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Unstable lie

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

When the presentation of the foetus changes from day to day the lie is said to be unstable.

It is not a sinister sign in the grand multip - the uterus is relatively flaccid and able to accommodate a lot of movement of the fetus.

In other women it ought to be investigated as a possible sign of placenta praevia - the low lying placenta preventing engagement of the fetal head.

Other possible causes of an unstable lie include:

  • polyhydramnios
  • prematurity
  • subseptate uterus
  • pelvic tumours such as fibroids and ovarian cysts

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