Breech presentation

Illustration: Maurice Gervais

If your baby is positioned with his feet or buttocks facing downward (breech), your doctor or midwife may want to attempt to turn him at around 36 or 37 weeks. This technique, known as version, is used to move the baby into a head-down position and increases your odds of having a vaginal birth. Version is performed at the hospital.

Your doctor or midwife will place her hands on your abdomen to try to move your baby into a head down position. Version is usually attempted after the baby’s position has been verified through ultrasound. In some cases the procedure is not possible or is contraindicated, for example if there are low levels of amniotic fluid.

After version, a fetal non stress test (monitoring) will be done to make sure your baby tolerated the procedure without a problem. There are fewer risks associated with version than with a C-section.

If your baby cannot be turned, you can discuss the possibility of attempting a vaginal birth with your doctor or midwife.

Vaginal delivery of a breech baby requires a special evaluation and certain conditions must be met. Not every hospital may offer it. A caesarean will be considered in most cases of breech presentation. Talk to your health professional about your options.