My daughter in law went on to deliver a lovely boy, but during the latter stages of her pregnancy she did have considerable amount of pain in her back. Having no other option, she had to opt for a C section as the baby was in a situation of sunny side up delivery. Most women would have heard the term breach berth but the sunny side position is the main abnormal position for the baby.

In medical terms it is referred to as OP position or occiput Posterior. The head of the baby is down, but it is turned in the wrong way. The occiput that is the back part of the head, is posterior so the face of the baby is pressed against the public bone. It becomes hard for the baby to extend out their head from the public bone. In such cases, labour can be long, difficult and painful.

Happy crawling baby. Side view

How to be away of the OP position?

A lot of studies have been conducted on the OP position, what it denotes in terms of delivery and how to prevent it. Here is what the studies have to indicate

  • OP happens to a common position in the starting stages of labour, which occurs in 30 % of the pregnancies
  • Most babies are expected to return to the normal position before delivery. Only a small fraction of babies has persistent OP
  • If you have persistent OP, it will lead to longer labour, emergency C section or assisted delivery. Studies indicate that in 20 to 30 % of babies having persistent OP, C section is the only option
  • The chances of having a persistent OP is higher during the first pregnancy. The risk works out to be around 7 %

What is to be done if the baby has OP?

The options for managing a baby with OP apart from a C section is assisted delivery. This may include vacuum or assisted delivery attempting manual rotation of the baby via the birth canal or maternal posturing. This is a technique of posturing, where you assume a position on the knees or hands, with the back stretched out and the chest leaning forward. This form of posture reduces back pain, but there is no evidence to point out that posture contributes to OP position.

The good news is that once you are clear about what is sunny side up, and the baby is in such a position before delivery they are bound to get into the correct position before the delivery happens. It is pretty nice if posturing works in favour of the odds, but till now it has been of no help.

Seek the expert advice of your healthcare service provider on what their experience has been dealing with OP position babies. You can discuss with them the options of delivery if the baby is in sunny side up. The more you know that it is going to happen, the better prepared you will be at mental or physical level.