In Labor Now

Are any of the following happening?
  • Strong labor seems to start and stop for several hours or even days
  • Surges and withdrawals trigger spontaneously
  • Contractions are long and irregular, but strong for hours before fading away
  • Patterns occur with or without back labor
  • An internal exam reveals that the baby is still high in the pelvis


If so, your baby may not be engaged.

For some, the uterine action to engage the baby seems like labor, sometimes even as strong as the labor associated with transition, but baby isn’t even on the cervix. When baby is not engaged, the uterus works very hard to try to get the baby into the pelvis. The pain is on the pubic bone, but can also be felt in the back or rectum.

When baby moves, baby may “grind” the forehead on the pubic bone in an attempt to rotate away from the front of the pelvis. Sometimes there isn’t pain to give a clue, as the cervix is often open less than 3 cm in a first-time mom. Don’t rely on the cervix! Sometimes women open all the way to 10 cm and the baby hasn’t even come into the pelvis yet.

If the baby isn’t engaged, the nurse, midwife, or doctor may say the baby is -3 station. This unengaged posterior baby often must rotate into left occiput transverse before engaging. Spinning Babies® techniques aim to help in this rotation. Rotation may solve this problem and let baby engage and descend through the pelvis, helping the mother potentially avoid a cesarean.

The mother can check her own abdomen for a little tell-tale “ledge” resting on her pubic bone. If the ledge is there, it’s typically baby’s forehead. Now we know contractions may start and stop until the baby is turned. A position high in the pelvis might also be called a -2 station (2 cm above the halfway point of the ischial spines).

When baby is directly posterior, the back of the head might be felt in the pelvis at -2 and the provider often thinks the baby is engaged. This may also be because the head won’t wiggle. If the forehead overlaps the pubic bone, then the forehead isn’t in the pelvis and the baby isn’t truly engaged.


Spinning Babies® has the solution

For many women in this situation, the Three Sisters of Balance℠ relaxes the mother’s abdomen and makes room for fetal rotation.

  1. The Jiggle
  2. Forward-leaning Inversion through 3 contractions
  3. Side-lying Release through 3 contractions on each side

Now the laboring woman can often rest, as the labor may be mild for an hour or so. She can snooze until surges begin again. If a woman isn’t pushing her baby out, she should follow the Three Sisters℠ with the techniques to match the pelvic level.

Is the baby still too high? We already balanced, so now we need to reposition the baby for flexion. Do the Abdominal Lift and Tuck through a contraction for 10 contractions in a row. Let the belly down and relax the back in between contractions. Doing the Abdominal Lift with a posterior pelvic tilt will flatten the lower back and move the sacral promontory out of the way, which will help baby to tuck the chin and rotate out of posterior and descend.

If not, baby is now in either zero (“0”) station in the mid-pelvis, +1 station, +2 station, or lower down in the outlet. Either way, strong efforts aren’t progressing the labor. Do 3 lunges on each leg, resting between contractions. This series of techniques will help the vast majority of people.

A woman with an android pelvis, large baby, and low thyroid may need help with more techniques, including a manual rotation of the baby by her OB or Midwife (done internally). If the posterior baby is too large for the mother’s pelvis and the mother’s ligaments are tight, an excellent myofascial therapist who is specially trained in pregnancy may be necessary to avoid a cesarean. To prevent that crisis in a labor, begin this process early on in the pregnancy to release spasms and imbalance in the body (specifically the pelvis) to promote optimal fetal positioning in labor.

The Three Sisters℠ is Spinning Babies®‘ most powerful contribution to the birthing world. These Sisters work to balance the pelvis in pregnancy and in labor. Starting your balance early on in the pregnancy may mean you won’t need them during labor and you don’t end up with a crisis due to a stalled labor or a case of “baby won’t fit.”

Daily Essentials
Daily Essentials can be practiced daily throughout pregnancy to help bring balance and comfort — and an easier, shorter birth.
Spinning Babies® Parent Class
Spinning Babies® Parent Class provides clear instructions on how to use Spinning Babies® for a more comfortable and confident pregnancy and labor.

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