Undeniably, one of the coolest things about pregnancy is feeling the baby move in your belly, and knowing there's a little human inside of you that only you can feel, touch, and care for right now. Sometimes it feels really neat, and sometimes it can actually be really uncomfortable. It can also be really educational as well, as you can often tell the baby's position merely from feeling. Why midwives are great at this and doctors think they need machines, I'll never know.
It's easiest toward the end when it seems like baby wants to burst through the skin, like in this video:
Crazy, isn't it? One of the comments on a video like this said, "Now I'm scared! Why do I have to be a girl?!" It made me laugh. Sometimes it is painful, but often, this kind of thing is just neat.
So what are some things to feel for if you want to determine a little more about baby?
1. Follow the hiccups. When you feel hiccups, which feel like rhythmic little spasms, where are they? This can be an easy way to judge where baby's head is.
2. Get a stethoscope and find the heartbeat. Just keep the baby's anatomy in mind, and even remember which side of the body the heart is on, and you can often get a good idea of how baby is laying, even which direction baby is facing.
3. Smooth or bumpy? If baby is pushing with arms, knees, and feet against your belly, you know that baby is facing "sunny-side up." Try employing some techniques to get baby to turn her back to the front if you're getting into your third trimester.
4. Butt or head? If you feel a lump at the top of the belly, try gently pushing down on it. If it's baby's hiney, you'll move the whole baby. If it's his head, his neck will flex and just his head will move.
Ask your midwife or a nurse midwife to help you feel different body parts. Amazingly, very practiced midwives are often even better at feeling baby for possible weight this way as well. Don't worry if baby isn't in the prime head down, spine forward position -- even so late in the game as labor, babies can flip. There are plenty of techniques to help turn babies, and breech babies can be delivered vaginally in most cases.
Can you feel your baby's position through your belly?
Image via polywogy69/Flickr