Diagnosis of brow presentation
Brow presentation is not usually detected before the onset of labour, except by very experienced birth attendants. On abdominal examination, the head is high in the mother's abdomen, appears unduly large and does not descend into the pelvis, despite good uterine contractions. On vaginal examination, the presenting part is high and may be difficult to reach. You may be able to feel the root of the nose, eyes, but not the mouth, tip of the nose or chin. You may also feel the anterior fontanel, but a large caput (swelling) towards the front of the fetal skull may mask this landmark if the woman has been in labour for some hours.
Recall the appearance of a normal caput over the posterior fontanel shown in Figure 4.4 earlier in this Module.