release.

If you would like assistance with any of the exercises listed above; or would like to learn exercises that will encourage a breech or posterior baby to rotate into an optimal position, call Danielle Lugrand with Mother’s Massage to make an appointment. 405-819-4904

Also if you attended the Spinning Babies or Resolving Shoulder Dystocia training in October 2014, please feel free to share your stories of how the techniques you learned have been useful in changing the outcome in your client’s births in the comments below.


Danielle Lugrand, CD/PCD (DONA) holds professional certifications in the areas of birth and postpartum services, lactation education, mother’s massage, and is the Program Coordinator of the COBA IMG_0020Baby Cafe. She is the founder and sole practitioner of Agape Doula™, Agape Doula Postpartum Services™and Agape Doula Mother’s Massage™. The wife of Marcus for 26 years and mother of six children,she lives in Norman, OK and can be reached through email at agapedoula@hotmail.com.