When Does A Baby Turn Its Head Down?

| |

The pregnancy journey is a rollercoaster of emotions, expectations, and, yes, questions. One of the most suspenseful parts revolves around the baby’s position in the womb. But when and why does the baby turn its head down, and what can you do if it doesn’t?

As the weeks of pregnancy progress, especially as you enter the 3rd trimester, these questions gain paramount importance. Let’s dive deep.

When Should Baby Be Head Down

Is My Baby at Risk If It’s in a Breech Position?

Understanding the Breech Position
A breech position means the baby’s buttocks or feet are poised to come out first during birth rather than the head. This position can raise pregnancy concerns, increasing the risk of complications during labor and delivery.

Risks Associated
Some complications include the umbilical cord slipping ahead of the baby (known as cord prolapse) and the baby’s head getting trapped. The American College of Obstetricians often suggests a cesarean section (c-section delivery) for breech babies to ensure patient safety.

Compassion Note
It’s crucial to remember that many babies are in a breech position at some point throughout pregnancy. However, a majority rotate to the head-down position before delivery.

When It Generally Occurs

The Timeline
Most babies shift to the head-down or cephalic presentation by the end of the third trimester. The transformation predominantly happens between the 28th and 34th weeks of pregnancy.

Factors Influencing the Timing
Several aspects, including the amount of amniotic fluid, the baby’s size, and the mother’s anatomical features, play a role in this pivotal fetal movement.

Types of Head-Down Positions

Vertex Presentation
The baby is head down, aligning well for a vaginal birth. This position allows the baby’s head, the most significant part, to lead the way through the birth canal.

Occipito-posterior Position
In this alignment, the baby is head down but facing the mother’s abdomen. Often termed as the posterior position, it might lead to a longer labor and increase the risk of back pain during delivery.

Occiput-anterior Position
In the ideal fetal position for birth, the baby is head down and facing the mother’s spine, making the journey through the birth canal smoother.

Signs and Symptoms That It Has Happened

Physical Indications
Moms might notice a change in the shape of their bellies sense baby movements like kicks higher up near the ribcage and feel reduced pressure on the ribs. Belly mapping can further provide insights into the baby’s position.

Medical Confirmation
Healthcare professionals can employ ultrasound, pregnancy tests, or manual palpation to confirm the baby’s position in the womb.

Read: Pregnancy Miracle Review

Options for Babies That Aren’t Yet Head Down

Natural Methods
Techniques such as pelvic tilts or even the allure of music can sometimes encourage the baby to turn head down.

Medical Procedures
An external cephalic version (ECV) might be recommended if the baby isn’t in the desired position. In ECV, obstetricians and gynecologists gently manipulate the baby from the outside.

Compassion Note
It’s essential not to panic. With professional guidance, several options can lead to a safe preparation for birth.

When Will My Baby Turn Head Down?

General Expectation
A significant chunk of babies turn head-down by the time they hit the end of the third trimester. However, some might take their sweet time, waiting until just before labor begins.

Late Bloomers
Yes, some babies are just fashionably late, not deciding to turn until the onset of labor. But that’s okay; each baby moves at a unique pace.

Why Are Most Babies Head Down?

Nature’s Design
Nature, in its wisdom, has made it such that it’s easier for babies to exit the womb head first. This position ensures they smoothly navigate the curves of the birth canal during a vaginal delivery.

Survival Mechanism
Evolutionarily, the head-down position could be viewed as a survival mechanism. It promotes safety for both mother and baby during the strenuous birth process.

What Can Be Done About It?

Self-care Techniques
Activities such as prenatal exercises, swimming, and yoga can facilitate the baby’s movement, promoting optimal fetal positioning.

Always prioritize regular check-ups and maintain an open line of communication with healthcare providers. They will provide insights on when and how to intervene if the baby is breech or in an oblique lie.

Real-life Example
Lucia, a first-time mom, realized her baby was in a breech position at 36 weeks of pregnancy. With her obstetrician’s guidance, she underwent a successful external cephalic version (ECV), leading her to a hassle-free vaginal birth.

Read our review of Olly Prenatal Vitamins


The position of your baby plays a pivotal role in the birth process. Armed with knowledge and guided by experts, you can navigate this journey with confidence. Remember, every pregnancy is unique, and what’s most important is the health and well-being of both mother and baby. Trust in the process, lean on the expertise of healthcare professionals, and cherish the magical journey of bringing life into the world.

FAQs on Baby’s Position During Pregnancy

  1. How do I know when my baby is turning head down?

    You might notice the baby’s kicks and movements shifting higher toward your ribcage. Physical indicators such as changes in your belly shape or decreased pressure on your ribs can also hint at this. A healthcare provider can also confirm this through manual palpation or an ultrasound.

  2. What week does the baby need to be head down?

    By the start of the third trimester, many babies begin to settle into the head-down, or occiput anterior, position. However, some might not adopt this position until closer to the onset of labor and delivery.

  3. Is it normal for a baby to be head down at 20 weeks?

    While some babies might be head down at 20 weeks, others can be in a transverse lie or breech presentation. The position can frequently change as babies develop and move around in the womb throughout your pregnancy.

  4. Does baby head down mean labor soon?

    Not necessarily. While a baby turning head down is a promising sign for a vaginal birth, it doesn’t mean labor is imminent. Babies can adopt the head-down position weeks before labor commences.

  5. How can I encourage my baby to drop?

    Doing prenatal exercises, maintaining a good posture, and doing pelvic tilts can help. However, discussing with a healthcare provider before trying methods to encourage the baby to change position is always advisable.

  6. What does breech baby feel like?

    A breech presentation often feels like hard, round bulges at the top of the uterus with softer, smaller parts (baby’s legs) lower in the abdomen. There might be more kicks and jabs at the lower part of the belly.

  7. Is a breech baby at 20 weeks bad? Is breech at 20 weeks bad?

    No, it’s not problematic for a baby to breech at 20 weeks. Many babies are breech at this stage, but they often rotate into the head-down position as they grow and fetal development progresses. Only a small percentage remain breech closer to the due date.

  8. Why can’t I sleep on my right side while pregnant?

    Sleeping on the left side is often recommended as it can increase the amount of blood and nutrients reaching the placenta. However, sleeping on the right side isn’t harmful. The primary concern is avoiding sleeping on the back, which can pressure the inferior vena cava, potentially reducing blood flow to the fetus and leading to conditions like placenta previa. It’s best to find a comfortable position and use pillows for support.


About Amy Smith

Amy has honed her writing, editor, and blogger skills for nearly ten years, diving deep into topics ranging from entertainment and beauty to health, lifestyle, parenting, and fashion. Her parenting journey, which began during her pregnancy and now encompasses the challenges of raising a teen and a toddler, has been filled with diverse experiences.

From navigating diaper duties and toddler outbursts to mastering sleep routines and addressing breastfeeding concerns, Amy has faced them head-on. Through her blog, AmyandRose, she offers streamlined guidance for new parents juggling the complexities of child-rearing with life's other demands.

While she doesn't profess to know it all, Amy's real-life experiences make her a relatable guide for those in the throes of parenting.

Leave a Comment

For Educational Purpose Only! For medical advice, consult your physician.

AmyandRose Featured In