When I tell people I attended a Spinning Babies workshop, the first question I often get is, “do you really spin babies?” The short answer is no, I am not actually spinning babies. Spinning babies is an approach to birth that encourages positive labor progress through optimal Fetal Positioning and Body Balancing. In a normal healthy birth, not only does the woman’s cervix thin and dilate; but the baby must also move down the pelvis, and does so by rotating or spinning its way into the world. The focus of this work is to make it easier for the babies to spin their way into the world. Last week I was honored to attend a Spinning Babies.com Workshop lead by Tammy Ryan. Spinning Babies.com was started in 2000 by Gail Tulley, a doula and midwife, after attending births for 24 years. The basic concept is that a woman’s soft tissue balance of muscle and ligament tension in her pelvis is often more important than her pelvic size in determining whether the birth will progress naturally. If a woman’s pelvis is balanced and her muscles and ligaments are not too tight, too loose, or in a twist, then it is much easier for the baby to get into an optimal position for birth. Gail Tully had a goal to change birth on earth by encouraging caregivers and mamas to concentrate on “where is the baby?” instead of just dilation.
One of the things I love about the Spinning Babies.com information is that the website is available for any parent to visit. They want this information to be available to all. Spinning Babies empowers Mamas to be able to feel their own belly’s so that they can begin to know what position your baby prefers to be in. I love that this information is meant to empower the birth mama to feel even more connected to her baby. As well as bonding with her baby, the belly mapping can also be a way to start to prepare for her labor. Spinning Babies promotes the use of Balance, Gravity and Movement to help a woman to achieve a more straight forward birth. We all know that breech babies who are feet or bottom down have a harder time being born than babies with their head down. It also turns out even when the head is down which direction the babies head is facing can have a huge impact on the labor. Posterior babies have a 64.7% chance of a cesarean section versus Anterior babies whose cesarean rate is only 6.3%. Anterior babies have an easier time tucking their chins, which makes it much easier for them to descend during the labor. Spoinning Babies promotes ways to rest smart, and easy daily exercises to help create more balance and flexibility in a mama’s pelvis so the baby can be given the space to get in the best position. I find it empowering to be able to show a mama daily exercises that can help her create more balance in her own body. Some of the exercises, mama can do alone and there are some that she will need her partner’s help to achieve. This gives mom and dad something to actually do help prepare in a positive way for the birth. Often the exercise will help the mamas feel better and sleep better. A more balanced pelvis can help everything!
Georg’ann Cattelona and Melissa Larimer hosted the workshop which was filled many with local doulas, childbirth educators and Nurse midwives, bodyworkers, and one neurobiologist. Both of our hosts have done so much to create a healthy community around birth in our area. Georg’ann was the director of Bloomington Area Birth Services and is a childbirth educator and doula. Melissa is the owner of Flora Massage and Wellness Service, where she specializes in prenatal, birth and postpartum services for women, and additionally she offers infant massage and craniosacral therapy. These powerhouse women brought one, out of only 6, of the Spinning Babies trainers to our own little community and then drew in a wonderful group of bright and lovely people to attend. In addition to learning about ways to support a woman through her pregnancy, we also learned strategies to help baby get into best position during the labor itself. During the workshop, I felt how truly lucky our community is to have so many women committed to supporting women and babies during this crucial transition. I have been a birth doula for over 23 years, and have practiced prenatal and postnatal massage for almost 30 years, yet I learned so much solid and helpful information at this workshop. Check out the SpinningBabies.com website for yourself; and be on the look out for references to spinning babies in the community. Soon we will all be helping those babies spin into our world!