When the baby is still relatively small, before about 32 weeks, she has room to change positions frequently. After this most babies settle into their preferred position, and it’s important to know what it is, since this can profoundly affect the birth.
This is the best position for birth, and more than 95 per cent of babies naturally adopt it before labour. If your baby’s back is facing your abdomen, this is called occiput anterior; if her back is turned towards your spine, this is called occiput posterior. This position can cause severe backache during labour.
As many as 4 per cent of babies settle bottom or feet first. This is known as a breech presentation. There are small but significant, risks to the vaginal birth of a breech baby, especially for first babies, and some doctors will only deliver breech babies by Caesarian. However, you can carry out exercises to move the baby into a head-down position.
Less than 1 percent of babies are positioned across the uterus. This is known as a transverse or oblique lie, and it makes a normal vaginal birth impossible. It is sometimes possible to change these positions using the breech tilt after 32 weeks and external version after 37 weeks.