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Old 09-17-2012  
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Default What is a Breech Birth?

Once your baby has been in your womb for around 8 months they have run out of room to turn and move. The majority of babies will automatically switch to a heads-down position to maximize their space, which is called cephalic presentation. If your baby is in the breech position, this means they are set to come out of the birth canal feet or butt first. Around 97% of babies go to a heads-first position when labor starts at full-term. There are also many types of breech positions, such as frank breech (which means they are bottoms-first with the feet at their head), complete breech (they are bottoms-first with legs crossed) and footling breech (which means one or both feet will come out of the birth canal first).

How Do I Know If My Baby is Breech?
Starting in your third trimester, your doctor will start feeling your stomach manually to locate your baby’s bottom, head and back. 25% of babies are breech at the beginning of the third trimester, although the majority correct this over the next couple of months. As you approach full-term and your baby still hasn’t corrected their position, your doctor may perform an internal exam or an ultrasound to verify your baby’s position.

What Happens Next?
If your baby hasn’t corrected their position by the 37th week, your doctor may try turning them manually to a heads-down position. This is called external cephalic version and works by applying pressure to your stomach and manipulating your baby to move their position. This has a 58% success rate of turning a breech baby and a 90% success rate if your baby is in a transverse lie, or sideways. You may not be a candidate for this procedure if you are carrying multiples, having a complicated pregnancy or have too little amniotic fluid.

Will I Need a C Section?
If your baby doesn’t change their position you can attempt a vaginal breech delivery. Most babies in breech position are delivered by cesarean section, however, which has been shown to be the safest choice for a full-term single breech baby. If you want to have a vaginal delivery, it’s important that labor starts and progresses without assistance, your pelvis appears large enough, your baby is of normal weight with no abnormalities and your baby is in the frank or complete breech position.
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