What does posterior position mean?

Q: My friend's baby was in the posterior position and she said it made her labor longer. What does that mean?

A: The posterior position (or occiput posterior position) means that the baby is faceup, or "sunny side up," instead of facedown, so the hardest part of her head rests near your lower back instead of your belly. This position often results in a longer labor, since the head has to rotate further during labor in order to be born. It can also cause intense back pain during labor for Mom. The majority of babies turn on their own during labor and wind up being born facedown. If your baby doesn't, your doctor might try to rotate the baby manually. If that doesn't work -- and your labor goes on for too long and starts to pose a threat to your baby's health -- your doctor may decide to do a c-section.

Copyright 2009

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