Prenatal Care (Check-ups during Pregnancy) 77
To check whether the baby is healthy, a midwife may listen
for the baby’s heartbeat. It may be possible to hear it by
putting one ear against the woman’s abdomen, but often you
cannot tell the baby’s heartbeat apart from the mother’s. It is
easier with a fetoscope. Another sign the baby is healthy is if
the mother feels the baby move every day, and if she has felt it
move on the day of the check-up.
Checking the baby’s position
During pregnancy, it is common for a baby to change position several times in
the womb. By the end of the pregnancy, the baby should be lying in the womb
with its head down. This is the best position for birth. To make sure the baby is
head down, feel for the head like this:
1. Have the mother
breathe out all
the way. Using
both hands, feel
With the thumb
and 2 fingers,
push in here,
just above the
feel the top of
The baby’s bottom is
larger and wider...
...and its head is
So bottom up
2. Push gently from side to side,
first with one hand, then with the
other. At the same time, feel what
happens to the baby’s body with
the other hand as you push.
If the baby’s
buttocks are pushed
gently sideways, the
baby’s whole body
will also move.
But if the head
is pushed gently
sideways, it will bend
at the neck and the
back will not move.
3. Just before birth, a baby will move
lower in the womb to get ready for
birth. So, late in pregnancy, you may
not be able to feel the baby’s head
If the baby is still high
in the womb, you can
move the head a little.
But if it has already
moved lower, you
cannot move it.
A woman’s first baby
sometimes moves lower about 2 weeks before
labor begins. Second or later babies often do
not do this until labor starts.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012