Mechanism of Labor: 7 Cardinal Movements

Posted: June 17, 2011 in Health

1. Engagement – fetal presenting part as its widest diameter reaches the level of the ischial spine of the pelvis

2. Descent – movement of the bi-parietal diameter of the fetal head downwards until it reaches the pelvic  inlet.

3. Flexion – Fetal head reaches the pelvic floor; head bends forward onto chest, presenting the smallest anteroposterior diameter.

4. Internal Rotation – fetus enters pelvic inlet to the maternal pelvis, allows longest fetal head to match the longest maternal pelvic diameter.

5. Extension – Internal rotation is complete, fetal head passes beneath the synthesis pubis while in flexion.

6. External Rotation – allow the shoulders to rotate internally to fit the pelvis.

7. Expulsion – occurs first as the anterior, then the posterior shoulder passes under the symphysis pubis.

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