Breech Babies: What Can I Do if My Baby is Breech?

Breech Babies: What Can I Do if My Baby is Breech?

Pregnancy is a beautiful time during which a number of changes occur in your body. Your child grows in your uterus and towards the end of your pregnancy, about four weeks before delivery, your baby will most likely come into a head down position. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

This is the position in which it will take birth. However, this is not true in every case. Not all babies turn into the vertex position. There are a few babies that are body-down even during birth. Such a position is called breech presentation.

This can be diagnosed either through a manual examination or through an ultrasound. There are ways to turn the position of the baby before labor but many hospitals and midwives will safely deliver a breech baby via vaginal delivery.

What is breech presentation?

At the time of birth, babies are usually head down. This means that the baby’s head appears first. However, as aforementioned, this may not happen in all cases. In a few cases the body is down even when labor is induced.

They may be transverse or they may be breech. Transverse means that the head is sideways and breech means that they are almost in a standing position in the uterus, with the head up in the uterus and the body down. Breech babies are not very common but they are not too rare either.

Around 4 percent of the babies born are breech babies. There are three different types of breech presentations and they are: Complete, Frank, and Footling.

Complete Breech Presentation

In this position, the legs of the baby are crossed and the feet are on the butt. At the birth canal in this presentation, baby is presenting bottom first.

Frank Breech Presentation

In this position, the feet are not by the butt but by the head. The legs are in front of the body, straight. So at the birth canal, the baby is presenting bottom or side first.

Footling Breech Presentation

The feet, in this position, point down and will appear first in the case of a vaginal delivery.

How about a vaginal delivery?

Vagina delivery is not impossible. While it is not always recommended in the case of a breech presentation, mostly due to stringent malpractice worries amongst ob/gyns and hospitals, it is quite possible. Doctors will advise you to go with C-section if your baby is breech because breech babies born through vaginal delivery have a slight possibility to suffer with birth defects including hip dysplasia.

You may also face umbilical problems under these circumstances. One such problem is umbilical cord prolapse. As a result of these problems, the baby can suffer brain damage or nerve damage.

Usually, vaginal delivery is safe for a baby in Frank Breech presentation and C-section is recommended for Complete Breech and Footling Breech presentation. Again, these recommendations are mostly due to malpractice worries more than anything else. Certain hospitals will wrongly not even allow a vaginal breech delivery.

Can the baby be turned?

Yes, the baby can be turned and a few doctors will agree to try it too. This can be attempted from week 32 of pregnancy to week 37 of pregnancy. The technique used to turn the baby is known as external cephalic version or ECV. If there is any distress during the procedure, it is stopped immediately.

Is something wrong with my baby?

No, there is nothing wrong with breech babies more often than not. It just means baby is more comfortable in a different position, perhaps due to the placement of the placenta or the length of the umbilical cord. Or, perhaps baby just has a mind of its own! Breech presentation is especially common during multiple pregnancies.

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Dr. Renee Hanton, MD
Dr. Renee Hanton, MD | ConceiveEasy
Dr. Renee Hanton is ConceiveEasy's Senior Physician with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Dr. Hanton specializes in the endocrine causes of infertility, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)