Fetal presentation is determined by the part or pole of the fetus that first enters the pelvic inlet.
“The term Fetal presentation refers to the part of your baby’s body that is closest to the birth canal.”
There are three main presentations.
- Cephalic (head first)
- Breech (pelvis first)
- Shoulder (shoulder)
The presenting part is the specific fetal structure lying nearest to the cervix. It is determined by the attitude or posture of the fetus. Each presenting part has an identified denominator or reference point that is used to describe the fetal position in the pelvis.
The occipital fontanel is the presenting part, and this presentation is referred to as a vertex or occiput presentation.
- The presenting part is the head
- This accounts for 95% of all births
- The degree of flexion or extension of the head and neck further classifies cephalic presentations.
- Vertex presentation indicates that the head is sharply flexed and the chin is touching the thorax. The denominator is the occiput.
- Fortnum or brow presentation indicates partial extension of the neck with the brow as the presenting part. The denominator is the Fortnum.
- Face presentation indicates that the neck is sharply extended and the back of the head (occiput) is arching to the fetal back. The denominator is the mentum-chin.
The presenting part is the buttock and/or feet.(Bottom part of the body closest to the birth canal.)
Breech presentations are further classified into-
- Complete breech- Is when both of the baby’s knees are bent and his feet and bottom are closest to the birth canal.(Complete flexion of thighs and legs)
- Frank breech- Is when the baby’s legs are folded flat up against his head and his bottom is closest to the birth canal. (Complete flexion of the thighs and the legs extending over the anterior surfaces of the body.)
- Footling breech- (Where one or both feet are presenting) Extension of one or both thighs and legs so that one or both feet are presenting.
If the baby is transverse, he is lying horizontally in the uterus. The doctor may try to manually turn him into a head-down position, but a cesarean section is usually needed.
- The presenting part is usually the shoulder.
- This usually is associated with a transverse lie.
The fetus assumes a unique posture usually with the arm or hand presenting alongside the present