Every expectant mother has rehearsed a story of how they would like their birth experience to unfold, including preparation, pain management, comfort items, and who will be present. As much as possible, UAB Women & Infants Services supports moms’ choices, approaching pregnancy as a partnership between patients and care providers.
A new technique called Spinning Babies® teaches nurses to place moms-to-be in the best body positions for their babies’ movements, using gravity and physiology to help women push more effectively. Soon, this knowledge will be standard for every nurse in UAB Labor & Delivery.
Going beyond for moms
UAB Women & Infants Services takes a personalized approach to labor that includes assigning a nurse to each expecting mother, as part of a program called My UABaby Journey.
“UAB Medicine is rightfully known for being ready to manage the most complex high-risk pregnancies, but we bring all available knowledge to bear on every pregnancy,” says Laura Money, nurse manager for UAB Women & Infants Services. “Women are seeking more of a voice in their low-risk pregnancies, and we are responding by having our nurses trained beyond just clinical care and medication. That’s why we researched Spinning Babies.”
Money says the Spinning Babies course was developed by a professional midwife with 30 years of experience. For every move babies make, there’s a corresponding position to try that allows moms to help. “Every baby spins or turns to some degree during labor – it’s called fetal rotation,” she says.
Money says the Spinning Babies technique is ideal for low-risk labor patients for many reasons, including:
- Moms don’t need any prior training, and the instructions are easy to follow in real time.
- Nurses use quick reference cards to help visually communicate each position to moms.
- Pain management choices or changes do not affect nurses’ ability to use the techniques.
- Nurses can work around wired or wireless monitoring, as needed.
- Birthing aids such as balls and peanuts are welcome and may help with some positions.
- Mom can choose to be actively or passively involved, timing her pushes with the techniques or not.
- The sequence of positions used will be unique to each birth.
“It’s important to emphasize that this is not a replacement or alternative to anything, just an added tool for wellness – like prenatal nourishment,” Money says. “It really connects parents to the ever-changing birthing process and gives them a sense of control, like, ‘Here is what the baby is doing, and here is how we can help.’”
About 70 UAB Labor & Delivery nurses already have taken the Spinning Babies course, which Money describes as energetic and interactive. “Our nurses are in there sweating like it’s a yoga or Pilates session,” she says. “It’s a physically active care technique that requires judgment and rehearsal.”
By the end of May 2023, all UAB Labor & Delivery nurses will have completed the Spinning Babies course. To help make it part of the culture, Money designated several experts as “super users” who can be called upon for help when needed.
UAB Labor & Delivery nurses see every birth as natural, regardless of the medications chosen or the surgical procedures moms have. Women who want to limit procedures and strive for a vaginal birth may be especially involved with Spinning Baby positions, timing their pushes enthusiastically.
“Sometimes the positions do help mom become inspired and give her every opportunity for safe vaginal delivery,” Money says. “Obstetricians have seen the positive outcomes from Spinning Babies and have called for nurses to implement different strategies in the moment when there is still flexibility for a safe vaginal birth.”
UAB Women & Infants Services leadership visited a group of nurses taking the course to thank them and remind them of the positive impact they would make.
“We are excited to better connect with patients and personalize their birth experience with this technique,” Money says. “I hope expecting moms see our nurses beyond their traditional roles and know that we are on this journey with them in every way possible.”
Click here to learn more about UAB Women & Infants Services.