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How to Understand Fetal Presentation

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Fetal presentation refers to the part of the fetus that is felt at the cervix during a vaginal exam. Fetal presentation is important to note because it can determine if a vaginal delivery is an option.

There are three types of presentation possibilities: breech, vertex and transverse. The following steps will help you to understand each type of presentation.

 

How to Understand Fetal Presentation

Fetal Presentation

1. The first type of presentation is called the vertex presentation.

This means that the baby’s head can be felt during a vaginal exam. This type of presentation is common in 96 percent of pregnancies. Unless other factors are present, your doctor or midwife will allow labor to progress with a vertex presentation.

 

2. The second type of presentation is called the breech presentation.

Breech presentation is commonly known as buttocks first, but there are many variations of breech presentations. Some doctors and midwives will allow a mother to attempt labor with a breech, but few may agree to actually deliver a breech baby.

 

3. The third type of presentation is called the transverse presentation.

A transverse presentation means that the shoulder is generally felt during a vaginal exam. If your baby is still in a transverse position when you go into labor or during a late exam (past 38 weeks), your doctor will want to do a cesarean section.

If you are planning to deliver at home with a midwife, you will have to transport to a hospital if things do not change. You cannot deliver a transverse baby vaginally.

 

4. If you have either a breech or a transverse baby, talk to your doctor about things you can do to try and encourage your baby to turn around.

 

5. Presentation can usually be felt through abdominal palpation, but if it cannot be clearly determined and you are near your due date, you should have an ultrasound.

 

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