We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Cephalic Presentation?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In obstetrics, the term “cephalic presentation” is used to describe a situation in which the baby is delivered head first. This delivery presentation is the safest and most common. Abnormal presentations such as a breech, in which the buttocks or feet come out first, can be dangerous, and may require intervention in the form of a caesarian section for delivery. As a pregnancy progresses into the later stages, a doctor can check on the position of the fetus to make sure that it is lining up properly for delivery.

The natural tendency is for the fetus to fall into a cephalic presentation, usually one in which the crown of the head is delivered first. The shape of the uterus is designed in such a way that this position is promoted as the most natural one for the fetus to move into as it grows larger and space become limited. However, the baby may lie in various ways with a cephalic presentation, and some of them can be dangerous for the baby or the mother. Having the baby come out brow first, for example, can make for a difficult delivery.

The fetus begins to move into position for delivery before the mother goes into labor. If a doctor suspects that a fetus is not moving into the cephalic presentation, she or he may make suggestions which are intended to turn or move the baby into position. Fetal ultrasound can be used to see if the fetus is in the right place, and obstetricians can also tell with palpation. This can also be used to determine if the baby is in an awkward position, but still in a cephalic presentation, to plan ahead for delivery.

Presentations can become complicated when a woman is carrying multiples. This is one of the many reasons that multiples are regarded as a potentially high risk pregnancy. If the doctor suspects that the presentation of a singleton or multiple pregnancy is too risky, a recommendation for a cesarean section may be made. This can be done out of concern for the baby or the mother, and very rapid intervention is available if a delivery starts to go wrong.

The vast majorities of pregnancies end up in a cephalic presentation. The small fraction that do not can be dealt with in a variety of ways. Different doctors or midwives may have different recommendations for handling breech and other positions during labor and delivery.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By SalmonRiver — On May 22, 2011

@Matis- My second child had what is called malpresentation. He was head down, but presenting brow first. I ended up having a long labor. The doctor almost had to take me into surgery for a c-section, but I managed to deliver without one. We had some complications but my son is healthy as can be now.

By andromeda — On May 19, 2011

@Matis- My mom likes to tell the story of how she was a breech birth. She came out bottom first. This was over 50 years ago. C-sections were not so common. My Grandma doesn’t care to discuss the details, but my mom came out fine with no injury or abnormal stress. I bet that was one heck of a delivery! I wonder whether you can use assistive devices to deliver a breech baby. It’s hard to picture how a vacuum would work in that scenario. My grandparents were very happy there was no injury to my mom during birth.

By Matis — On May 17, 2011

I was lucky. When I delivered my daughter, we ended up with cephalic presentation. Labor and delivery are hard enough when everything goes well. I had a medically perfect delivery. It’s still no walk in the park! Has anyone delivered a baby who was not in the right position without c-section?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.