(KUTV) You’ve possibly heard a pregnant woman say, “My baby is breech,” but what exactly does that mean?
“A breech presentation is when the baby is coming into the pelvis either feet first or bottom first instead of being head first,” says Dr. Sean Esplin, Maternal/Fetal Medicine Physician at Intermountain Medical Center.
At 28-weeks, about 25% of babies are breech. That number drops to 15% at 32-weeks. If, like 3-4% of pregnancies, your baby is still breech at 37-weeks, Dr. Esplin says they’ll most likely try and change the baby’s position. One option is to have your provider try and turn the baby using a procedure called an external cephalic version.
“So you try to lift its bottom or its feet out of the maternal pelvis and then push on the head to try and make it do a somersault,” says Dr. Esplin.
This is successful about 60-70% of the time. If it doesn’t work, the next step is to discuss possible delivery options.
“Babies can deliver vaginally from the breech presentation, but it’s just a little bit more traumatic for them,” explains Dr. Esplin.
Studies show breech babies have better outcomes and are less likely to end up in the NICU when delivered by C-section. Since the risk for baby is high enough, Dr. Esplin explains that most of the time it outweighs the cesarean risk for mom.
Doctors aren’t sure exactly why a baby may or may not be breech, but there are some risk factors.
“Early delivery, low fluid, abnormal shape to the uterus are the most common things that make babies be breech,” says Dr. Esplin.