How to Tell If Baby Is Head Down

Baby’s Position: How to Tell If Your Baby Is Head Down

Pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, can be incredibly tired all the time!

Third Trimester

What with all the changes taking place inside your body and all the strangers offering well-meaning, sometimes overwhelming advice. The problem with this is no two pregnancies are the same, which means there is no such thing as a correct or definitive answer.

A common question from expectant moms is "how to tell if baby is head down?" It’s an important one because this position means your child is ready to make his or her grand entrance into the world.

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There are a few signs that will help locate where your baby’s head is. But usually, depending on you and your child, it’s between 28 and 32 weeks, otherwise at 36 weeks and for some moms, it only happens a few minutes before labor begins.

And then there are those cases where babies didn't turn down at all!

Before we look at the signs that baby is head down, we’re going to tell you why this particular position helps with labor.


Why Baby Being Head Down Help with Labor?

Why Baby Being Head Down Help with Labor

With baby in the head down position, labor is likely to be easier and possibly quicker because they fit into the curve of your pelvis. This helps in many ways, including:

  • There is more pressure on the neck of your cervix, which will widen it and produce the necessary hormones needed during labor.
  • Baby moves through the pelvis at an angle and with him being head down makes it easier for you to push him out.
  • When baby reaches the bottom of your pelvis, he will naturally turn his head a little, which means your child’s head is in the widest part of your pelvis. In this position, his head will slip under your pubic bone.

How to Tell If Baby Is Head Down

It’s important to remember that your baby is very active in the womb and his position might change several times, even while you’re in labor.

Although an ultrasound can tell you where your baby is located, you can also do belly mapping yourself to work this out. It’s not an essential thing to learn or do, but it will leave you feeling empowered, which is never a bad thing.

If you can feel a lump nearer the top of your belly, push gently on it. Signs that baby is head down include:

  • If you press gently near your pubic bone and feel something round and hard, it’s your baby’s head. Also, try to wiggle it, and if there are only a few movements, your child is head down. However, if you feel something soft and round, that’s usually your baby’s bottom.
  • If you feel your baby’s hiccups lower in your belly, then the baby is head down.
  • Butterflies down low and good old kicks up high is a good sign your baby is head down. The fluttery feeling is her fingers and hands while the kicks are baby’s feet and even knees.
  • If you don’t feel extreme abdominal pain close to your ribs or under them, then your baby is head down.
  • Ask your partner to listen to your baby’s heartbeat. If the heartbeat is low in your belly, your child is head down.

Two Common Presentations of Your Baby 

Presentation​ is the position of a fetus in relation to the cervix when you deliver your baby:

1. Cephalic or Head-First Presentation: baby is head down and facing your back. This is considered to be the best (and most common, about 97%) birthing position.

2. Breech or Feet-First Presentation: if your baby is in this position (about 3%), most of the time, you have to give birth by cesarean section (C-section) for your safety.

Learn more at medlineplus.gov


What You Can Do to Help Your Baby Turn

If you realize baby isn’t head down, don’t panic!

Sometimes, stress and tension can hold your baby in positions that aren’t ideal. Also, you don’t want to stress the baby out while he’s in the womb. A chiropractor can help as well as a prenatal massage.

There is also a high chance he’ll turn during labor, but if you want to put your mind at ease, there are other things to do to get baby in the best position and keep him there. The good news is most are just good habits to adopt anyhow.

  • Don’t do, or avoid doing squatting of any kind.
  • Try this exercise:
  • While still in this position, gently sway your hips. This will almost "dislodge" the baby.
  • Try and crawl around on hands and knees as much as possible and we don’t mean for a couple of minutes. You need to do it regularly for half an hour or more. It’s also good exercise so put on some music and do the carpet shuffle.
  • Whatever you do, don’t put your feet up while lying back. This will encourage baby going into the posterior position.
  • Swim belly-down, but don’t do "froggy legs." You can use breast stroke arms but kick with straight legs.
  • As uncomfortable as it might feel, try and sleep on your tummy, and use cushions and pillows for support.
  • There are other exercises to try to get baby to turn, but we always suggest checking on the suitability of these with your doctor, gynecologist or midwife first.

Everything Will Be Fine!

Keep Calm and Everything Will Be Fine

​Remember, most of the time (more than 95%), your baby is head down. Even in case you have a breech baby, it's not the end of the world! Instead of worrying, enjoy the last few weeks of your pregnancy. Chances are you'll miss it when it's gone.

If you want to share your story about this, feel free to comment below.​

About the Author Amy Duncan

Amy Duncan is the founder of KindMommy, a blog where she's providing helpful information about pregnancy and many useful tips for young parents. Besides writing, Amy loves to cook and travel with her friends and family. You can also find Amy on Twitter (@AmyKindmommy).

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