Slide show: Fetal presentation before birth
Illustration of baby lying sideways
Previous Next 6 of 7 Lying sideways

This baby is in a transverse lie — positioned horizontally across the uterus, rather than vertically. In a transverse lie, the baby's back might be positioned:

  • Down, with the back facing the birth canal
  • With one shoulder pointing toward the birth canal
  • Up, with the hands and feet facing the birth canal

Although many babies are sideways early in pregnancy, few remain this way when labor begins.

If your health care provider determines that your baby is in a transverse lie before labor starts, at week 37 of pregnancy he or she will try to rotate the baby by placing his or her hands on your abdomen and applying pressure (external cephalic version). Your baby's health will be evaluated before and after the procedure. If it is not safe for you to have a vaginal delivery, for example, due to the location of your placenta, your health care provider will not recommend an external cephalic version. The procedure is only done in a setting where a C-section is readily available if needed. If active labor has already begun, a C-section is recommended.

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See more Multimedia Aug. 11, 2022