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Malposition of Vertex (Baby's Head Turned in Wrong Position for Delivery)

What is malposition of vertex?

Malposition of vertex means that your baby's head is facing toward your belly rather than your back. During normal labor your baby's head should turn so that the face is toward your back. If the baby’s head does not turn, it makes it harder for your baby to get through the birth canal, and labor can take longer.

What is the cause?

The baby’s head may not turn because:

  • Your contractions are not strong enough to help your baby turn his or her head to the proper position.
  • Your pelvic bones are shaped in a way that makes it hard for your baby’s head to be in the right position.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • You may have a lot of back pain.
  • Your labor may be longer and more tiring.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will check the baby’s position by examining you. Your provider may feel your belly or do a vaginal exam. You may have an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to show pictures of the baby.

How is it treated?

There are several ways to help you and your baby:

  • You may be asked to change position to help your baby to turn. For example, you might try lying on your side or with your knees against your chest.
  • You may be given medicine to make your contractions stronger. This may help your baby's head turn.
  • When your healthcare provider can see the baby's head in the birth canal, your provider may try to turn the baby's head with his or her hands.
  • Your healthcare provider may use forceps to gently pull the baby's head down. Forceps are an instrument used to grab and hold your baby's head while your provider guides the baby out of the birth canal.
  • Your provider may place a plastic or metal cup on the baby’s head and use a kind of vacuum to pull gently on your baby's head during a contraction while you are pushing.

Your baby may need to be delivered by C-section (an operation that delivers your baby through a cut in your belly and uterus) if:

  • A forceps or vacuum delivery doesn’t work or would be too dangerous for the baby.
  • Your baby is too big to pass through your pelvis.

How can I take care of myself?

  • Stay calm and follow your healthcare provider’s directions.
  • It may help to use the breathing and relaxation techniques taught in prenatal classes.

What can be done to help prevent malposition of vertex?

There is no general way to prevent malposition of vertex. Regular prenatal visits may help your healthcare provider detect problems ahead of time.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-06-03
Last reviewed: 2014-06-03
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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