I’m not sure how many readers are mothers, or mothers-to-be, or planning mothers-to-be but I found the article by Tina Otte a wonderful informative read so thought I’d share it with you all:
Before the birth, find out how your baby is lying
Belly mapping is a fun and great way for you to bond with your unborn baby and provide gentle stimulation, as well as a process for identifying your baby’s position in the last three months of your pregnancy. Parents can use belly mapping for their own enjoyment and understanding of their baby’s position within the mother’s body. In the last month of pregnancy, most women can tell if their baby is head down and on what side of their body the baby’s back is laying. It’s easier to figure this out than you think – not only can the midwife or doctor tell your baby’s position – you can too. Belly mapping can also alert you to how your baby’s position could affect your labour and delivery – especially if your baby is lying in a posterior position– his back against your back.
You may find it difficult to do if you have a firm tone in your abdomen, or alot of amniotic fluid. If your placenta has attached to the front of the uterus, this may also make it difficult for you to map or feel your baby’s body parts.
Mothers often know more about their baby’s position than they think. If you aren’t sure we encourage you to take some time out to get to know your baby’s habits. You will notice more details of baby’s movements when you adopt a semi-sitting position, breathing deeply and slowly into your abdomen and having well-oiled hands, so that it becomes easier to feel your baby’s ‘bits.’ It’s best to start doing this after 32weeks. The best time of day to do this with your baby is just before you go to sleep for the night. This is the time for you to focus just on your baby with no distractions. Make sure you are comfortable and well supported with pillows.
Close your eyes and ‘see’ with your hands. Take a breath in and out and release any tension in your lower abdomen. Feel with your warm hands using your finger pads and not fingertips. Warm hands are important as it makes it easier for you to relax and your hands will feel your baby much more easily. Walk your fingers along the contours of your baby’s body. Imagine your belly as a pie cut into four quarters. Start on the left side of your belly. Feel what is in the upper quadrant then the bottom. Do the same for the right side.
You may feel these two features:
- A hard firm section which is your baby’s back.
- A consistent bulge – the bulge is the buttocks in a baby that is head down, or the head if the baby is breech. If your baby is lying with his back against your back – it maybe difficult for you to feel the firm back. You will most likely be feeling the movements of the arms and legs, hands and feet in the front of your belly.
To make belly mapping easier, keep in mind three opposites in the baby’s body:
- Head and bottom.
- Tummy and back.
- Feet and hands.
- Your baby’s buttocks will always be opposite of his head. If your baby is head down you will find his feet in the top half of your belly. Hands will be opposite to feet, so hand movements will be felt lower down in the bottom half of your belly.
How to make a belly map
Draw a circle with four parts, or pie pieces. Imagine you are drawing a map of your abdomen. The top is your fundus, or the top of your uterus (easier to feel in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy). The bottom is where your pubic bone is. Your right side is on the left side of the paper map, and your left side is on the right. Just like looking in a mirror.
Make marks on the paper where you feel kicks and show where you feel big ones and little ones. Mark where a big bulge pushes up occasionally. If you know, draw a heart where the doctor or midwife finds the baby’s heartbeat. Is one side of your belly a lot firmer than the other side when you lay down? Draw a line or write “firm” on that side. You should have marked:
- The biggest kicks.
- Smallest kicks or wiggles.
- The firm back.
- A big bulge, usually up top, or on one side or the other.
- If you know, circle where the head is.
- If you remember where the heartbeat was last heard, draw a heart there.
Try play some music and do some gentle baby massage after you have done your belly mapping as you now have an idea of how your baby is lying in your womb.
So, from all our mothers-to-be and mothers that can remember belly mapping: did it work? 🙂