3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Your Baby Position

Your Baby Position

The position of your baby in the uterus can affect the labour and birth. Until 36 weeks of pregnancy, this is irrelevant because he may still change position. By 36 weeks of pregnancy most babies will be head down (vertex) ready for labour, but a few still move around, frequently changing their position. This is known technically as an unstable lie.

Occiput anterior

Your baby will probably be facing your back, with his back slightly to one side of your abdomen. This position is described as occiput anterior (OA; the occiput is the back of the baby's head). This is the ideal position for a baby to pass through the pelvis and the majority of babies adopt this position. If the baby's back is on the right side, his position is said to be right occipital anterior (ROA) while, if it is on the left, it is said to be left occipital anterior (LOA).

Occiput posterior

If your baby is lying with his back against your back, facing your abdomen, this is called an occiput posterior {OP) position. However, only about 5 per cent of these babies fail to move into an OA position. If your baby is one of this 5 per cent, it does not mean that you cannot have a vaginal birth. However, labour may take longer, you may have backache and you are more likely to need an assisted delivery.


A breech position is when your baby's buttocks are facing down and his head is under your ribs. His legs may be tucked up (frank breech) or he may have one or both legs pointing down (footling breech). If your baby is breech, you may be offered an external cephalic version (ECV) at about 37 weeks. This is where the obstetrician manipulates your abdomen to try to turn the baby around.

Transverse lie

If your baby has head towards your left or right side, this is known as a transverse lie. Unless he turns you will need a caesarean.

Unstable lie

A baby that keeps changing position after 37 weeks is referred to as an unstable lie. Labour may be induced while he has his head down.


To encourage your baby to get into the best position for labour, try the following: