Cephalic meaning - in or relating to the head.
Cephalic presentation means the delivery is more likely to be normal.
A baby’s position at the end of pregnancy can reveal a lot as to how the baby is going to come out into this world. Such surprises keep the obstetricians and midwives alert in the labor room. Babies tend to rotate within the womb throughout the duration of the pregnancy and there can be no prediction as to what will be the final position when the due date is near.
Is cephalic presentation safe?
In obstetric terms, presentation means the position of the delivery within the uterus at the time of childbirth. The way a baby is facing can help determine whether the delivery will go smoothly or create problems for the mother and baby. At the end of 37 weeks, the development of the baby is nearly complete and is now ready to make an appearance. There are many presentations in which the baby lies within the uterus e.g. breech, brow, shoulder, etc. At your doctor’s office in the later stages of pregnancy, your doctor might tell you that your baby is cephalic meaning the head is down. Or she could also say that your baby is in cephalic position which again means the same i.e the baby’s head is first.
What is cephalic presentation?
The baby’s head is the largest part of its body; hence when a baby is delivered head first, the rest of the body follows smoothly as the biggest hurdle has already cleared the narrow delivery passage of the vaginal canal hassle free. When the baby lies within the uterus with its head facing the birth canal, it is called as cephalic presentation or baby is in cephalic position. In the cephalic presentation the head will be the first part to be seen when labor begins and the bag of waters breaks open. A cephalic presentation means the baby’s head is placed head down with its legs curled up towards the mother’s ribs. This is the most ideal position for a normal vaginal delivery as the head is placed well within the pelvis, it will have no trouble coming out.
This is the position that nature tries to achieve with every baby in the womb.
In some cases, the head may be facing upwards near the mother’s chest instead of facing down. In this case it is called as cephalic posterior presentation. This position makes it difficult for the doctors to deliver the child normally. Certain conditions like a narrow pelvis of the mother may increase the risk of complications in such a presentation.
In many cases, no intervention is required to deliver the baby in the cephalic position. But if labor does not progress as expected despite adequate contractions, the head can be rotated manually or with forceps to facilitate a normal delivery. If this procedure too fails, a caesarean section may be required.
To know more about cephalic presentation, watch this video.
Source: MOM - GTS
Many babies with other presentations like breech, brow and face presentations have been delivered normally. Many factors affect the presentation of the baby which can be manipulated to allow the baby to move into a more favorable position. However, in certain cases, a C section may be inevitable. Shoulder and breech presentations present medical challenges and commonly need diversion to a C section delivery.
Here is a video explaining a breech delivery.
Source: Axon Medical Animation
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
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