Your baby is not as still and calm in the womb as you think—they keep moving, kicking, and shifting positions. Wide awake or deep asleep, they continue discovering every nook and corner of their abode.
It takes skill to precisely determine the position your baby is lying in. A trained doctor or midwife will surely keep your informed which side does the baby’s head lie and where is their bottom—they can find that by merely touching and feeling your belly.
However, there is no magic trick involved—you too can determine the position of your baby by yourself. You just have to know where exactly to press your hands against your belly and feel them.
Empty your bladder, lie on your back and relax. Carefully sense your baby’s kicks and try to locate the area on the belly where you feel most of the kicks.
1. If your baby’s head is downwards and their back is facing the front of your belly, you will feel the kicks under your ribs. Your belly or navel will appear protruding. This is called anterior position and is considered optimal for birth.
2. If you feel the kicks towards the front of your bump and your belly appears slightly flat at the center, your baby is probably facing front. This means their back is against your back. This is called posterior position.
3. Touch the top of your belly and push it slightly. If it is your baby’s bottom, you may feel soft and uneven shapes. You may also sense the baby doesn’t move easily when you put gentle pressure.
4. If you feel a lump, hard and round that is comparatively movable, you are probably feeling your baby’s head—which is upwards near the ribs while the legs are downwards.
5. Baby hiccups and kicking can also give a hint of their position. If you feel your baby’s hiccups in the upper abdomen above the belly button, they are in head-up position. Feeling your baby’s kicks below the belly button indicates that the legs are upwards and the head is down. This means they have certainly escaped the breech position.
6. Experiencing slight pain in the upper abdominal area or near the rib, towards the later part of the pregnancy is an indication that the baby’s head is close under the ribs—which is a breech position.
7. Gently press on the sides of the belly with your hands and alternate the pressure with each hand. If you feel a long and soft continuity in the shape on one side, you just found the position of your baby’s back.
If you feel irregular lumps on the other side, you are probably touching your baby’s hands and feet.
If this is the case, the baby is facing towards the mother’s back—again a proper position for birth.
8. You can even detect your baby’s heartbeat at home using a simple and tiny instrument called fetal stethoscope. Though it is out of use in today’s medical practice, it can still work well to detect your little one’s heartbeat.
Putting it simply, if you detect the baby’s heartbeat in the lower area of the belly, the baby is facing downward. If the fetal stethoscope detects the heartbeat above the belly button or almost in level with it, the baby’s head is upwards and it is a breech position.
Don’t have to worry about your baby’s position if they are facing head up. Almost 97% of babies figure out the right position of birth and shift with head downwards by the 37th> week of pregnancy. Some even correct their position when the labor starts and before the mother reaches the pushing stage. Yet, if this concerns you, find out about ways to turn a breech baby.