Hands Off The Breech!
18 Apr

You may have seen in the press recently the suggestion by UK researchers that all mothers should be offered a scan at 36 weeks to detect whether their baby is in a breech presentation. Whilst I understand the premise behind this is to prevent potential poor outcomes for babies in breech presentation, I have to say honestly the idea of blanket screening in this manner makes me mildly uncomfortable.  To offer all women an extra ultrasound makes the assumption that breech presentation is, without exception, a problem that needs to be medically managed, and this is not always the case.  We are slowly growing in confidence in the physiological birth of breech babies and in a number of cases breech is now considered by many to be, whilst unusual, still normal.  Even if you do not consider the unknown affect of exposing baby to further ultrasound scanning, to offer ultrasound at 36 weeks may very well result in more women being offered a c-section should a breech presentation be revealed, which in itself carries a number of risks.  Apart from this there is still a possibility that your baby could turn by themselves even after 36 weeks has passed, it happens more than you might think, and so in those circumstances the anxiety and stress a detected breech presentation may cause to a mother would all have been for nothing.   Acclaimed Midwife Sara Wickham has published a thorough, reasoned and considered response to the concept of universal ultrasound for this purpose. This response is essential reading for parents to be, so please do have a look and remember to take ALL evidence based research and fact into account and fully assess benefits and risks to you and your baby if you are ever in this situation yourself.  You can find the article along with a great many other useful resources here.

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