Pregnancy guide > Labour and birth > Giving birth > The lie, presentation and attitude of your baby

The lie, presentation and attitude of your baby

Advice on the position of a baby's spine in relation to the mother (foetal lie), the first part of the baby that appears in the birth canal (presentation) and the position of the baby's head during delivery (attitude)explained.
The foetal lie is the position of the baby's spine in relation to the mother's at the time of delivery.

The presentation of your baby refers to the part of the baby that appears first in the birth canal. The typical presentation of a baby during delivery is the crown of the headfirst. However there are several variations of each position including:

A breech birth which happens when a baby is born feet, knees or buttocks first. In the category of breech births, there are several positions a baby could take. These include Frank breech, complete breech, incomplete breech, footling and double footling. In the position of Frank breech, the baby is in a "V" position. The buttocks and pelvis are in the birth canal but the legs are flexed up over the baby's body. Complete breech is when the baby is sitting "Indian style," and incomplete breech is when the baby is sitting "Indian style" with one of the legs or feet dangling down. A footling position is when one of the feet is extended down toward the birth canal, and double footling is when both feet are extended down so that the first thing into the birth canal is the feet.

The attitude component of birth presentation refers to the position of the baby's head during delivery. The normal position of the baby's head should be in a chin-to-chest position, with the baby's face slightly downward as if attempting to touch the chin to the chest. When the head is at an angle as though the baby is looking up and the head is hyper-extended, it is called a face presentation, because the baby's face will present itself before the rest of the head. A brow presentation occurs when the baby's head is in a position that is between a face presentation and a cephalic presentation.

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