Dip in the Belly

"There is an indentation in my belly near my navel. Does this mean my baby is posterior?"

An indentation, or dip, near or beneath your belly button can mean a couple of things. One possibility is that the baby is posterior. The posterior baby has his or her back along the mother's back. The knees are bent and the arms are bent, usually. This makes the baby in the shape of a letter "C." The opening of the "C" is towards the mother's abdomen wall and navel. The opening can allow a "dip" in the mother's belly shape, right about the place her navel is.


Many women with posterior babies will not see this dip in pregnancy. And some mothers won't see the dip even in labor. This means the "dip" is not a reliable sign of posterior presentation.

A woman with a baby who is facing her right and whose back is in her left can allow a dip when the mother's abdominal wall is relatively thin. She may not carry her weight in her belly so it is easy to see the general shape of the baby by those with experienced eyes, at least when she is lying down on her back.

The baby in this description is in the LOT, left occiput transverse (or left occiput lateral) position.


A mother whose baby is anterior, whose back is towards her front can see the dip sometimes when she does have a low lying layer of belly fat that ends slightly below the navel. The fat will buffer the pressure of the baby's back and allow her navel to be an "innie" even though her baby is occiput anterior.






A mother who is 8 mo.s pregnant stands with her husband, no dip is seen in her profile


 This mother, with a posterior baby, does not have a dip in her belly.








Two, three or more signs of posterior presentation should be noted before thinking a baby is posterior.

The most likely sign is little movements in front, between the mother's navel and her pubic bone.

Little movements far to the right, or left, and low may indicate a lateral or transverse position, and rarely a breech, when other signs indicate those positions. It is helpful to talk about your perceptions with a person who is experienced in palpation.

Palpation is feeling the baby's body parts through the mother's abdomen when she is lying down with her knees slightly bent (or feet in stirrups if at the clinic).

One mother wrote:

I am just confused about position. I feel kicks on my right side and can feel a back or something hard on left side. The baby is engaged, but I still have this slight dip just below my belly button. My belly button is sticking out and I don't feel movement around my belly button. Does that mean its still posterior? My placenta is anterior.

Gail wrote back:

The placenta will block movements from being felt where ever it is implanted. So if it is anterior movement won't be detailed beneath it.

A dip in the navel area can mean a number of things. It can be the margin where the fat beneath the skin begins to thin out, this is a common spot for that. A dip can be where the recti abdominal muscles separates a bit (the navel will remain in the space between the separation, or midline of it if it is a bit above or below. A dip is not a reliable sign of a posterior baby.