Presenting Baby: Birth Presentation
Running Out of Room: Ready For Labor
The incredible experience of feeling the baby turning and twisting and even flipping around in the womb which occurs in the second trimester takes on a different feel closer to the time of delivery. As the baby grows, space within the womb is at a premium and movement is difficult for the baby. Somehow the baby figures out where he's most comfortable and settles in for the final countdown: most of the time this happens around the seventh month for first-time mothers and slightly later for women who have given birth previously. In about 95 percent of births, the baby is in the head-down position for birth. Most frequently they position themselves on the left at the mother's back. It's important that the baby is not lying sideways, in a transversal position, but is in vertical alignment with its head down.
Fetal Descent Stations
Birth presentation, or Fetal Descent Stations in technical terms, is the name given to the position the baby is in at the time he moves into the birth canal. However, babies can change position several times before labor actually begins. In some of the 5 percent of fetal malpresentations, where the baby presents in a difficult position, if the doctor fails to help the baby reposition, a caesarean section may be required to deliver the baby. There are a variety of reasons for difficult presentations, including restriction in movement caused by either an abundance of or a lack of amniotic fluid or a womb that is too narrow at the top to accommodate the baby's rump and legs. Often, once a baby is in a breech position, there's just not enough room to turn around again and with a premature birth, the baby may not have even had time to turn at all.
Most Common Birth Presentations
The most common delivery position is the Cephalic or Vertex Presentation, where the baby is lying vertically with his end engaged in the basin and legs and rump at the top end of the uterus. This position usually ends up in a normal vaginal delivery. The Seated or Full Breech position finds the baby virtually sitting in the basin of the uterus. The baby is vertical with legs folded and head is in the upper part of the uterus. It is still possible to deliver vaginally in this position unless there are problems with the umbilical cord. The Frank Breech position is similar to the Full Breech position except that the baby's legs are straight up rather than bent - like a jack knife.
And, The Not-So-Common Birth Presentations
There are a variety of other malpresentations which can create difficulty in delivery, but are less common than the breech position. Among these is the very rare Transverse position where the first part of the body to present itself is the shoulder. In this case, a caesarean section is required. Modern medicine and skilled obstetricians/gynecologists have reduced the risk of delivering difficult presentations, making the birthing process safer than ever before.