Planes of Hodge and Fetal Stations

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General information

In this film the classification systems used to assess the descent of the fetal head in relation to the maternal pelvis will be described.

Also the fetal skull and the seven cardinal movements will be demonstrated in another film. For a more detailed elaboration on this refer to the course; ‘Mechanisms of Labor’.

The descent of the fetal head can be described in two ways, using either the classification of the planes of Hodge or the classification of the stations.

For both classifications the level of descent is measured by determining the engagement of the presenting part in relation to the maternal pelvis.

The presenting part is the fetal part that lies deepest in the birth canal hence is closest to the pelvic outlet. The presenting part varies depending on the fetal lie: cephalic; breech or transverse and the presentation of the fetal head such as occiput anterior (OA); occiput posterior (OP); sinciput; brow or face. In this film the presenting part will be the occiput since the fetus is in vertex presentation.

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