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Baby’s Position in your Uterus

Giving birth is a dynamic process where you and your baby work together to help baby make its way out and having your baby in an optimal position can make your labour and birth more straightforward. Your baby moves around in your womb throughout pregnancy but towards the end of pregnancy tends to settle in a single position.
First of all, it’s good to note the position your baby is in as it relates to your pelvis. This illustration shows a number of different positions a baby can take.

Babys position in your uterus

The majority of babies are in a head-down (occiput) position at the end of pregnancy, while about 3-5% are bum (or feet) down (breech). A tiny number (about 1 in 300) are lying sideways (transverse) at birth.

Head-down (occiput) positioning
When baby’s head is down and it is facing your back or your left or right hip, its position is optimal for vaginal birth. Baby will move but will usually choose a side that it favours most when it comes to its position in your pelvis (left or right).

Sunny-side up (posterior) positioning
This position is becoming more common since we are spending more time sitting, especially on soft surfaces. It’s interesting that while many babies begin labour being posterior, as labour progresses, they move and only about one in twenty babies are still posterior at birth. Labours with babies who are posterior are often called “back labours” as they involve a lot more pressure on your back and are generally slower and more challenging. There are many things you can do to help your baby choose a better position.

Breech positioning
Breech is a variation of normal positions for babies to be born in. Unfortunately, not many younger midwives or doctors have experience assisting vaginal breech birth (especially without medical intervention). Many prefer these babies be born by caesarean, even though vaginal breech birth is just as safe as caesarean breech birth and that many women find vaginal breech birth to be a good experience. You can seek out a healthcare provider with experience in vaginal breech birth, there may well be some in your area.
There are different types of breech - complete breech is shown in the illustration, Frank breech (the most common type of breech) is when the baby’s bum is over the cervix and its legs are straight up towards its face, footling breech is when one or both of baby’s feet are over the cervix directly.
You can talk to your midwife or doctor about your particular baby’s position.

Transverse positioning
Transverse is a very uncommon position but can happen. Unfortunately, babies who are in this position cannot be born vaginally and if the baby does not move by the end of pregnancy, a caesarean is usually scheduled.
Baby’s position changes throughout pregnancy, even in the last weeks. There is no rush to schedule a caesarean just because baby’s position isn’t optimal. There are also many things you can do to help baby shift to head-down. Vaginal breech birth is also an option with some midwives and at some hospitals - ask around and see what is available in your area.

How can I figure out my baby’s position?
Learning some basics about how to feel your belly and find your baby’s body parts can be a great way to bond with your baby and be aware of where it is in your belly, and you can feel this most easily from about 34 weeks onwards.
Usually, the biggest “bump” you feel on your belly is the baby’s bum and hips. Its legs can be either in front, behind, left or right of that position. Observe where you feel baby’s kicks and wiggles - strong kicks usually come from baby’s legs and knees, while wiggles are usually baby’s arms and elbows. Depending on where your placenta is, you may feel your baby differently, especially if your placenta is in front (anterior).
Based on this, try to visualise where baby is in your uterus. You can also ask your midwife or doctor to palpate (feel) your belly and explain to you where the baby’s arms, legs and bum are and give you a chance to feel them yourself. That way you can check this against your own feelings and observations.

Turning a breech baby
Although breech is a variation of normal, in many settings it means your only option for birth is caesarean section. There are many noninvasive things you can do to try to turn a breech baby and avoid a caesarean. Exercises and positions you can try are available on websites like Some other things you can try include:
• Playing familiar sounds at a comfortable volume around the lower part of your uterus, encouraging baby to move towards them
• Shining a light at the lower part of your uterus, encouraging baby to move towards it
• Putting a cold pack at your fundus, encouraging your baby to move towards the warmer bottom part of your uterus (put a cloth over your belly and on top put a cold pack for about twenty minutes, once or twice a day)
• Acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments may also help, just make sure to find a skilled and experienced practitioner. A medical option is external version, where a doctor or midwife uses an ultrasound to check baby’s position and then use their hands to gently encourage baby to move. This procedure is safe and works for two-thirds of women.