Pelvic shapes and birth
How the 4 pelvic shapes may have an impact on vaginal birth.

Anatomy influences what happens in pregnancy and childbirth. According to Spinning Babies, the bones are held together by flexible tendons which become even more mobile during pregnancy. The shape of the pelvis may affect childbirth, but the individual’s anatomy as well as the positioning and size of the baby’s head can also affect how the baby will be delivered.

Four pelvic shapes

Although a doctor is most equipped to advise you on your particular body, pregnancy and child birth, you may be interested to know that there are four distinct pelvic shapes, and these may have an impact on child birth. Here are the four shapes and the impacts (if any) on vaginal birth:

•    Gynaecoid pelvis: this is considered the most suitable female pelvic shape for childbirth as it has a rounded pelvic inlet and, shallow pelvic cavity and short, dull ischial spines. The  roundish brim encourages foetal rotation. The pubic arch is at 90 degrees or wider and, according to Healthline, this is the most common type of female pelvis. Nearly half of Caucasian females have this pelvic shape.

•    Android pelvis: around a quarter of all women have an android pelvic shape. It’s described as heart-shaped, with prominent ischial spines and a narrow pubic arch. Taller women, as well as women of African-Caribbean descent are more likely to have an android pelvic shape. This shape makes childbirth slightly more difficult and women in in labour may have to walk more often, push harder and are often assisted in childbirth with some form of instrumentation.

•    Anthropoid pelvis: this pelvic shape has an oval shape and is wider from front to back than from side to side. As it is roomier at the back, the baby may be born face up. The buttock muscles appear longer from top to bottom than the rounder buttocks of a gynaecoid pelvis. It is said to be more common for breech babies who don’t flip.

•    Platypelloid pelvis: the pelvis is wider than the other pelvic shapes, and has a kidney-shaped opening and a shallow pelvic cavity. The baby’s head does not engage with this shape with ease, but once engaged labour should progress normally, although the engagement period means that labour may be longer.

Info via: Medicotips, Healthline, Spinning Babies[images available on these sites]

Read more on childbirth and pregnancy:

A midwife’s labour tips

Second stage of labour

Help pregnancy aches and pains

Vacuum extraction

Hip pain

3 amazing breech birth videos

Plan your Caesarean birth

Print it: birth plan

“I’m afraid of tearing during birth”

See a baby born: galleries and videos of different births [GRAPHIC]

Always consult your doctor or midwife before planning your birth.

Have you made a birth plan yet?

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