The Gravity of the Situation: Architecture, our Body, and Spinning Babies

So I’ve already attended the spinning babies workshop, and I’m still excited that Gail Tully is headed to San Diego for a second round. Why? Because I have so much more to learn. Spinning Babies as a website ( is a resource for all mothers not just about the baby’s position, but also about the relationship between baby’s position and mom’s body. Spinning babies is basically a workshop full of tools that helps you help / mentor / inform the mom / the doula / the midwife/ yourself as to what can be done to encourage an optimal baby position.

I mean, not a lot has changed in several hundred years as far as the birthing body, right? Well, that is somewhat true, but not really. First, today, I’m not going to write about food, but food has definitely changed and can change our bodies! Second, several hundred years ago you wouldn’t be sitting on your office chair relaxing and reading this. Several hundred years ago you wouldn’t be caught in Southern California traffic in an SUV with bucket seats for a few hours a day. Several hundred years ago you wouldn’t lean back on a couch watching movies for a few hours. Our society’s architecture is designed to help our stressed-out bodies and minds feel as if they can relax. Yet, in this process of supporting our bodies, there is a potential that our babies may not rotate into the best position for birth.

My first interest in alignment of the body, gravity, and birthing was sparked at a midwifery conference that I attended in Oaxaca in 2002. Being a doula and a student midwife, I knew that when women had back labor, if you gave them back pressure during contractions, some of the intensity could be relieved, and the mother would most likely be able to cope. But as a midwife pointed out at the conference, this only helped the symptoms of mom laboring, it didn’t change the cause: the baby’s position. It was at this conference when I learned about the rebozzo. I learned about shaking butts, sifting bellies, and squeezing hips for purposes of moving baby or for postpartum alignment. And although I’m no expert as far as the various ways to use rebozzo, it is a tool I carry and find quite useful. I see it as an essential part of my birth kit.

Fast forward to Optimal Foetal Positioning and Sit Up and Take Notice. Ok, these books also talked about preventative care in our modern world. These books created an awareness of how our SUVs or our furniture was not only creating more posterior babies, but it was also about how to change what we were doing for better positioning. Spinning Babies has now stepped up a notch and combined this knowledge with using gravity and various positions to assist before and during labor to help rotate the baby. One of the most useful tools in rotating the baby during labor is a mobile mom.

So last time Gail Tully came to town, I thought, “I’ve read that spinning babies site and how much more could I learn?” I took the class anyways, and there is so much more to learn. I have to admit, I am biased since I’m already a sucker for gravity and birth. I’m already excited about the smaller things that we can do to prevent unneeded interventions in the birth setting. But this time, I’ll be there paying attention to the nuances of rotation and body mechanics. I’ll be paying more attention to when to use the trochanter roll or the Walcher’s position. I’ll even be lucky to pick up some aspects of cranialsacral.

Finally, I also want to mention that it doesn’t stop here. Optimal Baby Positioning isn’t just for pregnancy anymore. I recently took an online course called No More Kegels, a class from Katy Bowman of the katysays blog, and realized that the positions that we encourage in pregnancy are for long term pelvic floor health. Imagine that!

The architecture of our society along with gravity really does change the way our body aligns, the muscles we build, or can even torque the ligaments that hold it. The architecture of our society and the way we move through it can also be set up to heal our body, make it stronger, or at least allow our baby to rotate into the best position possible.