The breech position is the term given to an unborn baby that is positioned in the womb with its buttocks facing down, and the head under the mother's ribs.
Additionally, if the baby's legs are tucked up, this is known as 'frank breech'. If one or both of the legs are pointing downwards, this is known as 'footling breech'.
Up until 36 weeks of pregnancy, a breech baby still has time to turn. However, from this point onwards, a breech position is less than ideal as it makes natural childbirth an extremely difficult process, although not impossible.
Women with a breech presentation may be offered an external cephalic version (ECV) at around 37 weeks of pregnancy. In this procedure, an obstetrician will manipulate the pregnant woman's abdomen in an attempt to turn the baby into a head-first position.
If the baby remains in the breech position, the woman will be advised to give birth via caesarean section, particularly if the baby is in the footling breech position; is a large baby; or the woman's first baby. However, this is the woman's decision and she can attempt a natural birth.
Alongside the ECV procedure, there are some steps a woman can take that may help her baby to turn naturally. These include swimming, the buoyancy of which helps the baby to turn; kneeling on the floor with the bottom raised higher than the head; and sitting in a knee-to-chest position for five or 10 minutes, four times a day.
Go back to Mumepedia: