Should all breech babies be delivered by cesarean?
Cesarean birth is not without significant risk, but every birth attendant has heard of or has witnessed the trauma that can occur in a breech birth. Although rare, it happens when the fetal buttocks pass through an incompletely dilated cervix and the cervix then clamps tightly around the fetal head.
Research indicates that many breech babies have a slightly reduced risk of injury and death if cesarean birth is planned. But one recent review found that most poor outcomes related to breech birth had nothing to do with the mode of delivery. Moreover, analysis of the outcome after two years has shown no difference between vaginal and abdominal deliveries of breech babies. Vaginal breech delivery with trained, skilled practitioners should still be a viable option for many mothers. Unfortunately, as liability claims rise, fewer doctors and midwives have the chance to become proficient at the techniques of breech delivery.
My baby is breech. What can I do?
Read as much as you can about breech birth from diverse sources. Also, discuss delivery options with your doctor or midwife, and consider the following:
-- Find out if you're a good candidate for version or for vaginal breech birth.
-- Ask nurses who work in birthing centers or labor and delivery settings if they can recommend a doctor or midwife who is experienced with breech birth.
-- Seek information on alternative therapies and visit a chiropractor who is versed in obstetric management. Although breech tilt exercises and moxibustion have not been proven to be effective in a statistical sense, they cause no harm and may prove to be effective on an individual basis.
-- Seek the support and guidance of your partner and family. This is no time to go it alone. Put your faith and trust in your midwife or doctor. Midwives and doctors can guide you through the research and differing opinions and discuss the options they feel are best for you and your baby.