Hearing that your baby is in a breech position can cause distress and worry to moms who are about to give birth. Breech, or suhi, in Filipino, is when your baby’s feet are poised to come out first.
If a baby is detected as a breech at the beginning of a pregnant woman’s third trimester, the chances are good that he will turn on his own over the next two months. But if he is still in a breech position near the due date, then a doctor is likely to recommend a C-section for delivery to ensure the baby's safety.
Moms who have breech babies can try a number of ways to turn their babies, including yoga, acupuncture, swimming, and pelvic tilts — with their doctor’s approval, of course. On SmartParenting.com’sParent Chat, some moms have shared their doctors told them playing music or talking to their baby might even help. No harm in trying, right?
What looks painful and scary, however, is External Cephalic Version (ECV), a technique where a doctor places firm but gentle pressure on the abdomen of pregnant women at 36 to 38 weeks to encourage the baby to turn. We've seen several ECV videos, and it always leaves us "nanghihina."
One such video was an ECV done on VanessaFisher, a mom from Forth Worth, Texas, in the United States last December. She shared a video of her successful — and we have to say epic — ECV at 38 weeks, which was performed in the hospital by her doctor. The video has been viewed over 4 million times and has gotten more than 27,800 shares.
In the accompanying caption, Vanessa says that before the procedure, she and her doctor attempted some other methods to turn the baby naturally. “Ultimately, our goal is to avoid a cesarean section by any means possible,” she says before urging others to share the video and be informed that this kind of option is available to fellow mommas with breech babies.
Watch the video below to see Fisher’s doctor manually adjust baby’s position. Warning: The following video has graphic content.
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While Vanessa looks a little uncomfortable in some parts of the video, she wows as how she was able to maintain her composure until the end. In fact, some Facebook users who supposedly went through the same experience shared that it was very painful for them.
User Ashley Wilkes commented, “It hurts so bad. Like beyond words for me. I screamed the whole time. My doc tugged and pulled for about 15 minutes. He was NOT that gentle.”
Another user, Kendra Amorski, shared that while she tried it when she was pregnant with her first child, it was unsuccessful. “And extremely painful,” she said.
Less than a month after Vanessa’s video was uploaded on Facebook, her husband, Nick, replied in the comments to share that their baby was born at home on January 16, head down first. “Mommy is doing great and recovering well,” Nick says.
It is advised for ECV to be performed near a delivery room so that if a problem occurs, a C-section can be performed quickly and as necessary.
Complications may also occur with ECV, including premature rupture of membranes, changes in the baby’s heart rate, placental abruption (where the placenta partially or completely separates from your uterus before the baby is born), and preterm labor.
ECV is not advised if you are carrying more than one baby in your womb (i.e., twins), if there are concerns about the health of the baby, you have certain abnormalities in your reproductive system, or the placenta is in the wrong place or has detached from the wall of the uterus.
According to Dr. Diana L. Sarmiento, an ob-gyn who holds clinic at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, and runs the website Filipina M.D., ECV is a very specialized procedure. “The opportunity to perform those techniques are very rare considering the chance of having a breech baby is only three out of 100 pregnancies,” she says on her website.
It is important to clarify with your doctor whether he or she advises an ECV, if they have done it before or if they are confident in performing the procedure.
Ultimately, your baby’s safety is the number one priority. While it is good to know that these options are available, it is still best to discuss and trust your doctor so you can have a worry-free delivery.