Brow presentation refers to a specific birthing position where the baby’s head is tipped back in the uterus, pushing the brow or forehead first into the birth canal. This is considered an abnormal fetal position. It is challenging for delivery since the baby’s head is in its largest diameter, often leading to a longer labor or requiring a cesarean section.

Key Takeaways

  1. Brow presentation is an uncommon and complicated presentation during childbirth where the baby’s brow, the area between the forehead and hairline, is the leading part in the birth canal.
  2. It considerably reduces the chances of a normal vaginal delivery due to the larger diameter of the fetal head presented, often leading to a cesarean section to ensure the safety of the mother and child.
  3. Diagnosis can be accomplished through a clinical pelvic exam or ultrasound scan, and it is crucial to manage it promptly and correctly to avoid potential complications for both the mother and baby.


Brow presentation is a term used in obstetrics to refer to a specific fetal positioning during labor where the baby’s forehead, rather than the back or top of the head, is the leading edge in the birth canal.

This presentation is crucial in maternal healthcare as it is associated with several complications during childbirth.

The abnormal posture can make it difficult for the baby to pass through the birth canal, leading to prolonged labor, potential distress for the baby, and increased risk of cesarean delivery or instrumental vaginal delivery.

Thus, healthcare providers consider the term “Brow presentation” significant as it helps them assess the progression of labor and plan appropriate interventions to ensure the safety of both mother and child.


The term “brow presentation” is commonly used in the field of obstetrics to describe a particular type of fetal position during childbirth. This refers to a mid-way point in the labor and delivery process when the baby’s head is bent backwards, with the largest part of the head presenting first, and the brow being the highest point in relation to the birth canal.

This could occur naturally or be a transitional stage while the baby’s head is moving into a better position for birth. Despite not being an ideal position for a conventional vaginal birth, brow presentation serves a significant function in drawing attention to possible issues that might need addressing.

Particularly, it’s an indicator that the baby might not be positioned optimally for a smooth birthing process. It prompts medical practitioners to continually monitor the labor closely and decide on the best birth method to minimize risk factors.

While it isn’t a common situation, happening in just one of about 1400 pregnancies, understanding the term allows medical professionals to quickly address and manage it, ensuring the safety of both mother and baby.

Examples of Brow presentation

“Brow presentation” is a term used in obstetrics to refer to a specific fetal positioning during childbirth, where the largest diameter of the baby’s head (from the brow to the back of the head) is presenting. This is a rare and irregular position that can result in complicated, prolonged labor or require interventions like a Cesarean section. Here are three real-world examples:

Example 1: A woman in her 30s was going through labor for her third child. Previously, she had smooth vaginal deliveries. However, this time, labor wasn’t progressing as expected. Upon examination, the obstetrician found that the baby was in brow presentation, causing the delay and difficulties in labor. The doctor decided to perform a cesarean section to prevent any risks for both mother and baby.

Example 2: A first-time mum in her early 20s arrived at hospital with her labor well underway. After a routine examination, the midwife discovered that her baby was in brow presentation. Since the cervix was fully dilated and considering the baby’s size and mother’s pelvic measurements, the medical team opted for a manual rotation intervention to assist in changing the baby’s position.

Example 3: During a routine prenatal appointment, an obstetrician noticed that the baby seemed to be in an atypical position. Upon further investigation using ultrasound, the baby was found to be in a brow presentation. Observations continued over the next weeks and the baby shifted on its own to the more common vertex presentation assuring a safer delivery process. Each of these examples involves a baby in brow presentation, but the intervention required differs based on individual circumstances. In all cases, the health of the mother and baby was the primary concern, as it is in any childbirth situation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Brow Presentation

1. What is a brow presentation?

The brow presentation in childbirth refers to a situation where the baby’s head is flexed in such a manner that its brow, or forehead, is the leading part descending into the birth canal.

2. What causes a brow presentation?

A brow presentation can occur due to several reasons, including an abnormal pelvic structure, abnormal fetal position, or due to a large baby or excessive amniotic fluid.

3. How is a brow presentation diagnosed?

A health care provider can often diagnose a brow presentation during a routine physical exam. In some cases, an ultrasound might be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

4. What’s the treatment for a brow presentation during delivery?

Treatment options can vary depending on the mother’s and baby’s health, position of the baby, and how far along labor has progressed. Options can include manual rotation, changing the mother’s position, or a C-section if deemed necessary by the healthcare provider.

5. What are the risks associated with brow presentation?

Due to the abnormal positioning, a longer labor process or complications may arise, such as fetal distress or the inability for the baby to pass naturally through the birth canal. In some cases, it might necessitate a C-section.

6. Can brow presentation be prevented?

Not necessarily. Brow presentation is not predictable or preventable but proper prenatal care and regular check-ups can help in identifying such conditions early in the process.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Obstetrics
  • Birth Complication
  • Cephalic Presentation
  • Childbirth
  • C-Section

Sources for More Information

  • Mayo Clinic: This nonprofit American academic medical center is focused on integrated health care, education, and research. They offer reliable medical knowledge across a wide range of health topics including pregnancy and childbirth.
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): This is a branch of the United States National Library of Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health.
  • World Health Organization (WHO): As a specialized agency of the United Nations, WHO is focused on international public health. It has a broad focus on health matters, including maternal and child health.
  • American Pregnancy Association: An independent nonprofit organization, the American Pregnancy Association offers a plethora of resources about pregnancy and newborns, including complications and unique situations like a brow presentation.