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Breech Births: What Can I Do If My Baby Is Breech?

Updated March 26, 2021 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

 What Is a Breech Birth?

A few weeks prior to delivery, babies are typically in a head down or head first position in the mother’s uterus. However, some babies remain in a bottom first or feet first position. When this occurs, it’s called breech presentation or breech baby. This positioning of the baby is most commonly referred to as breech birth, and it occurs in about 1 of every 25 full-term births.

While most breech babies are born healthy, complications can occur if not treated properly. Your doctor should be able to tell that your baby is breech and help plan for the safest delivery possible.

What Are the Different Types of Breech Birth Presentations?

Breech presentations are categorized into three different types: complete breech, frank breech, and footling breech.

Complete Breech

In a complete breech position, the rear end of the baby is pointing downward with the legs folded at the knees and the feet near the rear end.

Frank Breech

In a frank breech position, the rear end of the baby is aimed at the birth canal with the legs sticking straight up in front of his or her body and the feet near the head.

Incomplete Breech

In an incomplete breech position, one or both of the baby’s feet point downward and will deliver before the rest of the body.

What Causes Breech Births?

The causes of breech births are not fully understood. However, there are certain factors that put some pregnant women more at risk for having breech babies than others. These factors include:

  • Subsequent pregnancies
  • Women carrying multiple babies
  • Women with a history of premature delivery
  • Women who have placenta previa
  • When the uterus has too much or too little amniotic fluid
  • When there is an abnormal shaped uterus or a uterus with abnormal growths

What Are the Risks and Complications of Breech Births?

Some breech babies can be delivered vaginally, but most doctors deliver breech babies by cesarean delivery (C-section). There are different risks involved with both vaginal delivery and cesarean delivery.

Risks as a result of vaginal delivery may include:

  • Complications with the baby’s umbilical cord
  • Nerve and brain damage due to lack of oxygen
  • Development of a birth injury where the baby’s hip bone and thigh socket become separated

Risks as a result of cesarean delivery include:

  • Bleeding and/or infection in the mother
  • Longer hospital stays for both mother and baby

Negligence in Breech Births

If your baby is breech in the final weeks of your pregnancy, your doctor should attempt an external cephalic version. This is when the doctor uses an ultrasound to watch your baby, manipulates your pelvis, and attempts to force the baby to turn. If the external cephalic version is unsafe or ineffective, the doctor should order a cesarean section delivery. Failure to attempt an external cephalic version and failure to order a C-section are two common examples of negligence in breech births.

Contact a Birth Injury Attorney Today

The Indianapolis Birth Injury Attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham have years of experience with cases like yours and a passion for getting families the care that they need. Our attorneys and staff can help you build a case and ensure you’re not alone during this difficult time.

With a strong and trustworthy birth injury attorney, you’ll have someone advocating for what’s rightfully yours. Contact the attorneys at WKW for a consultation to decide how to best move forward with your case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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