The midwife palpates the fetal head and listens to the baby’s heartbeat with a fetascope (stethoscope). The mother feels a bulge for the baby’s bottom on her left. The feet stretch and kick in her upper right. The midwife may feel the “cephalic promontory” on the right signifying that the baby’s chin is nicely tucked (flexed).
The Left Occiput Anterior position is the most common, ideal fetal position (Optimal Foetal Position). The label for optimal fetal position is dependent on the shape of the mother’s pelvic brim. The most common pelvic shape, gynecoid, is associated with an LOA or LOT (LOL in UK, NZ, and AUS) fetal position at the start of labor.
An OA (occiput anterior) fetal position is also ideal. The baby’s back is directly forward. There seems to be little kicking, but the baby slides and stretches regularly. Fetal movement is present, just not as easily felt as with the posterior baby that has limbs kicking into the mother’s skin.