Cephalic Presentation: Getting Baby in the Right Position

Cephalic Presentation: Getting Baby in the Right Position

5 Dec 2017 | 8 min Read


Author | 1380 Articles

Pregnancy will let you earn a bag full of experiences. You might be curious regarding the movement of your baby. Your baby might start moving around before you’re 14 weeks pregnant. However, you would not feel anything until the 20th week of pregnancy.

The position of the foetus at the end of pregnancy can reveal how the baby would come out into this world. Babies tend to rotate within the womb throughout the duration of the pregnancy. No prediction can be done regarding what would be the final position when the big day is near.

As your due date gets closer, you might have heard your doctor mention the term ‘cephalic position’ or ‘cephalic presentation’. But what is cephalic position of baby or cephalic meaning in pregnancy? Read on to know more.

What is Cephalic Position / Cephalic Presentation?

A cephalic position of baby or cephalic presentation means that the baby is head down with its legs curled up towards the mother’s ribs. This answers the most important question asked what is cephalic in pregnancy!

Chances of normal delivery in cephalic position is higher and is perhaps the best position for labour.

Other positions like breech (bottom first) and transverse (sideways) mean that you would have a C section delivery. Your doctor will help you with what is best for you and the baby but cephalic is pregnancy is best! Read on about Cephalic position of Baby.

The closer you get to your delivery date, the more important it is that your baby takes the cephalic position

Image Source: pixabay

If your baby’s position is not head down by week 36, your doctor may try to gently nudge the baby into the right position. The closer you get to your delivery date, cephalic foetal position becomes more important.

There are two kinds of cephalic positions:

  • Cephalic occiput anterior: This refers to the position when your baby’s head is down and is facing your back.
  • Cephalic occiput posterior. This refers to the position when your baby’s head is down with their face turned towards your belly. This can make delivery a bit difficult, because the head is wider and is more likely to get stuck. 

Studies show that 5% of cephalic babies take this position.

How To Know If A Baby Is In Cephalic Position?

Rub your hand on your belly and you might be able to feel your baby’s position. You might feel their kicks in the upper stomach if your baby is in the cephalic position. 

On the other hand, if the baby is in the breech position, you might feel their kicks in the lower stomach.

You can also know if your baby is in the anterior position or in the posterior position (cephalic). If your baby is in the anterior position, he/ she might face your back.

You can feel your baby move underneath your ribs. Your belly button could also pop out.

If your baby is in the posterior position, you would usually feel your baby start to kick you in your stomach.

When your baby has its back pressed up against your back, your stomach might look rounded out instead of flat.

A long smooth area is likely your little one’s back, a round hard area will be their head, while bumpy parts are legs and arms. Other curved areas are probably hands, feet or shoulders.

Risks of Cephalic Position of Baby:

Certain conditions like a narrow pelvis of the mother in case of cephalic occiput posterior can increase the risk of complications in such a presentation.

Some babies in the head-first cephalic position might have their heads tilted back. As a result, they move through the birth canal and tend to come out first, leading to preterm deliveries. However, this is rare.

Chances Of Normal Delivery In Cephalic Presentation

Almost 95% of babies get delivered in a cephalic position placing their head-first face. Because it gets easier to come out easily during the delivery. Thus, the cephalic position is regarded to be the best for delivery.

Advantages Of Cephalic Presentation In Pregnancy

A professional team performs the cephalic delivery with the help of a labour and delivery nurse. Now let’s get to know about the several benefits of performing a cephalic position during pregnancy.

  1. The cephalic position is the best and safest way for giving birth to a newborn as the baby is positioned head-down and facing the back during the delivery.
  2. The cephalic posture is used to help the infant move through the delivery canal as easily and safely as possible.
  3. A ‘cephalic presentation’ increases the chances of a smooth birth.

When Does A Foetus Get Into The Cephalic Position?

During the 32nd to 36th weeks of pregnancy, most infants settle into this position. However, there is no chance that your baby will shift position after 33 weeks if he or she is in a cephalic position.

Cephalic Presentation Boy Or Girl?

According to reports, having an anterior placenta suggests you’re expecting a girl while having a posterior placenta means you’re expecting a boy.

What Are The Other Baby Positions?

Other positions of the baby are breech (bottom-down) and transverse (sideways) position.

A breech baby can cause complications. This is because the birth canal has to open wider if your baby’s bottom comes out first. Their legs or arms can get tangled up a bit as they slide out.

Transverse position refers to the sideways position where your baby is lying horizontally across your stomach. Some babies start like this close to your due date but shift into the cephalic position.

How To Turn A Breech Baby Into Cephalic Position?

While the baby is still in the uterus, ECV (External Cephalic Version) is one approach to shift it from breech to head down. The doctor will apply pressure on your tummy in order to flip the baby from the outside. They also do ultrasonography in such situations. ECV can affect many women who are pregnant normally.

How Do You Know What Position Your Baby Is In?

Your doctor can find out your baby’s position by-

(Image Caption: You can find out the position of your baby by touching your belly and feeling their movements.) | Image Source: pixabay

How Can You Tell Your Baby’s Position?

Your baby would likely drop into a cephalic (head-down) position by weeks 37 to 40 of your pregnancy. This strategic positional change of the unborn is called “lightning.”

You might feel a heavy or full sensation in your lower stomach.  That’s the baby’s head! A milestone for you indeed!

Did you know that you can also guess what position your baby is in by feeling their little feet practising their soccer kick.

If your baby is in a breech (bottom-first) position, you might feel the kick in your lower stomach.

Can Your Baby Be Turned?

You can feel your baby by stroking your belly and your baby feels you right back. Sometimes stroking or tapping your stomach over the baby can make them move.

There are some methods for turning a baby, like inversions or yoga positions.

Can My Healthcare Provider Turn Or Reposition My Baby Before Birth?

Doctors use a technique, external cephalic version (ECV) to get a breech baby into cephalic position. This includes massaging and pushing on your belly to nudge your baby in the right direction.

Medications that help your muscles to relax can also help turn your baby.

Despite being in the cephalic position, your baby might not face the right way. Your doctor can sometimes reach through the vagina during labour to help gently turn the baby the other way.

If you are pregnant with multiples, your babies can change positions even during birth as the space in your womb opens up.

How Can I Prepare for Complications Like A Breech Delivery?

If the baby is in the breech position at 37 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor might:

  • Try turning your baby into the head-first position.
  • Plan a vaginal breech birth.
  • Plan a c-section birth.


When Should A Baby Be In A Cephalic Position?

Your baby would likely naturally drop into a cephalic position between weeks 37 to 40 of your pregnancy.

Is Cephalic Position Safe?

Research shows that 95% of the babies take the cephalic position a few weeks or days before their due date. It is considered to be the safest position. It ensures a smooth birthing process.

While most of the babies are in cephalic position at delivery, this is not always the case. If you have a breech baby, you can discuss the available options for delivery with your doctor.

Does cephalic presentation mean labour is near?

Head down is the ideal position for your baby within your uterus during birth. This is known as the cephalic position. This posture allows your baby to pass through the delivery canal more easily and safely. About 97% of births go through cephalic presentation.

Can babies change from cephalic to breech?

The external cephalic version (ECV) is the most frequent procedure for turning a breech infant. Around 37 weeks of pregnancy, your healthcare professional will do it. This surgery is performed in the hospital during an emergency.

How can I keep my baby in a cephalic position?

However, it is natural if your baby gets into a cephalic position, but if you want your baby in this position only, you can do some sort of exercises to get your baby’s position in labour or in cephalic position. Exercises such as breech tilt, forward-leaning position (spinning babies programme), cat and camel pose.











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