When a baby is born bottom first instead than head first, it is known as a breech birth. A breech baby affects about 35% of pregnant women who are at term (3740 weeks). Breech deliveries are considered higher risk since they have a higher than usual rate of probable complications for the newborn. Breech births also occur in many other mammals such as dogs and horses, see veterinary obstetrics.
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The majority of breech babies are delivered via caesarean section since it is considered to be safer than giving birth vaginally. Many of the skills required to properly help mothers giving birth to a breech baby vaginally are often lacking among doctors and midwives in impoverished countries. Furthermore, in developing countries, delivering all breech babies via caesarean section is challenging to achieve since resources are not always available to provide this service. Even when a medical practitioner is present, OB-GYNs do not encourage home births if a breech birth is predicted.
Is a breech baby good luck?
“Unless you're a breech baby, you're not born lucky, but you can make yourself lucky if you invest your resources in feeding the forces that keep the world going.” Yatiri, which means ‘the one who knows,' assisted participants in her study in achieving happiness.
Is a breech baby a bad sign?
Breech pregnancies are generally not harmful until the baby is ready to be born. When a baby is born breech, there is a greater chance that the infant may become stuck in the birth canal and that the baby's oxygen supply will be cut off through the umbilical chord.
The most pressing question in this case is what is the safest way for a mother to deliver a breech baby. Before cesarean deliveries became prevalent, doctors and, more typically, midwives were taught how to properly deliver breech babies. Breech deliveries, on the other hand, carry a higher risk of problems than vaginal deliveries.
In a 2000 research of almost 2,000 women from 26 nations, it was discovered that planned cesarean births were often safer for babies than vaginal births for breech pregnancies. With scheduled cesareans for breech newborns, the risks of infant death and complications were much reduced. In both the cesarean and vaginal birth groups, however, the rate of problems for moms was nearly the same. Cesarean section is major surgery, which may explain the high prevalence of problems among women.
The same study was looked at by the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which determined that if a woman wants to have a planned vaginal birth with a breech pregnancy, she might still have a chance to have a safe delivery with a trained physician. Overall, most clinicians prefer to take the safest approach possible, so a cesarean section is the chosen mode of delivery for women who are pregnant with breech babies.
Do breech babies have problems later in life?
A few weeks before birth, most babies move into the normal, head-down position in the mother's uterus. If this does not occur, the baby's buttocks, or buttocks and feet, will be the first to emerge during birth. Breech presentation is the term for this. It affects roughly three out of every hundred full-term newborns.
Although most breech babies are healthy at birth, they do have a slightly higher risk of certain complications than babies who are born in the typical position. Ultrasounds at 20 weeks detect the majority of these issues. So, if nothing has been found up to this time, the baby is most likely normal. Your doctor may recommend a cesarean birth or use an external version surgery to try to turn the baby into the appropriate position.
Most newborns transition into the head-down, or vertex, presentation 3-4 weeks before a mother's due date. When it's time to birth, the majority of the babies who haven't turned by then will be in a breech presentation. The baby will appear to be sitting in the uterus, head up, buttocks, feet, or both down-at the birth canal's opening, ready to emerge first.
The doctor can determine the baby's position by gently feeling the baby through the mother's abdomen and uterus. The doctor can try to figure out the overall position of the baby's head, back, and buttocks by placing his or her hands at various spots on your lower belly. Ultrasound may be used to confirm the diagnosis if the doctor suspects the baby is in breech position. We may not be able to know for sure whether your baby has settled into a breech presentation until labor has begun because your baby may continue to move around until the end of pregnancy.
The exact causes of breech presentation are unknown. However, it is well recognized that when other conditions are present, breech presentation is more common:
- There is either too much or too little amniotic fluid in the uterus (the liquid that surrounds the baby inside the uterus)
- The placenta (the tissue inside the uterus that connects the baby to the outside world) partially or completely covers the uterus' opening, a condition known as placenta previa.
Breech newborns are more likely to be born prematurely (three weeks or more early and weighing less than five and a half pounds). Breech presentation is more likely early in pregnancy due to the curvature of the uterus and the shape of the baby's head and torso. Breech newborns are more likely to suffer birth abnormalities, which could explain why they haven't rotated into the right position before delivery. Most of those problems would have been visible during previous ultrasounds, thus the chances of that happening are slim.
Can a Breech Presentation Be Changed?
