Your Unique Female Pelvis
I had the opportunity to attend an interesting midwifery class discussing the 4 different female pelvic shapes. Each woman is endowed with her own unique shape – variations of these 4.
The midwife giving the discussion was quite experienced in recognizing pelvises. It was funny how she could identify whether a woman had an Android, a Platypelloid, Anthropoid,or a Gynecoid pelvic shape based on how she walked and moved.
The take away from the discussion was encouragement! A woman can successfully birth a baby with whatever type of pelvis she possesses. The midwife further demonstrated optimal positions most women naturally chose to birth in with each kind of pelvis.
Your pelvis and your care provider
In the medical model of care – very different from the midwifery model of care – women are sometimes given discouraging news about their pelvic shapes and sizes. Care providers say things such as, “Your pelvis is too narrow; therefore, you will most likely not be able to give birth to your baby vaginally.” These sentiments are all too common and seriously undermine a woman’s confidence in her ability to birth her baby.
One of the beautiful features of the female pelvis is its design to widen up to 25% greater than its original size to accommodate the passage of a baby. This is where utilizing different positions including the squatting position comes in handy.
Are you relaxin?
A little play on words goes a long way in labor when it comes to pelvises. Relaxing IS important during labor, but here we are talking about the amazing hormone your body produces during pregnancy called relaxin!
Have you ever wondered why you feel a bit wobbly during pregnancy? It’s relaxin! Remember the 25% extra movement mentioned in earlier paragraph? That is what relaxin does. It relaxes your joints and connective tissue to allow for this extra space. It’s an amazing design!
What women need to hear is that they are specially designed to give birth. They are not broken in need of being fixed.
Your Body is not Broken
With this being said, there are known instances where the pelvis is rendered unable to give birth due to serious injuries and/or malnutrition such as rickets. These problems do not, however, represent the vast majority of women and their very capable pelvises even in third world countries.
How is it that so many women have been able to successfully give birth with their pelvises for as long as humankind has existed, but suddenly women in our modern times are told they are broken?
Unfortunately, it has to do with the fact that birth in the medical model of care has become so managed in general that it is expected to be efficient and quick. When a care provider feels birth is not progressing in a timely manner, usually they are meaning in their desired time, they are apt to intervene.
There are instances when there is a legitimate need for intervention. Emergencies do happen. This is why every model of care utilizes different forms of monitoring during labor and birth. These scenarios are not the norm, though.
What’s a pelvis shape to do?
Has your care provider talked with you about your pelvis shape or size? Do they believe in your body’s ability to birth your baby? Pelvis shapes are interesting to learn about. It may be helpful information for positioning during labor, but we remember that every woman’s pelvis shape and size (barring malformation from disease or injury), has in history opened up to give birth just as your body has opened up to grow your baby!
If you would like more information on pelvis shapes and sizes, here are a couple of links to get you started: