Video: Breach Births – Choices for Moms to Be

This film explores the choices women need to make when faced with the dilemma of a breech pregnancy. A baby is in the breech position if it is lying bottom or feet first. Roughly 3 in every 100 babies are in the breech position at full-term.

Editor’s Note: Video Highlights

No-one expects their baby to be breech. Know that there is no particular reason why this happens and there are choices that are available to you.

First Option to Consider: External Cephalic Version (ECV)

  • ECV – performed by doctor or midwife
    • Using hands externally to manipulate baby by gently pushing on mom’s tummy to try and move baby to a heads down position
    • First step is an injection that relaxes the muscles in the womb, improving the likelihood of success in turning the baby
    • Next step is typically to lift baby’s bottom out of the pelvis and attempt to turn one way. If unsuccessful, an attempt is made to turn the other way
    • Procedure can vary in degree of discomfort from mildly uncomfortable to somewhat painful depending on position of baby.

If ECV is Successful

  • Vaginal birth or Cesarean section – for other reasons
  • It is rare that the baby will reverse and turn back

If ECV is Unsuccessful

  • Planned Cesarean section – will take time for body to recover from procedure – cannot drive for period of time
  • Vaginal breach birth (baby is born vaginally in breach position)

There’s always the possibility that your baby will turn spontaneously before the birth

Discuss your options with your GP or Midwife to determine the best for you and your family


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About the Author

NHS Choices ( is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your healthcare.


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