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What Are Leopold Maneuvers?

What Are Leopold Maneuvers?

Leopold maneuvers are a collection of 4 maneuvers used to find out the place and presentation of your child in-utero, in addition to estimate your child’s weight.

“This course of permits medical professionals to not solely make a start weight estimate but in addition tackle any underlying issues that will happen down the street,” explains Mackenzie Schutz, RN.

These maneuvers get their title from the influential Nineteenth-century German obstetrician and gynecologist Christian Gerhard Leopold, who mentioned and propagated their use amongst different physicians.

How Are Leopold Maneuvers Carried out?

There are 4 distinct Leopold Maneuvers. These embrace:

  • Fundal Grip: Your healthcare supplier will palpate your higher stomach with each palms to really feel in your child’s head, trunk, and backside as a way to get an concept of your child’s measurement and place.
  • Umbilical grip: Your supplier will apply deep stress with the palm of their palms whereas utilizing the opposite hand to really feel your uterus. This enables them to determine the placement of your child’s again and small components.
  • Pawlik’s grip: Your supplier will use their fingers and thumb to really feel what a part of your child is in your decrease stomach, simply above the start canal, to see in the event that they’re in the precise place. This maneuver assesses fetal weight and amniotic fluid quantity.
  • Pelvic grip: Your supplier will transfer their fingers in the direction of your pelvis then slide their palms over the aspect of your uterus to find out the place your child’s forehead is situated.

Leopold maneuvers ought to solely be carried out by certified medical professionals who’ve obtained coaching on learn how to carry out them safely. You should not try and do them your self.

Why Are They Carried out?

“Leopold maneuvers a beautiful technique to decide rapidly how the fetus is mendacity in an individual’s uterus,” explains Kecia Gaither, OB/GYN, physician maternal-fetal drugs, and director of perinatal providers at NYC Well being and Hospitals/Lincoln. “And, in skilled palms, they can provide an estimate of fetal weight.”

They’re additionally low-cost, non-invasive, and do not require using costly tools equivalent to an ultrasound. Plus they inform your supplier how prepared your child is for start to allow them to higher put together in your labor.

Splendid Place

At first of your being pregnant, your child will transfer round your womb freely, however in the direction of the top, they need to get right into a sure place. Earlier than start, your child ought to be head-down, going through your again, with its chin tucked to its chest in order that its head is able to enter the pelvis. That is known as the cephalic presentation and it’s the superb place for supply.

Most infants will settle into this place between the thirty second and thirty sixth week of your being pregnant. This place makes labor simpler. Round 96% of infants will likely be born within the cephalic place.

Cephalic Posterior Place

This place is also called an occiput place or it is generally nicknamed “sunny-side-up.” It implies that your child is positioned head down, however they’re going through out as a substitute of in the direction of your backbone. This place may enhance your possibilities of a painful and extended supply.

Breech Place

A breech place implies that your child’s backside is going through downwards. There are three totally different breech positions:

  • Frank breech: The infant’s legs are up with ft close to the pinnacle
  • Footling breech: One or each legs is lowered within the cervix
  • Full breech: The infant’s backside is first and its knees are bent

Any of those positions could make for a riskier supply so you might be vulnerable to a C-section supply if the newborn would not change place earlier than labor.

Transverse Lie

Your child may also be in a transverse lie place on the finish of the third trimester, which implies they’re mendacity sideways throughout your uterus as a substitute of vertically. If they do not change place, it may make for harmful labor, so a C-section will likely be required.

Fetal Weight Estimate

Fetal weight estimates assist your healthcare supplier plan for start, too. Usually, a child who’s estimated to be 10 kilos or extra may require a C-section start as a result of your child may get caught within the start canal.

Dangers and Contraindications

There are not any identified dangers for utilizing Leopold Maneuvers, so long as they’re being carried out by certified medical professionals. Nonetheless, they don’t seem to be at all times correct at figuring out the place or estimated weight of your child earlier than the thirty sixth week of your being pregnant. So, your medical supplier is not going to possible use them earlier than your 36-week checkup.

To your personal consolation, your supplier will possible ask you to pee earlier than they do the process, as a result of a full bladder could make it troublesome to essentially decide your child’s place with accuracy.

Your supplier may also not use these maneuvers in case you have been in an accident. “If blunt power trauma has occurred throughout being pregnant, it could be greatest to make use of an ultrasound to keep away from any additional bruising that might be worsened by palpating,” explains Shutz.

Leopold maneuvers are very correct, however it’s potential that your healthcare supplier will nonetheless carry out an ultrasound previous to your supply to verify your child’s place, notably if they’re involved that your child is in a transverse or breech place.

Leopold Maneuvers are troublesome to carry out on people who find themselves overweight as a result of it’s troublesome to really feel the newborn’s place.

They’re additionally extra difficult to carry out on sufferers who’ve polyhydramnios, which is when you’ve an excessive amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your child, in addition to individuals with fibroids.

A Phrase From Verywell

Leopold maneuvers are often carried out after 36 weeks by your healthcare supplier to find out your child’s place and estimate their start weight. This can aid you and your supplier be higher ready in your labor and decide if it is likely to be safer to carry out a c-section. The maneuvers shouldn’t harm and they’re very correct, although your supplier may nonetheless carry out an ultrasound to verify any findings.

Verywell Household makes use of solely high-quality sources, together with peer-reviewed research, to assist the information inside our articles. Learn our editorial course of to be taught extra about how we fact-check and maintain our content material correct, dependable, and reliable.
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  2. Kachlík, David, Kästner, Ingrid, Baca, Vaclav. Christian Gerhard Leopold: Fascinating Historical past of a Productive Obstetrician Gynecologist. Obstetrical & gynecological survey. DO – 10.1097/OGX.0b013e31823662d7

  3. Inform, Noor; Omuso, Inara MD; Hunter, Krystal MBA; Khandelwal, Meena MD. Accuracy of Leopold’s Maneuver In comparison with Ultrasound in Estimating Fetal Delivery Weight. Obstetrics & Gynecology: Might 2019 – Quantity 133 – Situation – p 23S-24S. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000559397.09291.a3

  4. Glezerman M. Deliberate vaginal breech supply: present standing and the necessity to rethink. Professional Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2012;7(2):159-166. doi:10.1586/eog.12.2

  5. Cleveland Clinic. Fetal positions for start.

  6. Wei Y, Yang H. [Variation of prevalence of macrosomia and cesarean section and its influencing factors]. Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi. 2015;50(3):170-6. doi:10.3760/cma.j.issn.0529-567x.2015.03.002

  7. Superville SS, Siccardi MA. Leopold maneuvers. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2021.


By Simone Scully

Simone is the well being editorial director for efficiency advertising and marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of expertise as an expert journalist protecting being pregnant, parenting, well being, drugs, science, and life-style matters.

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