Believe it or not, a normal pregnancy isn’t actually nine months – it’s ten! That’s because of the way the pregnancy due date is calculated, which assumes that a woman wasn’t aware of her pregnancy until she missed her period. This calculation adds four weeks to the due date. But here, we’ll look at the month in terms of baby growth and month 9 is the final month of your pregnancy. Baby position matters during that time, but it especially matters during the ninth month, or between weeks 37 and 40.

Nine Month Pregnancy Baby Position

Up until about 34 weeks, your baby is moving all around your belly. He or she has plenty of room to maneuver, so at any ultrasound you might see your baby with the head down, the head up, or even with the head to the side of your belly. But at 34 weeks, space is more limited, and your baby should be settling into the head down position, getting ready for birth. Almost all babies have settled into their birthing positions by week 36. However, spontaneous turning possible at all stages, even during labor.

In most cases, a baby should be in a head down position in month 9 in preparation for labor. In a typical nine month pregnancy, baby position matters because the mother needs all the help she can get in pushing the baby through the birth canal. The bones of the head are soft and flexible, which helps get the baby through the birth canal.

Nine Month Pregnancy Baby Positions Which Are Not Head Down

What if your baby has gone through a normal nine month pregnancy, but baby position is still an issue? It can be possible to turn your baby to a more favorable position. If your baby is not head down, he or she might be breech, or with the bottom down. There is also the ‘footling breech’, which means the baby has one leg down toward the birth canal instead of tucked up toward the head. Though these are more difficult to deal with during labor and delivery, it is possible.

There is another point of positioning that makes a difference: Anterior or posterior. A baby who is anterior has his head pushed against the front of the uterus, ready to put pressure on the cervix to help make labor and delivery easier. But a baby who is in the posterior position, or flipped around so that his head pushes near the spine, is bound to lead to a longer, more painful labor. Many women want to avoid this, understandably so!

How to Help Baby Turn Head Down

Moving your baby to a more suitable position might be possible even at the latest points of a nine month pregnancy. Baby position can be changed by spending time on all fours, as the position encourages the baby to flip. You can also sit properly, in a chair that doesn’t bring your knees up higher than your bottom. Moving around, leaning forward when watching television, and otherwise keeping your pelvis tilted forward are ways to get your baby to move. The following video shows more tips and exercises to get an optimal nine month pregnancy baby position for an easy labor:

Nine Month Pregnancy: Baby, Mom and Tips

These tips can help you through the ninth month of pregnancy.

Week 37

You are still gaining weight, possibly even two pounds per week. That means it is almost time to go to the hospital! Packing a bag early can save you a great deal of worry on the big day. You should pack the bag with things that will make you feel better in the hospital, such as a pretty gown, lip balm, your favorite soap, and maybe a book to read. You will also want to pack a bag for your newborn with all the things you might need for him or her.

Week 38

Are you feeling awful? Most mothers do at this stage, as it can be tough to get all the way to the end of a nine month pregnancy. Baby position is probably set now, so you can start mentally preparing for labor. You can also make sure that bag is packed and you are getting plenty of rest. If you are having a boy, make a decision now on whether or not you want him to be circumcised; this usually happens before you leave the hospital.

Week 39

You are feeling huge right now, and with good reason – your baby is full term! You might be having false labor pains at this point, and it can be tough to tell what is real and what is not. To be sure, time the contractions when you have them. Those that fall into a rhythm of five minutes or less apart, and have a consistent duration (30 seconds or more) might be the start of the real thing. Always be ready to go to the hospital if you aren’t sure.

Week 40

The due date is here! Remember, only five percent of babies are actually born on this particular day. To stay as comfortable as possible, try to sleep often and keep your feet up when you can. If you believe you might be in labor, try not to eat much, or eat very lightly. This can help you avoid nausea and won’t lead to problems if you need interventions during the birth.