By the 36th week of most
pregnancies, the fetus naturally turns head-down (vertex). In this position,
the fetus is ready for a head-first delivery through the birth canal. If your
fetus is bottom-down (breech position) as your due date
approaches, your doctor will most likely recommend a scheduled
cesarean delivery (C-section). But if your fetus can
be turned before labor starts, you can try for a vaginal labor and
See pictures of different
breech positions .
Turning a breech fetus
A version procedure can turn a baby from a breech position to a head-down
position. Also, you can ask your doctor if you can try certain positions at home
that may help turn your baby. There is no research to prove that this works,
but it?s not harmful. It may work for you.
- External cephalic version (or version)
is done in a medical setting with constant fetal heart rate monitoring. You
will have an ultrasound before and after the version attempt. Your doctor may
first give you a medicine to relax your uterine muscles. To turn the fetus,
your doctor will press on specific areas of your abdomen. Version can be
repeated several times if the first attempts to turn the fetus are
- Postural management is something you do
at home. You carefully position yourself with your hips raised above your head
several times a day for several weeks.
If a version is successful, your fetus's position will be
checked regularly until labor begins. If your fetus stays head-down, a planned
cesarean is not needed, and you can expect to go through labor. You may deliver
vaginally or by cesarean, depending on how the birthing process goes.
Delivering a breech baby
Most breech babies
are delivered by planned cesarean section (C-section) to prevent harm to the
baby. If your fetus stays in or returns to breech position near your due
date, your doctor will likely schedule a cesarean. For more information, see
Sometimes a cesarean
breech birth is neither possible nor recommended. When a breech labor
progresses too quickly, a vaginal birth may be the only delivery option. During
a twin birth, a second twin who is breech may best be delivered
A fetus in a breech position can be delivered
family medicine doctor with training in cesarean
If you have a
certified nurse-midwife or
certified professional midwife for obstetric care, and your baby is breech, your midwife will refer you to a doctor for an external cephalic version or a scheduled C-section.
pediatrician or family medicine doctor may be present
during the delivery in case your newborn needs care after birth.