Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size
A
A
A

Childbirth Complications

Childbirth Complications

Abnormal Presentation continued...

One option typically offered to women after 36 weeks is an "external cephalic version," which involves manually rotating the baby in cog-like fashion inside the uterus. These manipulations work about 50% to 60% of the time. They're usually more successful on women who have given birth previously because their uteruses stretch more easily.

"Versions" typically take place in the hospital, just in case an emergency cesarean delivery becomes necessary. To make the procedure easier to perform, safer for the baby and more tolerable for the mother-to-be, doctors sometimes administer a uterine muscle relaxant, then use an ultrasound machine and electronic fetal monitor as guides. The procedure typically doesn't involve anesthesia, but sometimes an epidural can help with the version. Since not all doctors have been trained to do versions, you may be referred to another obstetrician in your area.

There is a very small risk that the maneuver could cause the baby's cord to become entangled or the placenta to separate from the uterus. There's also a chance that the baby might flip back into a breech position before delivery, so some doctors induce labor immediately. The risk of reverting to breech is lower closer to term, but the bigger the baby, the harder it is to turn.

The procedure can be uncomfortable, but avoids a cesarean section, which is most likely if the baby can't be moved into the proper position.

Umbilical Cord

Umbilical cord prolapse happens more often when a fetus is small, preterm, in breech (frank, complete or incomplete/footling) presentation, or if its head hasn't entered the mother's pelvis yet ("floating presenting part"). This prolapse can occur, too, if the amniotic sac breaks before the fetus has moved into place in the pelvis.

Umbilical cord prolapse is an emergency. If you are not at the hospital when it happens, call an ambulance to take you there. Until help arrives, get on your hands and knees with your chest on the floor and your buttocks raised. In this position, gravity will help keep the baby from pressing against the cord and cutting off his or her blood and oxygen supply. Once you get to the hospital, a cesarean delivery will probably be performed unless a vaginal birth is already progressing naturally.

Umbilical Cord Compression

Umbilical cord compression can occur if the cord becomes wrapped around the baby's neck or if it is positioned between the baby's head and the mother's pelvic bone. You may be given oxygen to increase the amount available to your baby. Your doctor may hurry along the delivery by using forceps or vacuum assistance, or in some cases, delivering the baby by cesarean section.

1 | 2 | 3

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

Woman smiling as she reads pregnancy test
Slideshow
pregnant woman with salad
Quiz
 
pregnancy am i pregnant
Article
babyapp
NEW
 

slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 

pregnant woman
Article
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
Video
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Tool
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Video