3 questions answered about breech birth

Breech position simply means that your baby is upside down in the womb, i.e. when their feet point towards your vagina, while their head remains upright towards your chest. This isn’t a problem during the course of your pregnancy – for the most part your baby will move around freely in the womb. But at the eighth month, things start to get a little tight. This is the time when your baby will usually get into vertex position – the preferred birthing position for baby. About four per cent of babies remain in breech coming up to their due date.

What can you do?

If your baby is remains in the breech position as your due date approaches, your doctor or midwife will probably try to move your baby manually. They usually do this by placing firm but gentle pressure on your tummy to encourage your baby to turn a somersault in your womb (uterus). However, this doesn’t always work some babies refuse to move and others simply return to their upside down position!

What if my baby remains in breech position?

This means you will most likely have to have a caesarean section but it does depend on the circumstances. A breech birth is usually longer and can be more difficult because baby’s bum will not push its way down the birth canal as efficiently as the head.

Your obstetrician will discuss the best options for your baby to arrive safely into the world.

What else will the doctor consider before prescribing a caesarean?

There are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration before a doctor prescribes a caesarean section. Included are your baby’s weight, and exact position.  The following are different types of breech position and what kind of birth is associated with them:

  • Frank Breech position – this occurs when your baby’s bottom is nearest to the vagina, and the legs are extended up towards the face. Vaginal delivery is possible but a forceps may be required.
  • Incomplete breech position – this occurs when one or both of your baby’s legs or knees are closest to the vagina. Vaginal delivery is often impossible and a caesarean section is needed.
  • Complete breech position – this occurs when your baby’s legs are pointing downwards and crossed. Vaginal delivery is almost always impossible and a caesarean section is required.
Our Related Content
7 things to know to prepare for birth
maternity & infant