The ischium is the thick lower part of the pelvis, formed from two fused bones — one on either side. When a woman is in labour, the descent of the fetal head as it moves down the birth canal is estimated in relation to the ischial spines, which are inward projections of the ischium on each side. The ischial spines are smaller and rounder in shape in the woman's pelvis than in that of the man. In the Module on Labour and Delivery Care, you will learn how to feel for the ischial spines to help you estimate how far down the birth canal the baby's head has progressed.
Ischium is pronounced 'iss kee umm' and ischial is 'iss kee al'.