How to Tell If a Baby is Head Down? Important Note

Pregnancy is one of the greatest things that all women always want to happen to them. Women always get so excited when they learn that they are pregnant. It’s a feeling that makes you want to tell the whole world about your pregnancy. But do you know that the position of your baby during pregnancy matters?

baby during pregnancy

Your baby needs to be in the best position, especially towards the last weeks of pregnancy for a smooth delivery. During the first stages of pregnancy, it's okay for the baby to be in any position but towards the end of gestation the baby should be in the right position.

During prenatal care, your doctor should access the position of your baby.

What Is The Best Baby Position?


When your doctor tells you that your baby is head down with her face facing your back, then all is well mama. This position is the best since it shows that the baby is ready to be born. Sometimes other babies might have different ideas and assume different positions some of which will cause a lot of labour pains and problems to the mother. Words like anterior, posterior and breech will be used by your doctor to describe your baby’s position.

Positions A Baby Might Be In

Anterior Position

Anterior position

This is the right position that your baby should be in. This is when she is head down while her face is facing your back. The head will make the cervix open up by pressing on it leading to a smooth and safe delivery.

Posterior Position

Posterior position


In this position, the baby will be head down while the face is facing the mother’s stomach. Around ten percent of babies are always in this position during the first weeks of pregnancy but will turn themselves to face the right direction at the last stages of pregnancy. Some may choose not to rotate at all which may subject the mother to prolonged pain.




This is where the baby’s head is up while the feet are first. This will make delivery very difficult since the baby’s feet will come first making her be at risk of birth defects.

How Can I Tell If A Baby Is Head Down?

As your pregnancy progresses, it becomes easier to determine the position that your baby is in by watching out for these signs.

  • If you start feeling kicks close to your ribs, it will mean that your baby is head down while facing your back. This means that the baby is in the anterior position that is good for both of you.
  • If your belly pops out especially around the navel area, then it also means that the baby is in the anterior position.
  • If the kicks are felt at the front of your tummy, then the baby is head down but this time while facing your stomach. This means the baby is in the posterior position. Your belly appearing slightly flatter may also mean that the baby is in the posterior position.
  • If during the later stages of pregnancy, you feel extreme pain in your rib and abdomen, then the baby is head up or in a breech position.

Other Ways You Can Use To Tell If The Baby Is Head Down

  • You can have someone monitor the position of the baby’s heartbeat by listening on your belly. If the heartbeat is low in the belly, then the baby is head down. When the baby is head up, the heartbeat will be felt above the belly button.
  • Do you know that unborn babies do have hiccups too? Well, now you know in case you didn’t. Listening to the baby’s hiccups can also help you to tell whether they are head up or head down. You can have your partner or a friend listen for your baby’s hiccups. The baby is head down if the hiccups are heard from the lower belly. If the hiccups are heard higher up the belly, then the chances are high that your baby is head up.

Apart from the above ways of determining a baby’s position in utero, there is also this technique that mothers can use to determine the position of their baby. This technique is called belly mapping.

Using Belly Mapping To Tell Whether The Baby Is Head Down Or Not?

This is a process that contains three steps that mamas can use to determine their babies’ position especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Belly mapping helps a mother to determine the baby’s parts hence making it easy to establish the position in the womb.

To do belly marking you will need a non-toxic marker and something like a doll with head and limbs. Having a doll will help you visualize your baby. Using the marker, you can divide your belly into four quadrants.

Belly mapping


After that, determine where the baby’s head is at. You can do this by touching your belly gently until you feel a hard lump of a bowl’s size. This is the baby’s head. Once you do this, locating the baby’s hands and arms will be easy since they are located next to the head.

Next, you can locate the heartbeat using a fetoscope. This will help you know where the baby’s back is since the heart is part of the back. Once you have pinpointed the heartbeat, touch that area gently with your hands. If you feel a long hard mass which is the back, then it means the baby is in the anterior position. If you feel a soft lump, this is probably the baby’s belly which means that the baby is in the posterior position.

Next, map the doll prop in positions based on your head and back locations to visualize the position that the baby is in a while inside the womb. You can then draw the position that the baby is in and there you have it!

Finally, once you have established the baby's head position, you can visit the doctor in case your findings indicate that your baby is in a position that is not the anterior position. Being head down is not enough since for a safe and smooth delivery; your baby does not only need to be head down but should also be facing your back.

Belly mapping

Any other position, be it posterior or breech, should be reported to your doctor or midwife early enough so that the baby can be moved to the right position. If you are also not sure about your findings, you can go for physical examinations or ultrasound.

Should your baby be in a position that is not ideal, you can reposition them and make them turn in the right direction. This can even be done in the eleventh hour. Hence you should not panic when you realize that your baby has chosen a different position for herself.

As a mother, immediately your pregnancy hits 30 weeks, checking the baby's position should be part of your hobby since I know you don't want to go through a long, painful labour or deliver through C-section.

I hope that with this article, as a mom-to- be you will be able to have fun while determining which position your baby is in at any given moment.

Kristi Cathey

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi Cathey and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I am a mother of 3 beautiful angels. This blog was created in order to share my personal experiences in baby care and general health care for pregnant women. If you'd like to get in touch with me, please contact me by sending me an email via Welcome to

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