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Belly Mapping Guide: How to Tell if Your Baby is Head Down

Belly mapping is a common technique that both doctors and you can use to tell the position of your baby.

Once you know the position, you’ll be able to tell if your baby is head down or not, which is important to know before labor begins.

You can also work on repositioning the baby if you discover that the way they are laying is what’s causing pain in a specific area. Even if you don’t have a medical reason, belly mapping is pretty cool to try and doesn’t require a lot of time or skill. 

Why Does It Matter If Your Baby Is Head Down?

When your baby is head down, it means that they’re more than likely going to have a smooth delivery. While it doesn’t guarantee a delivery free of complications, it does drastically reduce the chance of certain complications.

There is little to no chance that the cord will be wrapped around their neck during the delivery process. Other fetal positions can increase your chances of having long labor or extremely painful delivery.

Certain positions can increase your risk of ripping when the baby comes out. Because of this, it’s important that your baby be born in the head-down position if possible. 

Belly Mapping

pregnant belly

Belly mapping is exactly what it sounds like. You essentially wind up with a map of your belly that tells you the way that your little one is laying.

Some people draw this map on paper, and some draw a map on their belly. Belly mapping continues to increase in popularity as more people realize the benefits of belly mapping. 

Benefits Of Belly Mapping

Mapping your belly is really fun. Not only is it great for an otherwise boring afternoon and Instagram pictures, but it can also provide a few benefits to expecting mothers. 

Belly Mapping Can Help You Bond With Your Baby

When you do things with your baby while you’re pregnant, like mapping your belly, it helps you bond more with your little one before they are born.

Belly mapping involves both you and your baby! It can help you feel closer to your little one as you imagine how they are laying in your womb. 

Belly Mapping Tells You The Positioning Of Your Baby

The position that your baby is laying in, which is often referred to as a fetal position, is something that you need to know. First, this tells you if your baby is head down.

Second, it also tells you where their little limbs are, which can let you know why you may be experiencing pain in certain areas. 

Belly Mapping Gives You The Chance For Fetal Re-Positioning

When you know the position of your baby inside the womb a few weeks before the baby is born, it gives you a chance to try to re-position your baby.

This can take you from delivering breech to a safer head down delivery. If you don’t know the position of your little one, you won’t be able to try to move them into the head-down position either. 

Mapping Your Own Belly

Mapping your own belly might sound a bit intimidating, but it’s not! There are only three steps involved. You need minimal supplies. Once you do it one or two times, you’ll know the process of belly mapping like the back of your hand. 

What You Need To Know Before Mapping Your Belly

Before mapping your belly, there are a couple of things that you’ll need to know. It’s important to know how far along you should be, whether you’ll need help, and other things so that you’re completely prepared for belly mapping. 

How Far Along Should You Be For Belly Mapping?

Belly mapping is best done in the third trimester of pregnancy. Most people wait until they are at least 30 weeks along.

When the baby is bigger, it’s easier to tell where the different parts of the baby are. As they have less room to move around, you’ll be able to tell where the baby is at a little bit easier. 

Smiling practitioner providing checkup

Doing This After A Doctor Appointment Is Ideal

Most people prefer to do this after one of their doctor appointments if they’re not sure where the head, etc. is. Doctors have quite a bit of experience in belly mapping.

At your next appointment, ask your doctor where the head is, and where the butt is. Then, ask them how to tell. They’ll essentially walk you through the process of belly mapping.

If this isn’t an option for you, don’t stress. You can still do it perfectly fine on your own. 

Pick A Period When Your Baby Is Most Active For The First Time

If your baby is usually more active during a certain period, like after dinner, consider doing belly mapping for the first time then.

When your little one is spinning and kicking, you’ll better be able to tell how they are positioned. For example, when you feel a kick, you’ll know where the feet are. This can help you find the butt, and so on. 

You Don’t Need To Know Every Fetal Position

Most websites seem to recommend learning every fetal position and birthing position for belly mapping. There is no need to memorize these.

First, learn belly mapping. If your little one is not in the ideal position for birth, look up that position so you know what risks are associate with it. That’s all that is required.

If you’re earlier, such as thirty weeks, you don’t need to know the names of the positions either. You’ll be fine without that tiny bit of knowledge if you don’t want to do it. 

Supplies You’ll Need

There are only a few things that you’ll need to do belly mapping. Some of these are optional, but they can help you during the process, especially if it’s your first-time belly mapping.

Baby doll

If you have a baby doll, it can help you figure out which position your baby is in. Once you know where the head and butt are, you can move the doll to the same position and figure out where the rest of your little bundle of joy is at. 

Non-toxic marker or body paint

Some people choose to do this on a piece of paper. In that case, you’ll need paper instead. Most simply draw on their belly. If you’d like to get creative and make a beautiful belly painting, pick up some non-toxic body paint. 

belly painting

How To Do Belly Mapping

Once you have your supplies and have picked the perfect time to start belly mapping, you’re ready to go! 

First, Find The Head

The head is the easiest part to find. By now, the baby’s skull has formed making it easy to identify which round part of your little one is the head and which is the butt.

Gently, but firmly, press on your stomach to find the head of your baby. It will feel round and hard. Draw a circle where you feel the head. 

Next, Find The Back

The back will feel longer and flat. It should start right by the head. Use the same method of applying gentle but firm pressure to your belly to find the back.

If you cannot seem to find it, it’s more than likely because the baby’s back is in perfect alignment with your own. When this happens, you’ll typically feel kicks and your baby’s hands in the front of your stomach. 

Use The Doll And The Feel Of Movements To Find Your Baby’s Position

Now is when the baby doll comes in handy. Hold the doll in the same position that you found the head and neck in. Then, angle it to where you feel your baby’s limbs at.

You can also tell where the limbs are based on where you feel movement. You now know your baby’s position!

Double Check The Baby’s Position, And Re-Position If Possible

Now that you know what position your baby is in, check out this website. It tells you everything you need to know about the fetal position when your baby should move into the head-down position, and more. 

In Conclusion

Belly mapping is a great way to determine the position of your little one.

It can give you a heads-up about possible complications, and let you know if you need to consider methods to reposition your baby. This is also a fun bonding activity and can help you create some wonderful belly painting art.