What Causes Babies to Lie Transverse? – The Truth Behind the Position

  • By: Gian
  • Date: June 8, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

When you’re pregnant, one of the things you worry about is whether your baby’s position is the optimal position. You’ve probably heard a lot about babies lying transverse, but what does that actually mean? And more importantly, what causes babies to settle in a transverse baby position?

Some babies may just lie in a transverse position for no particular reason. Still, there are things like body structure that make this position more likely. In late pregnancy, it is possible to have a problem with the way your pelvis is built that keeps your baby’s head from engaging.

What Is the Transverse Lie Position?

What Is the Transverse Lie Position?

The transverse lie position is a type of fetal lie in which the fetus is lying horizontally across the uterus. In other words, the baby lies across the stomach. This position is also known as the oblique lie or diagonal lie.

The transverse lie position can be further divided into two subtypes: longitudinal and horizontal.

In the longitudinal lie subtype, the fetus is lying longitudinally along the uterus, while in the horizontal subtype, the fetus is lying horizontally across the uterus.

The transverse lie position is relatively rare, occurring in only about 15% of pregnancies. This position can cause complications during childbirth, as the fetus may become stuck in the birth canal.

When babies settle in a transverse lie position, it can make it more difficult for the placenta to attach properly to the uterine wall, which can lead to placental abruption or other problems in the birth canal.

Why Did My Baby Move From Head Down to Transverse?

Why Did My Baby Move From Head Down to Transverse?

There are several reasons why a baby may be in a sideways position or transverse lie.

One reason is that there is an abnormality in the uterus. This can be due to having a cyst or fibroid blocking your cervix. Additionally, placenta previa can also lead to transverse lie position or shoulder presentation.

Another reason for your baby’s shoulder facing the birth canal is that the pelvic structure may not be conducive to a head-down position.

Additionally, polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) or low fluid levels can also cause a transverse lie.

Finally, the position of the placenta can also contribute to a transverse lie.

In a twin pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, or the second twin pregnancy, it is more likely that one or more of the babies will be in a transverse lie from head first presentation.

If you are pregnant and your baby is in a transverse lie, don’t worry. Most babies in this position during early pregnancy have changed fetal presentation when labor begins or early stages of labor on your due date. And besides, there are several things that can be done to encourage the baby to turn into a head-down position. These include exercises, changing your diet, and acupuncture.

Talk to a medical professional or board-certified physicians about what options are best for you and your baby.

How Is Transverse Lie Diagnosed?

In your third trimester or last trimester, around 36 weeks, your midwife will check where your baby is. During the abdominal examination, she may think your baby is transverse if she can’t feel the baby’s head or bottom in your pelvis when she feels your bump. If this is the case, you may be offered a scan to see how your baby is lying.

Additionally, a doctor may perform Leopold’s Maneuvers by placing her hands on the abdomen in a series of movements.

A shoulder may be felt during a vaginal examination. An arm of the fetus may even slip forward and the hand or elbow may be felt during the pelvic examination. This is because there is less room for the fetus to move around when it is lying in the transverse position.

An ultrasound scan of the uterus confirms the transverse lie position. The fetus is seen to be lying horizontally across the uterus.

Once the position is confirmed, medical professionals might attempt to manually rotate by spinning babies into the ideal position for safe delivery. In some cases, babies settle down in a head-down position in the final weeks of pregnancy.

What Is External Cephalic Version?

The external cephalic version is a procedure that turns the baby from a breech position to a vertex position from the outside. This can be done manually by the doctor, or with the help of a machine. Additionally, this procedure is usually tried before an internal cephalic version.

ECV is usually performed between 36 and 38 weeks of pregnancy and has a success rate of around 50-60% based on the latest evidence-based research.

There are some risk factors associated with the procedure, but it is generally considered safe for breech babies. If you are pregnant and your baby is in a breech position, your doctor may recommend an external cephalic version and will offer you professional medical advice.

ECV has a 100% success rate for the transverse position or transverse presentation.

What Are the Risks and Complications of Transverse Position?

Transverse lie position is associated with a number of risks and complications, including:

  • hand or umbilical cord prolapse
  • postpartum hemorrhage
  • birth injury and trauma
  • diminished oxygen supply
  • obstructed labor
  • rupture of the uterus

While most of these complications are rare, they can be serious and even life-threatening. If you’re pregnant and have been diagnosed with a transverse lie position, be sure to discuss all of the risks and complications with your healthcare provider.

While the transverse lie position does carry some risks such as birth injury, it’s important to remember that most pregnancies progress without any problems. With proper prenatal care and monitoring, most women who are pregnant with a transverse baby will go on to have a healthy pregnancy and vaginal delivery.

How Can I Make My Transverse Baby Naturally?

How Can I Make My Transverse Baby Naturally?

Making sure you do squats, pelvic rocks, and child’s poses every day can help get your baby into the right position.

Sitting on an exercise ball can also help move your hips and get your baby into a better fetal position.

You might undergo some diagnostics to check if the position of your baby has improved, the results of which will be medically reviewed by your doctor or medical team.

Sometimes your doctor or healthcare provider may recommend other exercises or positions such as forward-leaning inversion to help get your healthy baby into the correct position.

Additionally, your doctor may recommend Webster technique which is a chiropractic procedure in which a healthcare provider moves a pregnant woman’s hips to allow her uterus to relax. It should be noted that there is no evidence to support this approach.

Can Transverse Lie Harm Baby?

Most of the time, transverse lie does not cause problems during pregnancy. However, in some cases, it may lead to complications such as birth injury.

If your baby is in a transverse position in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, your doctor may be concerned about problems during vaginal delivery. These problems can include stillbirth or a rupture of the uterus (a serious condition that can occur when the uterus tears during childbirth).

Is It Possible to Deliver a Baby in a Transverse Position?

The answer is unfortunately no. If the baby is transverse, it means that it is lying sideways across the mother’s pelvis. Such a position makes it very hard, if not impossible, to have a safe vaginal birth. A baby who is lying sideways can’t get through the vaginal canal or birth canal. There is also a higher chance that the umbilical cord will slip out and that other problems will happen. So it’s important that a baby’s position is confirmed and medically reviewed by your doctor.

The best way to deliver a baby in a transverse position is through a cesarean section (C-section). This is where the doctor makes an incision in the mother’s stomach and uterus and then delivers the baby. A C-section is generally safe, but there are some risks involved. These include infection, bleeding, and blood clots.

Conclusion

There can be several reasons, but some of the most common reasons are an abnormality in the uterus, a pelvic structure that is not conducive to a head-down position, polyhydramnios or low fluid levels, and the position of the placenta. If you are pregnant with twins or multiple pregnancy, it is more likely that one or more of your babies will be in a transverse lie.