Week 39 Ultrasound: What It Would Look Like
You might have discussed your delivery plans with your health care provider already, but much of this plan depends on whether your baby is in the proper position for delivery. Your provider might request an ultrasound during these final weeks to confirm your baby's positioning, gestational age, or any number of factors that could influence how and when you deliver your baby.
At this point your baby should be positioned with his head down and moving down further into the pelvis. For some mothers, there is a noticeable difference when the baby descends, often called "lightening." You might find that you can breathe more easily since your baby isn't as close to your rib cage, but you will also have to go to the bathroom more frequently, as the baby's weight rests on your bladder.
Plus, baby is so tightly packed inside your womb that he's literally shoving and kicking your organs to make space for himself. Luckily, it usually doesn't matter how big your baby is because his head can elongate and mold to your birth canal. This may make him a bit cone-headed and comical looking at birth, but never mind. His head will soon shape up to be just as lovely as the rest of him approximately 24 hours after delivery.
Some unborn babies are positioned in the uterus with their bottoms facing downward. Called breech presentation, there are different kinds of breech positions. If the baby has his legs crossed, almost as if he's sitting in your pelvis, it's called a complete breach. A "frank" breech describes when the baby is facing bottom down with his feet pulled up against his shoulders. The more unusual breech position, footling, is when one or both of the baby's feet face down and into the pelvis.
Your provider might not be able to reposition your baby before delivery. If the baby stays bottom down, your provider will often recommend that you deliver via cesarean section.
Terms to Know
Frank breech: When the unborn baby's bottom is positioned in the mother's pelvis with his legs going toward his shoulders in the weeks before birth. The proper birthing position is with the head facing downward.
Footling breech: A rare breech presentation, in which the baby's feet are in the expectant woman's pelvis in the weeks before birth.
Important Information About Your Pregnancy
Images courtesy of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM.org).