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 a Transverse Presentation?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 20, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek 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 WiseGeek, 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.

Transverse presentation or transverse lie describes the position of a baby in utero when it is lying sideways, horizontally across the uterus. This is opposed to the head down position many babies assume a few weeks before birth or the more complicated rear down position of a child in breech. In both cases, the baby is vertical and a vaginal birth is an option. A fetus might be in any of these positions, including transverse presentation, for months before the end of pregnancy, but at point of birth, transverse lie usually necessitates a c-section. Vaginal birth is generally thought not survivable or possible unless the fetus can be turned.

There are many potential reasons why transverse presentation may occur, though it not a very common occurrence. A pre-term birth may sometimes involve this presentation because the baby has simply not had adequate time to move into the head down position. Placental previa, where the placenta is low in the uterus, may alter the baby’s positioning and is more likely to cause transverse lie. Sometimes a malformation of the uterus, or any type of unusual dividing wall in it can restrict movement and inhibit the fetus from turning.

A multiple pregnancy is sometimes associated with greater risk of transverse presentation of the second or higher order multiple babies. Large amounts of amniotic fluid increase the risk for this condition. Having weakened abdominal muscles may also make it easier for a fetus to present in transverse lie.

Positioning of the baby or babies toward the end of pregnancy is carefully noted during prenatal examinations. If a pregnancy is near its end and a baby is in transverse presentation, doctors may attempt to turn the baby, unless there is clear indication this will not work. When preterm or regular labor occurs spontaneously, attempts might be made in the early part of labor to turn the baby too, but if these attempts are not successful, c-section delivery is very important.

There is risk to the baby’s muscular and skeletal system from transverse presentation, and in many cases, the baby simply cannot fully enter the birth canal if it is vertical. Additional risks include complications like the umbilical cord prolapsing and depriving the fetus of oxygen, long before birth would occur. With access to a qualified medical facility, these complications of a transverse lie presentation can be avoided, and most full-term babies in this position are delivered healthy via c-section. Where there is no access to medical care, the situation is perilous, mostly for the fetus. A suspected transverse presentation is best treated with sophisticated medical intervention to provide better outcomes for the mother and child.

WiseGeek 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.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

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

WiseGeek, in your inbox

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