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Poised and ready Labor & Delivery

Poised and ready

Some helpful phrases that doc might use to describe baby’s fetal position in the womb.

Over the past few months you’ve felt your acrobatic bundle twist, flip and tumble around inside you, but when delivery draws near, she’ll settle into a stance to get ready for her grand entrance. Usually, your babe will be head down—but not always! Here are the phrases that doc might use to describe baby’s fetal position in the womb.

“Vertex (or cephalic) presentation” means baby’s head is going to be pushed out first, but there are more specific terms depending on which way she’s facing.

“Occiput anterior” (aka facing downward) means baby is headfirst and the back of her head is against your belly. Usually baby’s head will be turned slightly, so your medical care provider might add a “left” or “right” to the phrase. This is the most common and preferred fetal position.

“Occiput posterior” (aka facing upward) means baby is headfirst and the back of her head is closest to your back.

“Breech” means your babe’s head is near the top of the uterus, her rear end is facing the birth canal, and her tiny toes are pointing skyward.

“Complete breech presentation” means the same as standard breech, except baby’s legs will be bent at the knees with her feet tucked down near her bottom.

“Transverse lie” means your wee one is lying sideways, horizontally across your uterus. Her back or her hands and feet will be nearest to the birth canal depending on which way she’s facing.

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