Vaginal birth for breech babies often safer than C-sections

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. Link

About 4 percent of babies about to be born are in the breech position ... Mainstream medicine has long seen this as a virtually mandatory reason to ]perform] a Caesarian section ... for breech births ... C-sections soon became the "only way" for those deliveries in hospitals.

But now ... researchers have come up with evidence C-sections are not the best way to deliver most babies in breech position. Recent studies ... [conclude that] not only are breech babies generally at no more at risk during vaginal delivery than if delivered by C-section, but natural vaginal delivery is far safer for mothers.

... C-section is not simply another method of delivering a baby. It is a major surgical procedure that carries with it some potentially life threatening risks; it also decreases the chances a woman can breastfeed. What's more, having a C-section also increases risks for women when they become pregnant again in the future. That's because once a woman has delivered by C-section, it becomes more dangerous and occasionally impossible to deliver vaginally because the Caesarian section surgery raises the risk uterine walls and muscles could rupture during birth ...

It is very hard to find a supportive obstetrician for a breech birth. Breech birth is considered to be outside the scope of midwifery practice, with our ACM Guidelines recommending that women with a breech baby in labour have their care transferred to an obstetrician. There are a few private midwives who are very skilled at attending breech births at home, but generally speaking a woman who chooses to have a vaginal breech birth in hospital will be met with a lot of resistance from staff, and the management of labour almost certainly leads her to the operating theatre. The best chance of a natural breech birth will occur with private midwifery care in a hospital, or at home if you can find a midwife to support you there.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448