If your baby is in breech position (bottom first), you are likely to be offered an attempt to turn the baby around.
It might be worrying to be told that your baby is in breech position. But this is not unusual. Having a breech baby does not necessarily mean you need to have a C-section.
The doctor will decide, in consultation with you, whether to attempt to turn the baby. Approximately half of all breech babies can be turned.
Breech birth – when your baby isn't positioned head first
A breech birth is when the baby comes through the birth canal with its feet or bottom first, instead of head first like most babies.
There are different types of breech position:
• Frank breech – bottom first and legs either bent or extended towards the face.
• Complete breech – the baby is sitting cross legged.
• Footling breech – the baby has one or both feet first.
The doctor can attempt to turn the baby
If the midwife determines that the baby is breech, an attempt can be made to turn the baby before delivery. In this case, an obstetrician will try to turn the baby head down some time around pregnancy week 38. The attempt is successful in about 50 percent of cases.
The chance of success is higher for repeat pregnancies than first time pregnancies. Even if the attempt is successful, in many cases the baby will move back into breech position.