Chapter 8: Prenatal checkups
Is the baby vertical?
Most babies are vertical by the 7th month.
To find out if the baby is vertical,
lay one hand flat on each side of the
belly. Press in gently but firmly, first
with one hand, and then with the
Check the shape carefully. Do the
ends of the baby seem to be in the
mother’s sides? If so, the baby is probably
lying sideways. Many babies lie sideways in
the first months but most turn head down
by 8 months or so. Babies cannot be born
through the vagina from the sideways
position. A baby that is sideways and
cannot be turned when labor starts must
be born by cesarean surgery in a hospital
(see page 96). If the baby is sideways
after 8 months, get medical help.
head or bottom
head and bottom
on the sides
It can be difficult to feel the position of the baby if the mother has very strong
muscles on her belly, or if she has a lot of fat on her belly. If you have a hard time
feeling the position, ask the mother to take a deep breath and let it out slowly, and
to relax her body as you feel.
Is the baby facing the mother’s front or her back?
Next, feel the mother’s belly for a large, hard shape (the baby’s back). If you
cannot feel the baby’s back, feel for a lot of small lumps.
A large, hard shape
probably means the baby
is facing the mother’s back.
If you feel a lot of small lumps instead of a large hard
shape, you are probably feeling the arms and legs.
The baby is probably facing the mother’s front.
If the baby
is facing the
see page 190.
A Book for Midwives (2010)