Pregnancy: What you need to know about your baby’s position in your uterus

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Pregnancy: What you need to know about your baby’s position in your uterus
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During pregnancy your baby does not stay still inside your uterus.  It moves and changes position and gets itself comfortable while waiting on the day it decides to make it’s entrance into the world.  However some of the positions your baby can adopt can cause risks when giving birth.  Here is a brief look at what you need to know about the most common positions that babies adopt in the uterus.

Anterior position

position anté

The anterior position is the most ideal position for your baby to adopt.  In the last month of pregnancy, babies often gets themselves into a position where their head is pointed down and their face looks towards their mother’s belly.  In this position the baby’s head can press onto the cervix which can help when the birthing day arrives. This common position often reduces the risk of complications when giving birth.

Posterior position


This position is also known as the “back to back” position.  Once settled in this position the baby finds it difficult to bend their neck to pass through the pelvis.  If your baby is in this position there could be some problems while giving birth as it will make it longer and more tiring.  The baby is more likely to get into this position if the mother has been in seated or in a lying down position for a long time.
What’s more when the fetus is in the posterior position the mother can have strong back pains.  This is because the weight of the baby is orientated towards the mother’s bottom and back bone.

Transverse lie position


This is when the baby lies in a horizontal position in the uterus.  When the fetus takes this position it is often only temporary as they don’t like it.  However a baby can stay like this which is when a cesarean procedure would be necessary when giving birth. If there is not a cesarean delivery there is a risk of an umbilical cord prolapse.  In other words the umbilical cord is delivered before the baby which squeezes it.  If this happens the baby’s life is put at great risk. This is why a umbilical cord prolapse is an obstetrics emergency.

The three breech positions


These three positions are the most common when a baby decides to get itself into a breech position. When the baby is in a breech position it stays straight with it’s head high (much too proud) and doesn’t lower itself into the mother’s pelvis.

  • Frank breech: straight, raised legs and the feet near to the face;
  • Complete breech: seated cross-legged and feet close to the bottom;
  • Footling breech:  The baby places one foot (rarely two) at the opening of the pelvis.  If the baby is in this position when giving birth it is the foot that will be delivered first.

How to know what position your baby is in?

Midwives and doctors check each month the position of the fetus.  At the 35th or 36th week appointment they will check whether the baby is in the anterior or posterior position.  If they are unable to determine the position of the baby they will do an ultrasound scan.  However a mother can tell what position their baby is getting into as they can feel it taping, moving and getting into position.

If the baby is not in the right position on the 36th week, the doctor and / or midwife will move the child by applying sufficient pressure with their hands so it can move.

Do not panic if you feel your baby change postilion. A fetus moves a lot, especially the first time. If you are really concerned, contact a professional for reassurance and advice on how to proceed


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