What is Dip the Hip?

Deb Lawrence, President of the Informed Beginnings certifying cooperative for Childbirth Educators, introduced a technique she’s developed to open tight hips and pelvic muscles in labor or late pregnancy. (I’m calling this Dip the Hip so the title reflects the action. Deb didn’t tell me the name of this technique so I made one up unless she offers one.)


Why do Dip the Hip circles?

These figure 8 movements make room in the pelvis for the baby to rotate from the right to the left, and from posterior to anterior. Deb noticed a tight spot in the mother’s back that was associated with a lack of rotation to the anterior, so she developed this technique to loosen that spasm—and it works!


How to do Dip the Hip

This video shows Deb Lawrence demonstrating how to do dip the hip.

Adrienne Caldwell, therapeutic massage therapist, and Spinning Babies® advisor, recommends doing this gently, as women seem to get the same excellent results. Doing it gently may also reduce a small risk of achey sacroiliac joints afterward.

How many times should I do Dip the Hip?

Doing dip the hip about 8 times through with a little centering in between each “cycle” of the hips helps keep the muscle attachments to the hips flexible in the back.


How does it work?

Dr. Jessica Peterson, DC, suggests dip the hip releases the quadratus lumborum. The quadratus lumborum connects the lumbar spine and 12th rib to the iliac crest. With unilateral contraction (not the labor contraction, but a shortening of the muscle described here) the quadratus lumborum will pull the pelvis into lateral flexion (one hip pulled towards the body center). With bilateral contraction, it will pull it into extension (hips out but also too much lordosis).


When should you do it?

Dip the hip can be done in pregnancy every day and in labor as needed (the earlier the better), just don’t strain yourself. Overdoing anything in a vigorous way is not the way to soften for birth. Also, mix up your activities to lengthen other muscles as well.


When should you not do it?

Dip the hip is a soft tissue exercise for flexibility and balance in the pelvis and does not manipulate the baby. Therefore, this would not be the technique to use to turn an anterior baby to posterior, for example.


Are there any good alternatives?

I think a similar response can be achieved with the Side-lying Release (done on both sides). I’m excited to discover what birth helpers find out in comparing these two techniques!


A success story

Nicole Deelah’s story about this brave birthing woman makes me smile! She faced her resistance, both in doing an athletic move during labor and in her quadratus lumborum.

I just had a lovely birth on Monday.

Mama had been doing the putz-putz of early labor (first time mama) for a few days. That night, things got more uncomfortable but not crazy. Contractions were always about 3-4 minutes apart but short. They decided to call me to them when they went into the hospital. I met them there within the hour.

She was 4 cm and 90%. Baby was +1. 6 hours later, she was a 6 and had a very strong urge to push, but baby was descending into her hip (three checks confirmed this). Mom wasn’t ready to [accept suggestions] yet, so we just stayed mobile and did ‘hands off’ support. 4 hours later, she was ‘still a 6’ and baby hadn’t budged.

She felt very constipated and was discouraged. I asked her to give me 3 contractions to ‘dance up the mountain’ (my term for ‘dip the hip’, which I have been doing for years and years to resolve babies that are heading into the hip or low [occiput] transverse babies). I warned her that it would be intense, but that she could do it, and to stay focused on being loose and limp during the movements.

We then began ‘dancing up the mountain’ (dip the hip). She glowered at me, but she did it! I asked dad if he wanted to do it now that he saw how I helped her. He said, ‘Nope, she can blame you for this one,’ with a big smile on his face. Mama escaped to the toilet, he went with her, and I could hear her telling him she didn’t want to dance up the mountain anymore. He just kept reminding her it was only for two more contractions. She came out with a renewed sense of ‘I can do this’.

Two more contractions of dancing up the mountain. She did it! Right afterward, she sat on the edge of the bed to rest. Very next contraction and she was spontaneously pushing with so much pressure that she couldn’t speak. Daddy and I smiled. I waited till that one was done and went to get the nurse. Nurse came in and checked – 10cm and +3… baby was out 10 minutes later.

–Nicole Deelah, July 1, 2014

Dip the hip (or ‘dancing up the mountain’) is an exciting addition to our collection of body balancing exercises. Thank you, Deb Lawrence, for sharing this wonderful technique with us!

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.