Risks and Danger Signs during Pregnancy 75
Baby in the wrong position when labor starts
If the baby is buttocks first (breech) when labor starts, the
birth can be more difficult. If the baby is lying sideways when
labor starts, the baby cannot be born without an operation. (Turn
the page to learn how to check the baby’s position.)
➤ If the baby’s head
is down, the birth is
more likely to go well.
Positions that cause difficult or dangerous births
Baby with buttocks
If the baby’s head
is up, the birth may
be more difficult.
It may be safer for
the mother to give
birth in a hospital.
Baby lying sideways
If the baby is lying
sideways, the mother
should give birth in a
hospital. She and the
baby are in danger. A
baby that stays sideways
cannot be born without
During the last month of
pregnancy, it may be possible
to change the baby’s position
by lying in this position for
10 minutes, 2 times a day:
Lie on the floor with pillows under
the hips. Try to get the hips higher
Do this exercise every day with an empty stomach, until
the baby changes to a head-down position and then stop. The
baby’s position should be checked each week.
• If labor starts and the baby is still sideways, the mother
must go to a health center or hospital where the baby’s
position can be changed, or where she can have an
operation. Without medical help, the mother and her baby
will almost certainly die.
• If labor starts and the baby is still buttocks first, see page 90.
IMPORTANT DO NOT try to change the baby’s position by hand
yourself unless you have been trained to do it and have done it before
successfully. You can tear the womb and harm both the mother and the baby.
If labor starts too early (before the 8th or 9th month)
Some babies born too early might not live. A woman may be able to slow or
stop labor by lying in bed with her hips raised, and resting until the labor stops (see
the picture above). If she can go to a hospital, they may be able to stop the labor.
Even if they cannot stop the labor, they can sometimes keep the baby alive. (Also
see page 94 for how to care for a baby born too early.)
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012