Your Baby's Station

Your Baby's Position in Relation to the Pelvis

Station The Pelvis and the Baby
Photo © Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

There are plenty of unusual words in pregnancy, particularly when it comes to the labor and birth part. One of the words you might hear thrown around, particularly at the very end of your pregnancy is station.

Definition: How far the baby is "down" in the pelvis, measured by the relationship of the fetal head to the ischial spines (sit bones). Measured in negative and positive numbers. -5 is a floating baby, 0 station is said to be engaged in the pelvis, and +5 is crowning.

This is a measurement of fetal descent in labor and is measured by vaginal exams. This is typically something that most practitioners do not really even think about until later in pregnancy, as in the last few weeks. And sometimes, they don't even talk about it until you are in labor. The measurement of station, is one of the signs of progression in labor. You might hear someone talk about the baby coming down, that is talking about the positive change in station of your baby.

Some women will have a baby who is fairly high in the pelvis, a -2 or so before labor begins. Other women start labor with a baby that is engaged at a 0 station, or lower. (Remember, here lower, means a positive number.) The station of your baby really starts to change once you are pushing.

"I don't remember them using numbers when I was pushing," says Rochelle, a first time mom. "But they did tell me that the baby was coming down further and further.

I really didn't know what they meant until it was all over."

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