Information about a breech baby

During a normal pregnancy, a baby will begin to move their heads down near the birth canal[ File # csp9437229, License # 2708294 ]<br />
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(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / lucidwaters about 3-4 weeks before the due date.  When this doesn’t happen, the buttocks, feet or both may be facing the birth canal.  When this happens it is referred to as breech presentation.  Breech babies account for only 3-4% of full term births and will require planning for how the baby will be delivered.  Most cases, a doctor will recommend a cesarean delivery {c-section}.  The doctor will be able to tell if a baby is in the breech position with a physical exam by placing his or her hands on the abdomen and feeling the position of the baby.  The breech baby position will usually be confirmed with an ultrasound.

Sometimes there will be no known cause for a breech presentation but a breech baby is more common when:

  • if the woman has had multiple pregnancies
  • the woman is pregnant with multiples
  • there is too much or too little amniotic fluid around the fetus inside the uterus
  • the uterus has fibroids {abnormal growths} or is not normal in shape
  • the mother has placenta previa where the placental covers all or part of the opening in the uterus
  • the baby is preterm

If a mother has a breech baby, a health care provider may suggest an external cephalic version (ECV), which is a procedure where they will turn the baby from the outside.  They will pregnancy test womanlift and turn the baby by placing their hands on certain positions on the abdomen.  Sometimes another health care provider will assist to help turn the baby.  An ECV will only be done after 36 weeks, to help prevent the baby from turning again.  Not everyone is a candidate for ECV but if a mother has a breech baby, their healthcare provider will recommend the procedure.

ECV is successful in about half of all attempts, some of those successes will turn back into the breech position again.  It is important to have a c-section if you have a breech baby because there is increased risk of harm to a baby if he/she is born vaginally in the breech position.  The highest risk is when the umbilical cord slips through the cervix before the baby and causes the blood flow to the baby to stop.  Most breech babies will have a scheduled c-section, but sometimes a baby will switch directions just before labor, so a c-section can be a last minute decision.  There are risks associated with c-section but usually easily treated.

More from Bellies Babies and Beyond:

What to pack in your hospital bag

Labor Induction

Pain during labor and delivery

Did you have a breech baby? How did you deliver?

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