What is Optimal Maternal Positioning?

Optimal Maternal Positioning (OMP) a method used throughout pregnancy to help create alignment and mobility within a pregnant mother’s pelvis. It aims to affect the muscles, ligaments and joints of the mother’s pelvis, rib cage and spine with the ultimate goal of facilitating the cardinal movements of the baby in birth. Optimal Fetal Positioning, or ‘which way baby is facing’ can impact labour and has been consistently observed in the medical literatures and by doctors and midwives.

According to Ginny Phang, the founder of OMP “Having a baby pass through the pelvis is like putting the key through the keyhole. If the key hole is not aligned, there may be problems of a smooth insertion. The key may get stuck and cause difficulties turning to unlock or even removing the key. The good news is there are many things that pregnant women can do to not just help with the key – key, meaning the baby! And there is a lot more than she can do to create space within the keyhole – meaning the pelvis, for the baby to pass through.”

With similarities to the Spinning Babies approach, OMP focuses more directly on the structure and function of the mother’s pelvis, muscles, ligaments, and joints.The goal being to create an optimal environment to encourage labour to progress. Both Alison and Jess have trained under Ginny Phang in this method.

OMP is a system of exercises, movements, positions, stretches, massage tools, and specific pressure applications that help create alignment and mobility within a pregnant mother’s pelvis.

The OMP approach is something we can start to work with early in pregnancy, but it isn’t ever too late to start. Many times women present to us at 34-36 weeks of pregnancy with a baby that may be breech and seek help to try to turn bub as they wish to avoid a c-section or complicated breech birth. OMP can be helpful in these instances, although it isn’t always a quick fix solution! It has great value from earlier in pregnancy to help avoid a breech presentation before bub is too big and settled in, and to optimise the head down presentation.

We use these techniques as part of our Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy. Often this is a new approach we are introducing to patients, but we also have patients seek out care when they are hoping for a VBAC or have had a difficult birth previously. While OMP is ultimately aimed at preparing for birth, we have also found in our clinical experience that they often are useful when combined with Osteopathic treatment for those with pelvis girdle and hip pain, a common presentation in pregnancy!

Part of the OMP system is a series of exercises that you can perform at home with the help of a partner or friend. This means you can continue this approach by dedicating a little time each day. We work with our patients to develop a customised set of exercises, meaning you’re spending time doing what matters most.

We can also give you advice about regular postures throughout your day (such as sitting!) and ideas to discuss with your midwife regarding labour and birth.

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