Doctor Successfully Performs External Cephalic Version On Breech Baby In Under Two Minutes

'If you cannot tolerate it, just say so.'

A video has resurfaced of a doctor performing an External Cephalic Version (ECV) on a woman whose baby was breech.

An ECV is a procedure used to turn a foetus from a breech position into a head-down (vertex) position before labour begins.

The video shows the doctor using the palms of both hands to move the baby around in under two minutes.

“Doctors at the Royal Sussex hospital in Brighton perform an ECV on a breech baby at 36 weeks +3,” dad Liam Muckleston wrote on YouTube.

“If you cannot tolerate it, just say so,” the doctor tells the mum.


The video was initially uploaded to YouTube in 2013, but has since resurfaced and been shared on social media. It has more than two million views.

Dr Patrick O’Brien, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said the ECV performed in the video is safe.

“Between 37 and 42 weeks, most babies are lying head first ready to be born, however 3% of babies are breech at the end of pregnancy,” he told The Huffington Post UK.

“Breech birth is slightly more complicated, therefore external cephalic version (ECV) is a technique used by obstetricians at around 36 to 38 weeks to apply gentle pressure on a woman’s abdomen to turn the baby in the womb to lie head first.

“ECV is generally safe and does not cause labour to begin and is successful for about half of all women.”

The Royal College Of Midwives told HuffPost UK this procedure is always performed by doctors, not midwives.

However they expressed concerns that the above video “might encourage non-medical people to try” the procedure.

“We stress that it should only be done by a suitably qualified and experienced doctor,” a spokesperson said.

Do you know the options a pregnant woman has when her baby is breech?

What happens when a baby is breech?

Breech means that your baby is lying bottom first or feet first in the womb (uterus) instead of in the usual head first position, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists state.

Three in every 100 (3%) babies are breech at the end of pregnancy.

If you are 36 weeks pregnant and the baby is in a breech position, an obstetrician or midwife can discuss external cephalic version (ECV) with the mother-to-be.

The other two options include a caesarean delivery or vaginal breech birth. The RCOG and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that caesarean delivery is safer for the baby around the time of birth.

When can women choose to have an External Cephalic Version?

ECV is successful for half of all women (50%), the RCOG states.

“ECV is generally safe and does not cause labour to begin,” they explain.

“The baby’s heart will be monitored before and after the ECV. Like any medical procedure, complications can sometimes occur.

“About one in 200 (0.5%) babies need to be delivered by emergency caesarean section immediately after an ECV because of bleeding from the placenta and/or changes in the baby’s heartbeat.”

Women are advised not to have an ECV if their waters have broken, they are expecting twins or they have vaginal bleeding.

For more information on ECVs, read the RCOG’s information booklet.

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