11.1  Finding the baby’s position in the uterus

The position of the baby in the uterus is known as the fetal lie. The purpose of finding the fetal lie is to identify whether there are any danger signs that could make labour and delivery difficult and put the mother and baby at risk.

Healthy signs

  • There is only one baby in the uterus.
  • The baby is head down at the time of birth.

Warning signs

  • The baby is feet or bottom down at the time of birth.
  • The baby is lying sideways at the time of birth.
  • The mother has twins or triplets. You already know how to listen for two fetal heartbeats (Study Session 10).

There are two methods for finding the baby’s position — feeling the mother’s abdomen (palpation), and listening (auscultation) to where the fetal heartbeat is strongest. You may need to use both methods to be sure of the position of the baby.

Auscultation is pronounced ‘oss kool tay shun’.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 11

11.2  Feeling the mother’s abdomen