Abnormal Fetal Position and Presentation

As it relates to pregnancy and childbirth, the terms position and presentation are sometimes used interchangeably, but they mean two different things. Presentation refers to the part of the baby’s body that is pointing toward the birth canal. Position refers to whether the baby is facing toward the mother’s spine or belly button.

A normal fetal position and presentation is with the baby facing rearward with the crown of the head pointing down. However, several abnormal positions are also possible. Determining fetal position Mullica Hill NJ is necessary to assess for possible complications and decide whether a cesarean section is necessary to deliver the baby.

Transverse Lie

A transverse lie occurs when the baby is lying sideways in the womb across the opening of the birth canal. If a transverse lie is not detected prior to labor, it causes the baby’s shoulders to present first instead of the head. A transverse lie almost always requires a cesarean section to deliver the baby safely.

Breech Presentation

A breech presentation occurs when the baby is pointed rear-first toward the birth canal rather than head first. “Breech” is an archaic term for the buttocks, which are the part that present first in this scenario. There are actually several different types of breech presentation. For example, a complete breech occurs when the baby’s knees are flexed, while the knees are extended in a frank breech. A footling breech occurs when the baby is pointed rear-down and one or both feet present first during delivery. Collectively, breech presentations are the second-most commonly occurring abnormal presentation, affecting 3% to 4% of all full-term deliveries.

Occiput Posterior Presentation

Also known as “sunny-side up,” this is the most common abnormal fetal presentation. The occiput is a prominence on the back of the skull, and an occiput posterior presentation occurs when the baby’s occiput is facing toward the back of the uterus and the mother’s spine.

A cesarean section is sometimes performed for an occiput posterior presentation. However, because the baby is positioned correctly, sometimes forceps or vacuum-assisted extraction are sufficient to guide the baby through the birth canal.

Virginia Ray