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Turning Things Around - Managing Breech Babies At Term With External Cephalic Version


A breech baby is a term used to describe a baby that is positioned in the uterus with its buttocks or feet pointing downward instead of the head. This can happen in around 3-4% of pregnancies at term (37 weeks or beyond). While most babies turn to the head-down position by themselves, some remain breech until delivery. Breech babies may experience increased risks of complications during vaginal birth, such as a difficult delivery, cord prolapse, and birth asphyxia. As such, babies that remain breech at term are often delivered via C-section.


External Cephalic Version (ECV) is a non-surgical procedure that may be offered to by your doctor to help turn the baby into a head-down position. During an ECV, a healthcare provider applies pressure to the mother's abdomen to try and rotate the baby into the optimal position. The procedure is usually done after 36-37 weeks of pregnancy and is performed in a hospital or clinic setting with close monitoring of the baby's heart rate.


ECV is generally considered safe with little risks. If the ECV is successful, the mother can attempt a vaginal birth, provided there are no other complications. If the ECV is unsuccessful, a cesarean delivery may still be necessary.


It's important to discuss the risks and benefits of ECV with your healthcare provider and to make an informed decision based on your individual circumstances.


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