During pregnancy, the baby can be in numerous positions. It is imperative that the baby is born with a normal position and presentation.  The cephalic position is the normal position of the baby before delivery. This position is when the head of the baby is on the lower part of the mother’s abdomen, facing down. This position leads to a vertex presentation, which will bring the baby out head-first.

What Is The Difference Between Fetal Presentation and Position?

Baby that was delivered despite having an abnormal fetal position and presentationPresentation is the part of the baby’s body that leads to the mother’s birth canal. On the other hand, position is the term used to specify the direction on which the baby is facing vis-à-vis the mother’s spine.

What is Vertex Presentation?

The vertex presentation is the normal kind of delivery. It happens when the head of the baby, the occiput ( this is the anterior position in which part of the head that is at the bottom of the skull) is in an optimal position, wherein its chin is tucked on its chin

However, there are other fetal positions and presentations. In any of those cases, the pregnancy is considered to be abnormal. When the baby’s face comes out first, which results if their chin isn’t tucked into the chest, there is a higher risk of birth injury.

If the position or size of the baby is not within the normal range, the physician must intervene. The physician may perform procedures to manually reposition the fetus or recommend a Caesarean section delivery (C-section). In any case, physician intervention is a must. Otherwise, there could be medical malpractice on his part.

What are Abnormal Presentations?

A presentation is an obstetrical term that tells which part of the fetus is leading. Here are some of the common abnormal presentations.

What are Abnormal Presentations?

A presentation is an obstetrical term that tells which part of the fetus is leading. Here are some of the common abnormal presentations.

  • Limb Presentation

A limb presentation means that during childbirth, the leading part of the baby’s body is either a leg or an arm. It warrants a C-section, and it is important not to pull the leading limb out of the mother.

  • Compound Presentation

Compound presentation is when the baby’s head and arm fetal hand or arm presenting with the head. It can also happen when the mother gives birth to twins, in which case, the head of one baby presents with the extremity of the other.  The risk of this kind of presentation is higher in case of premature delivery, multiple gestations or Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). A mother with a large pelvis or has polyhydramnios are also at high risk of compound presentation.

Worst-case scenarios include the baby getting stuck in the birth canal and cause dystocia. It could lead to more complicated conditions like cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this case, C-section is the safest way of delivering the baby.

  • Breech Presentation

A breech birth happens when during childbirth, the baby’s legs or bottom gets out first instead of the head. Risks include spinal cord fracture, traumatic head injury, and fatality.  Physician intervention is a must when the fetus is in a breech position. Any action must be done with caution, and only when the baby’s heart rate is normal, and it is not in distress.  Giving birth through a C-section is more advisable than through vaginal birth, as this can be harmful to the baby.

  • Brow Presentation

A brow presentation happens when the baby’s head is deflexed, which means that instead of the crown, the baby’s forehead is leading the mother’s birth canal. Complications such as fetal distress, obstructed labor, and facial trauma may arise when the baby is delivered with brow presentation.

  • Face Presentation

Face presentation is when the baby’s neck and head are hyperextended. The baby’s head is not tucked to its chin, therefore making the baby’s face the presenting part during childbirth. In face presentation, the chin may be facing the mother’s front (Mentum Anterior), or the mother’s back (Mentum Posterior), or the side of the birth canal (Mentum Traverse).

Delivering the baby with face presentation can pose some risks like physical trauma, spinal column injury, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and seizures. C-section delivery is recommended, especially when the fetus is in the MP or MT position.

  • Shoulder Presentation or Transverse Lie

When the baby’s shoulder, arm, or trunk of the baby is facing the mother’s birth canal first, it is called a shoulder presentation or a transverse lie. During this presentation, the C-section must be used. Several complications may arise with a shoulder presentation, such as obstructed labor, ruptured uterus, and cord prolapse.

  • Occipitoposterior (OP) Position

The occipitoposterior position (OP) is when the back part of the baby’s head is against the mother’s back. Delivering the baby with this position can pose some risks for the mother, including postpartum hemorrhage.

Problems may also arise for the baby such as a longer stay in the hospital or the possibility of being admitted at the neonatal intensive care unit, and complications such as a prolapsed umbilical cord. The physician must attempt to do a manual rotation quickly and effectively. If unsuccessful, a C-section is advisable for this kind of presentation.

Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer from The Clark Law Office

When you experience abnormal fetal presentation and position, and your baby suffered injuries during labor or after birth, you must contact a skilled attorney who has experience with birth injury cases. Get in touch with the lawyers of The Clark Law Office to discuss your legal options.


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