A method known as external version can be used to modify the baby's position in specific instances. The baby is manually moved or turned into a head-down position using this procedure. It does not necessitate surgery. The doctor gently pushes the baby into the head-down position by placing his or her hands at crucial areas on your lower abdomen, as if the baby were doing a slow-motion somersault within the uterus.
The woman is frequently given a medication to relax her uterus first. This medication can make you feel nervous and cause your heart to race, but these side effects are usually minor. Also, many precautions are applied in case difficulties emerge. An ultrasound exam performed ahead of time allows the doctor to evaluate the baby's condition and position, the placenta's location, and the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus more thoroughly. When the baby's knees are stretched, the chances of a successful version are slim.
Your baby's heartbeat will be constantly monitored before, during, and after the procedure.
Efforts to turn the infant would be halted immediately if any issues occur. Around half of all attempts at versioning are successful. If you don't succeed, there's a slim chance the kid will turn over on its own. After a successful version, some babies will shift back into a breech position. If this happens, your doctor may try again, but version becomes more difficult to execute as the due date approaches.
Risks of version
The likelihood of a version is quite low. The most significant danger is pain. The pressure on the abdomen might be unpleasant. The process will be terminated if it becomes too uncomfortable. Distress is a risk for the infant. This is avoided by observing the infants' heart rate during the surgery. Membrane rupture is another danger. This is unlikely, but it is one of the reasons why this procedure is carried out in a hospital. Only a small percentage of patients will experience bleeding. Because the patient can be monitored on a monitor or undergo a Cesarean section, any complications that occur can be addressed.
Vaginal Delivery: Risks and Complications
The baby's head is the largest and firmest section of its body at the time of birth. The body may be able to deliver, but the head will become trapped. This is unlikely, but if it occurs, it could pose a serious threat to the infant and/or the mother. As a result, most couples do not want to take any chances, and if a version is not attempted or is failed, C-section is the preferred delivery method. Premature breech babies are almost always delivered through cesarean delivery.
Another issue is a condition known as cord prolapse. This indicates that the umbilical cord has slid to the bottom of the uterus and is approaching the birth canal. The chord can get pinched when the baby's buttocks and legs travel down into the delivery canal, reducing the baby's oxygen and blood flow. Patients who go into labor or break their membranes with a breech baby and a dilated cervix are at risk for this. If any of these things happen to your breech baby, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
The majority of breech newborns are healthy and normal when they are born. A breech presentation, on the other hand, forces both the mother and the obstetrician to make difficult decisions. Regardless of the technique of delivery, some of the issues associated with breech newborns persist. You will be in the best position to work with your doctor to ensure that the birth goes as smoothly as possible if you are aware of the issues and possible solutions.
- Breech Presentation: When a fetus is positioned with its buttocks or feet down at the top of the birth canal, it is ready to be born first.
- Cesarean delivery is when a baby is delivered through an incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus.
- Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM) is a way of recording the fetus' heartbeat and the mother's uterine contractions using electronic devices.
- External Version: A late-pregnancy treatment in which a doctor attempts to manually turn a breech baby into the normal, head-down position.
- Placenta Previa is a condition in which the placenta is very low in the uterus and partially or completely covers the uterine entrance.
- Vertex Presentation: A position in which a fetus' head is positioned down, at the entrance to the birth canal, ready to be born first, before labor and delivery.
Are breech babies more likely to come early?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5.5 percent of all newborns are breech. With the mother's age, the percentage rises. A mother over 40 is roughly twice as likely as a teenage mother to have a breech baby.
However, because the babies have not yet prepared for the conventional, head-down delivering position, the percentage of breech deliveries rises considerably among premature births, according to Goodman.
What birth defects cause breech position?
If you've had previous pregnancies where your baby was born head-first, you might be able to detect if your baby is breech. It's possible that the lumps and kicks you're feeling are signs that your baby is breech. Tell your doctor where you're experiencing movement. To confirm that your baby is breech, they will feel your belly or perform an ultrasound.
What causes a baby to be breech?
It's not always easy to figure out why a baby is breech. This location could be influenced by a number of things, including:
- You're anticipating a lot of them (twins or more). This makes it more difficult for each baby to find the proper posture.
- The uterus does not have a regular shape or has abnormal growths like fibroids. The uterus is typically shaped like an upside-down pear. If it's shaped differently, a full-grown baby might not be able to fit into it.
- The placenta covers the cervix entirely or partially (a condition called placenta previa).
