Is your baby due in a couple of weeks and he’s not engaging into your pelvis? Feeling your baby should be dropping down into your pelvis a little more than he is?
There is one major thing you need to check to see if it is what is stopping your baby from coming on down.
I encourage every woman, about to give birth, to assess her pelvic floor muscle tone. (Actually every woman should check their pelvic floor muscle tone, whether you are having a baby or not!) This is more than just perineal massage. This is about making sure your pelvic floor muscles have the ability to release and stretch. When doing your perineal massage, you need to make sure your pelvic floor muscles have spring to them. They should give and release like when you push down on a trampoline, it gives way and then comes back up.
Imagine the opening of your vagina is a clock you are facing. At 12:00 is the urethra and clitoris and a 6:00 is the perineal body, junction between the anus and the vaginal opening. From 3 to 6 :00 and from 6 to 9:00 are your muscles. If you push down and out to the side at a diagonal you will see whether your muscles give or not. They should give easily to your pressure and spring back up when you release.
PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES AS STOP LIGHT FOR BABY
I liken the pelvic floor muscles to a stop light, signaling the baby on what to do. If you have too much tone in them, as in red light tone, that’s telling the baby to not come down this way. Red light tone is where the muscles have zero deformability to them. You press on them and they are bricks and don’t budge. This may be caused by a passive tension in the muscles from our unconscious holding or clenching of these muscles from an injury. Actively we can clench these muscles if we want to stop gas from passing. The problem is so many women are walking around with tension in these muscles and they don’t even know it.
Have you ever caught yourself with your shoulders up by your ears and once you were aware of it you were able to relax them back down. That same kind of tension can be found in our pelvic floor muscles. The only difference is we don’t have the visual cue of our shoulders to let us know the tension is there. But we do know what is there if we assess the pelvic floor muscles. When you find increased tension in the muscles, and it can be one side or both sides, simply put a gentle pressure on the muscle and breathe down into it. With awareness, passively held tension can release. If it’s resistant to release you may need some help from a Women’s Health physical therapist.
Red light tone can also be caused from a fall on the tailbone that happened anytime in your life. Having the tailbone offset can create tension in the muscles keeping it in that position. Getting your tailbone back into alignment is not something you can do on your own. I haven’t found a way yet to help someone do this to herself so again seeing a women’s health PT can be very helpful. (You can find a WHPT near you at www.MoveForwardPT.com)
I’ve seen a couple of women come in with a baby’s head off to one side, heading into the hip, instead of the pelvic inlet. In evaluating their pelvic floor muscles the opposite side pelvic floor muscles had increased tone, like it was repelling the baby’s head from that side. As soon as those muscles released the baby’s head shifted to midline. In one case the baby’s positioning change was so dramatically I wished I had taken before and after pictures of her belly.
Yellow light tone in the pelvic floor muscles, means there is some tension and resistance to the tissues to being stretched but it can do it a little bit. Yellow light tone just means the baby will have a little bit more resistance coming through. If you work with this tension you should be able to let go and get your tissues into a green light state.
Green light tone in your pelvic floor muscles is the go for it signal for the baby to come on through! This is the kind of tone in the muscles you want with no tension in them at all. You press on them and they spring and stretch easily and pop right back up when you release that pressure. Babies love green light tone in the muscles!
So what kind of tone are you carrying around in your pelvic floor? Assess yourself and find out now, before you go into labor. If you do find tension in the muscles work with them to see if you can release it. You’ll be so glad you did and your baby will be too!