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Breech Birth at Scan

There are many physical reasons why pregnancies successfully go to plan or develop challenges along the way to delivery.  However, it is well understood that reducing anxiety and stress certainly helps to suppliment any other interventions.  Here at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling, we help soon to be Mums to decrease any anxiety or stress plus reduce negative thinking.

A baby laying in breech position or transverse presentation

As a pregnancy develops babies often twist and turn whilst in the womb, this is highlighted via regular or specific baby scans.  Towards the end of labour and delivery, the majority of babies relax and manoeuvre into a more positive position, allowing them to be born head first, through the birth canal.  Unfortunately this healthy and stress-free journey through the birth canal, doesn’t always go to plan.

The following are various positions that baby may manoeuvre towards at the end of pregnancy, plus how their affect birth.

  • Head down (normal position)
  • Breech position (feet first)
  • Transverse position (laying sideways)


Breech position (feet first)

If baby lays feet first with their bottom downwards, this is a standard breech position. Care and delivery for the yet unborn baby is made much more complicated.  Your midwife and obstetrician will inform you of the best and safest form of intervention.  The standard advice is always to deliver your baby in hospital.  The reason for this is so all the latest care and equipment can be given, including a caesarean section.


Turning a breech baby

Normally you will be offered ECV (External Cephalic Version).  During this intervention the obstetrician attempts to manoeuvre the baby into a Cephalic (head-down) position, by applying pressure over your abdomen.  Although it maybe slightly uncomfortable it is a very safe procedure.  Approximately 50% of breech babies are successfully turned using ECV, most babies stay head-down allowing a normal and healthy birth position.


Giving birth to a breech baby

If you are part of the 50% of breech babies where ECV was not successful, your midwife and obstetrician will offer further options.  Sometimes breech babies are born vaginally, it is more likely you would be offered a Caesarean (C-Section).  This is by far the least stressful and overall safest way of delivering a breech baby.


Where you are due for a planned Caesarean but go into labour before the planned operation, your obstetrician will discuss and assess whether to bring the Caesarean delivery sooner.  But, if the baby is unexpectedly close to being born, it may be safer to have a vaginal breech birth.


The Royal College of Gynaecologists advises against a vaginal breech delivery if:


  • In the past you have had a Caesarean before
  • Baby’s feet are below the bottom (a footling breech)
  • You have pre-eclampsia
  • Your baby is over 3.8kg or 8.4lbs (large baby)
  • Your baby is less than 2kg or 4.4lbs (small baby)
  • Your baby’s neck is tilted back
  • You have a very narrow pelvis, therefore insufficient room for the baby to pass through
  • Your placenta is very low-lying


Transverse baby (laying sideways)

Where baby lays sideways, horizontally across the womb, instead of vertically, this is known as the Transverse position.  Many babies do lay sideways in early pregnancy, but most turn themselves into the head-down (normal positon) by the last few months of the pregnancy.


Transverse baby (within delivery)

When a transverse position is assessed and diagnosed plus how many weeks into your pregnancy you are, you may need to be admitted into hospital.  This is due to a small risk that your umbilical cord prolapses due to your waters breaking.  In this urgent and acute medical emergency (where the cord leaves the womb before the baby) the baby must be delivered immediately.


It may be possible sometimes, manoeuvre the baby manually into a head-down position, so you could be offered this option.

It has been proven virtually impossible, for any transverse baby to be born totally naturally, without any intervention.  Therefore, if baby remains in the transverse position near your due date or when labour begins, you will be offered an immediate Caesarean.

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