25/03/2010 21:46 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

A: What Is The Anterior Position?

The anterior position is the optimum position for a baby to be in during childbirth.

A baby in the anterior position will be head-down, with the back of its head and neck against the woman's tummy. The majority of babies will move into this position towards the end of pregnancy.

If the baby is in the anterior position, the woman's labour is usually shorter, easier and less likely to result in an assisted birth with ventouse or forceps.

This is because, in this position, the baby fits snugly into the curve of the woman's pelvis. Additionally, as labour progresses, the baby will tuck its head into its chest, forming a curved and rounded shape.

In turn, this rounded shape places even pressure on the neck of the cervix during each contraction, causing it to dilate efficiently and release the hormones that are required to keep the labour progressing.

When the time comes to push, the baby will be at the best angle possible to navigate the natural curves of the woman's pelvis as this tucked-in, curved position minimises the risk of obstruction from the baby's chin, arms or hands.

Additionally, the widest part of the baby's head will eventually move into the widest part of the woman's pelvis, allowing the rest of the body to slip under the pubic bone and into the world.

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