External Cephalic Version: Turning a Breech Baby.

Discussion in 'Third Trimester' started by CyberGazer, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. CyberGazer

    CyberGazer Member

    Jun 8, 2005
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    Hi there all, Apologies in advance for length of submission but on searching earlier this week I found very little info about this procedure so thought I’d let you all know my experience in case anyone is in a similar situation.

    On Monday I attended my routine Midwife’s (36wk) appointment where protein and high blood pressure were diagnosed and after palpating my belly it was discovered my previously transverse nipper had decided to sit up attention in the breech position. The midwife immediately scheduled an appointment at our local hospital antenatal unit for a further check of protein, blood pressure and go for a scan to confirm the presentation for the next day.

    On Tues I attended the clinic and was referred for the scan prior to meeting the Doctor. The Ultrasound revealed that our baby was in the breech position, bum presenting with legs extended (and hands grasping feet, bless him/her). By measuring head, tummy and leg measurements they were able to determine that (s)he’s 6lbs. We then went to clinic where very luckily the protein had disappeared and my blood pressure had returned within normal range for me. The nurse explained that in our area they do not delivery breech babies vaginally, she supplied us with a leaflet about ECV (External Cephalic Version) and talked to us about the procedure, the risks, the rates of success and also chatted about old wives tales for turning the baby (frozen peas on the tummy). We decided to go for it. We were then met by the Doctor who would be performing the procedure and further explained the rates of success, apparently the procedure is much more successful for those who’ve previously had babies, and the position of our baby’s legs further reduced our rates of success. Still we went ahead thinking its better to try for as “normal” as possible vaginal delivery, if it didn’t work then we’d have to have the c-section anyway so nothing ventured nothing gained. We were scheduled for the procedure the very next day as the Doctor preferred to do it between 36wks-37wks.

    I can’t say I slept very well last night, I’m a one for googling symptoms and jumping to conclusions but was relatively relieved to find that 36wks gestational delivery carries a lower risk of birth deflects and anything over 5lb8 is considered a normal birth weight… not that the chances of going into labour are very high or any other problems associated with placenta/cord but facing anything like this your mind logically jumps to conclusions :)

    In the morning I tried a few of the old wives tales, tricks and exercises on the web before we headed over to the hospital on the off chance. We arrived early and were admitted. I changed into a gown and got up on the bed in the labour ward, the midwife placed the foetal and uterus monitoring device pads on my tummy and secured them around me with elastic belts. We listened to the babies heartbeat for a while and watched the scratchy pen needles chart the heart rate, sometimes the heart rate would reach very high and others very low…this concerned me but variation is apparently good as I suppose it indicates the babies activity. After approx an hours monitoring my tummy was scanned again to verify the position and presentation of the baby as well as check amniotic levels and cord/placenta position. Once the doctor was satisfied with her findings I was given the injection to soften the uterus (sorry I didn’t note the name). The injection take 20mins to become affective, after 10mins my pulse rate increased lots and I began to feel a little shaky and woozy, its normal to feel a little strange as it increases your pulse rate but any dizziness should be reported immediately. After another hour the Doctor can back to perform the turn (it was an extremely busy day on ward today… with the midwives precious time being taken up by complaining idiots rather than the expectant/imminent mums).

    The turn itself was pretty painful, I’m sure nothing compared to labour pain but uncomfortable to say the least. I was offered gas and air but declined preferring to visualize and force myself to relax into it. The more relaxed you are the easier it is to turn. I thought of the faces of my caring friends and family and let the weirdness go, I had every faith in the doctor and the midwives there and knew that should it become too much they would stop immediately. She managed to turn the baby around first time within 10mins stopping at one point to verify location. I’m very glad I forced myself to relax as I don’t think I would have liked to do it multiple times (they only try 3 times).

    After the turn the foetal and uterus monitor was hooked back up for 30mins (ish) before we were discharged to re-attend in a weeks time to ensure that (s)he’s stayed put in the head down position. I hope so. I had planned a natural as possible birth in my birth plan but am fully prepared to for-go that in order to have safe deliver of my baby.

    I feel a little tender now, and am getting used to the kicks in different places but am feeling fine. I’m to take it easy over the next few days and keep an eye out for the normal labour signs (show, waters, stuff) as well as monitoring baby’s movements.

    All in all, I’m very glad I followed this procedure and proud of myself for doing it. At certain points over the last few days I’ve fantasized over the convenience of picking the c-section / birth date but I’d really like to try to experience labour and vaginal delivery…although I’m sure when it gets to the day I’ll curse that decision :)

    Anyway I hope all that helps, my final line is really to remember to chill with it, think of reassuring things and think yourself the other side of it… it doesn’t take that long to do and gives you many more options as far as birthing the way you’d prefer.
  2. Kerry

    Kerry Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Well done you!!

    Baby turning can be quite tough for some women and you did so well with your visualisations etc!

    Now you can look forward to a nice normal birth!!

    Much love

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