Every pregnant woman hopes for a safe and healthy delivery. Throughout the pregnancy, many times, they are introduced to different types of terminology. For instance, some may hear the phrase “breech birth” and wonder exactly what it means and what happens if it occurs.
Occurring in one out of 25 full-term births, a baby is in breech position when its buttocks or feet move closer to the birth canal and are positioned to be delivered first, before the head.
Situations Where Breech Births are Likely to Occur
Although the exact cause of breech births is still unknown, they are more common in women who have a history of premature delivery. Women who have given birth before or are carrying twins or triplets are also more likely to experience a breech birth.
Certain uterus characteristics also play a role in breech births. Women with unusual growths on their uterus, such as fibroids, or an oddly shaped uterus may be more prone to a breech birth.
What Happens When a Baby is in Breech Position?
If a baby is in breech position, a vaginal delivery will not be attempted due to the potential for delivery trauma and other risks involved. Because the head is the last part of the body to emerge, it often has a hard time traveling through the birth canal.
There is also potential for squeezing of the umbilical cord as the baby makes its way through the birth canal. This reduces the supply of blood and oxygen available for the baby.
There are a wide variety of birth options for babies in the breech position. Doctors normally recommend a cesarean delivery, especially for premature babies.
Some methods attempt to get the baby out of the breech position. One option is an “external version.” In this situation, the mother is given a medication to relax the uterus. The doctor then pushes gently on the abdomen in an attempt to maneuver the baby into a head first position.
Another option is called the “breech tilt” and can be tried at home with pillows. The mother raises her hips off the floor using pillows for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Other options include chiropractic techniques and even music.