Midwife Matters

Pregnancy preparations, women's health, and care options

How can I attempt a version if my baby is in a breech position?

What is a version?

A version is a way to turn a breech baby’s position from a head-up to a head-down position. Two health professionals apply gentle, steady force on the outside of the uterus to the baby’s head and bottom to cause the baby to turn a somersault. The goal is for the head to be down instead of the buttocks. Patients who undergo successful version can labor normally, avoiding the need for planned cesarean delivery.

What are the chances of success?

The chance for a successful version is about 50 percent. The chance for success varies with each pregnancy, and will depend on whether this is your first baby or you have had other babies, the position of the placenta, the baby’s position and how close you are to your due date. Your midwife will discuss your individual factors and how they may affect your chances for a successful version.

What are the risks?

The likelihood for significant complications from version attempts is small, probably in the 1 to 2 percent range. These include the possibility of the placenta separating from the side of the uterus, umbilical cord entanglement and injury to you or the fetus. Measure are taken to minimize these complications. Ultrasound will identify the baby’s position and the baby’s heart rate will be monitored before, during and after the procedure. Initially, you’ll receive an injection of medicine to help relax the uterus. You’ll also have an IV in case an urgent cesarean delivery becomes necessary.

Where are versions performed?

Version attempts are performed at the hospital where you would go for delivery. Your midwife will schedule your appointment and can answer any further questions you may have.

« Pregnancy 3rd Trimester

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