North Carolina women who grew up hearing stories of pregnancy and delivery complications from early generations might remember discussions about breech births, or abnormal presentation births. In bygone days, these complications caused pregnant women and their doctors a lot of worry. While advancements in medical care have made breech deliveries less frightening, they can still be very dangerous and can cause devastating birth injuries.
Even an otherwise normal pregnancy can end in an abnormal presentation birth. At this point, the doctor has three options to choose from: a cesarean section, a vaginal breech delivery or an attempt to “turn” the baby from outside of the abdomen. This last option is known as an external cephalic version. For many pregnant women, the vaginal delivery method sounds ideal, but the fetus must be in a favorable position to assure success and prevent fetal injury.
An external cephalic version attempt can yield success, but pregnant mothers should understand that the maneuvers can result in fetal injury. Additionally, if the infant’s head becomes trapped (entrapment) or the umbilical cord is compressed (umbilical cord prolapse) the baby could suffer serious injury or even death. External cephalic versions should only be attempted in a delivery room equipped with a fetal heart monitor and ultrasound machine.
Most physicians choose to perform a cesarean section in an abnormal presentation because of the relative safety of the procedure. Further, a c-section is the birth method recommended by the American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics if an external cephalic version fails.
For additional information about the risks of birth injury, please explore the legal website of the Melvin Law Firm based in Greenville, North Carolina.