- The child is premature. This indicates that they are under 37 weeks pregnant and have not yet transitioned to a head-first position.
Are breech babies more painful to carry?
When it comes to giving birth, one of the most common concerns for new mothers is their baby laying bottom up and the implications for their birthing plan. Early in pregnancy, breech is fairly frequent, but by weeks 36-37, most babies will naturally put themselves into the head-first position. If your baby continues in this breech position, your birth may be regarded to be a little more high-risk.
We see ladies who have a breech baby at term on a very regular basis as healthcare professionals working in maternity, so we're used to answering inquiries like yours. To put your mind at ease, we thought it might be good to answer some of the most often asked questions about breech newborns.
Why Might a Baby Lay Breech?
Approximately 3-4 percent of babies are born in the breech position, which is the opposite of the conventional cephalic or head down position, at the end of pregnancy.
It's possible that your kid hasn't turned and is still in the breech position by coincidence, but there are some characteristics that may increase the likelihood of breech posture. These are some of them:
- If the edge of your placenta is close to or covers your cervix, it's a sign that you're pregnant (also known as a placenta praevia)
- When there is either too little or too much amniotic fluid, it is difficult to turn.
Because of the posture they lie in, babies who are breech in the third trimester are more prone to have developmental hip dysplasia (DDH), also known as congenital hip dislocation. A few weeks after delivery, you'll be offered an ultrasound scan of their hips to check for this, and it will be treated if necessary.
What Are My Options for Birth if My Baby is Breech?
Your medical team would normally discuss an external cephalic version (ECV) with you if your baby hasn't showed any signs of transitioning into a head-down delivery position on their own. This can be done at any time between 36 weeks and the early stages of labor, but it works best when your baby has more room to move around around 36-37 weeks. We'll go through this in further depth later.
Both techniques of birth have their own set of dangers and benefits, which should be explored with your healthcare provider in further depth. Giving birth to a breech baby vaginally is usually not any more painful than giving birth to a baby in a head-down position because you'll have the same pain treatment options, albeit there is a higher risk of perinatal morbidity (2:1000 compared to 1:1000 with a cephalic baby). This is mostly owing to the danger of a condition known as head entrapment. The firm skull of a cephalic infant clears the way for the remainder of the body, whereas in a breech birth, the body delivers first and then the head gets trapped. The key to a successful vaginal breech birth is to have it in a unit with healthcare experts who have dealt with this type of birth before.
Between 20 percent and 30 percent of these 3-4 percent of births will not be detected until late in labor, resulting in many breech babies being delivered via emergency caesarean surgery. Your medical team will make suggestions based on what is safest for you and your baby, which may not match your initial birth plan.
Turning a Breech Baby with ECV
The procedure of turning a breech infant in the womb is known as external cephalic version, or ECV. This entails exerting firm but gentle pressure to your abdomen in order to urge your baby to execute a flip and lie head-first in the uterus.
Before the ECV, you will most likely be given a drug to help relax the muscles of your uterus, increasing your chances of turning your baby. An ultrasound scan will be performed before to the EVC to confirm that your baby is in breech position. Your blood pressure and pulse will be checked, and the heartbeat of your baby will be monitored throughout the process to ensure that both of you are safe. After the surgery, you'll undergo another ultrasound scan to assess if the baby has turned.
An ECV can be uncomfortable and painful at times, but if you are in discomfort, the process will be stopped. The surgery takes only a few minutes, and women's experiences vary greatly, with 5 percent to 1/3 experiencing substantial pain. The most essential thing to remember is that you are in control of the situation and can ask for it to stop at any time. After the ECV, if you feel any bleeding, abdominal pain, contractions, or decreased fetal movements, contact your doctor, midwife, or hospital right away.
It's worth noting that an EVC would not be performed in any of the following situations:
An EVC is successful in around half of the cases, and it is usually more successful if you have had a natural, vaginal birth before. The risks are minor, with studies indicating a 0.5 percent increased risk of emergency caesarean delivery in the 24 hours after a successful ECV and no difference in Apgar scores in newborns.
What Other Options Do I Have To Help Turn My Baby?
- Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese technique for increasing fetal activity by burning dried mugwort.
- Acupuncture Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners recommend acupuncture to help turn your baby, but there are no studies to back this up.
- Yoga there isn't enough research to say whether postural changes enhance your baby's chances of turning. Putting yourself in a forward and open position, on the other hand, may give your baby more room to turn.