Feature image from UMCHEALTH
I have had a transverse baby for a long time. I am currently at 36 weeks and our baby has been transverse for at least the last two months.
A few people have asked me what it feels like to have a transverse baby. As this is my first experience with the third trimester, I have nothing to compare these feelings to. It just feels normal to me. But I will try and break it down so it makes a little sense for people who are unfamiliar with the feeling of a transverse baby.
There is probably a lot more fear surrounding my pregnancy than most. I am scared and I know my doctors are starting to get a little scared too. A baby in the transverse position is undeliverable. It’s as simple as that.
A baby laying transverse cannot come through the birth canal unless it turns. Therefore, if my baby remains in the transverse position it will need to be born via C Section.
So what is a transverse lie — A transverse lie is where the baby is positioned horizontally across the uterus, rather than vertically. In a transverse lie, the baby’s back might be positioned down, with one shoulder pointing toward the birth canal, or up, with the hands and feet facing the birth canal. Although many babies lie sideways early in pregnancy, few babies begin labour in this position.
Labour rarely engages naturally with this position, as the weight of the baby never pushes down on the cervix to begin dilation. This also gives me a great sense of unease as I don’t know what is going to happen. I wont go into labour even if I am ready.
It is hard to lay on my side, it is actually more comfortable to sleep on my back as the weight of the end on both sides (bum and head balance each other out) but I know it is bad for me. Sleeping on my side has other challenges as the baby tries to dive sideways out of my into the mattress! Yikes.
I know pregnant women get very little sleep in the end, but this is next level nonsense. I have an elaborate pillow set up around me and my husband no longer fits in our bed.
Apart from a bigger tummy area, I don’t ‘look’ pregnant. I don’t walk like a pregnant person or stand like a pregnant person. I don’t sit in a strange way or fidget around while seated.When I sit down my hips don’t hurt because there is no pressure from the baby.
When I sit among pregnant women at our Adult Education class, I realise just how different I am. I did not wriggle around or need a cushion or a bean bag. I just sat on my chair like I would have 9 months ago.
Our baby is quite high out of my pelvis, keeping the weight off my pelvic floor muscles. I imagine this baby feels a lot lighter than other babies as there if no downward pressure from a head or bottom in the pelvis. On the up side, I have not suffered from a leaky bladder or bowel problems. Yay.
‘Where do you feel most of the kicks?” My doctors always ask. The answer is I don’t. I don’t get kicks. I get nudges; very very strong nudges, like the baby is fully stretching out inside me, trying to make more room. I don’ really feel any kicks – At all. But I can feel flutters, hickups, pressure and a slight turning. The movements are consistent with what I have always felt, so I am not concerned with the lack of ‘kicks’.
Another mother writes, “Mine will stretch out and I can feel him on both sides it feels like he’s going to break through the skin!”
Wearing Maternity Clothes
As you can see from the image, with a transverse baby there is no part of the baby right down in my pelvis. This means I have not really stretched there or put on much weight in the lower part of my tummy.
With a transverse baby at 36 weeks, I still fit into the same jeans I was wearing 9 months ago! That is a bonus for my bank account because I have been spending a lot of money on coffee and cakes this last week.
Everyone thinks I’m having a girl
According to old wives and their long tales, when a baby is transverse, they sit high. This means that everyone I walk past tells me, “It’s a girl!”
From about 20 weeks my fundal height has measured a little shorter than normal, as the baby is growing side ways not up and down.
As my uterus is growing in a strange shape, it’s hurting.
I complained of pain early on in my pregnancy and was dismissed by almost everyone I told as a ‘welcome to the pains of being a mother,’ type response.
But I was too scared to sound like a whinger, so I stayed quiet for longer than I should.
I know now that I was right to have complained. A transverse baby can really fucking hurt. They grow in an abnormal way and they stretch the uterus out in ways it was never meant to be stretched.
My ligaments are stretched in strange ways, my ribs are tight, by lungs are cramped and my body is actually hurting – but when I tell pregnant women they kind of don’t really give a crap. I need to vent to another Trans mother!
Manipulating the Position of the Baby
If you have a transverse baby, like I do, your health care provider might try to rotate the baby manually by placing his or her hands on your abdomen, then pushing or lifting (external version).
Options to fix a transverse baby are controversial. Many people will suggest turning the baby – But there is a school of thought that the baby is cleaver, and is in the best possible position it can find. So there is an arguement to leaving the baby exactly where it is for reasons we cannt know. To support this argument, many babies that are successfully turned will return to the orginal position shortly after.
At 36 weeks, I was still carrying a transverse baby. I was booked in to have an external version on my transverse baby, but never made it to the appointment. I gave birth instead.
I was so lucky and unfortunate because my baby turned from being transverse to footling breech – then labour engaged naturally and I had a spontaneous (emergency) vaginal birth instead. It was all very fast and exciting and terrifying.