During the lifecycle of a pregnancy, parents are faced with a number of choices and of that, the choice of vaginal birth or cesarian often needs to be discussed. According to research, the expects around 15,000 surprise breech births to go through hospitals, which put both mother and baby at risk. Of these, 4,000 are expected to be emergency c-sections. While hospitals are all they can to manage premature births, there still exists a gap between patient care and the actual birthing event. While a late term ultrasound is important, the skills gap is evident.
Lack Of Training
While technology and education seem to be of the highest standard, especially in the medical field, there seems to be a major gap in obstetrics when it comes to breech births. According to a study to find whether breech births are at a higher risk when performed at home, a surprising discovery revealed that hospitals don’t necessarily have the skills to deal with this type of birth anymore.
The option for Vaginal Breech Birth (VBB) has reduced significantly as the option for c-section increased. Form the 1980s, women have been pushed towards a cesarian section as the only option for breech births. Women should have an option whether they deliver VBB or through a c-section, however, if forcing this decision on their healthcare professional, might end up risking both their lives. In order to eradicate the risk posed by a VBB, healthcare professionals are trained to opt for c-section from the start.
The Critical Period
One of the best ways reduce the chances of going into labour while the baby is in a breech position, is to ensure that regular scans happen towards the end of the pregnancy. This could mean a scan a week for the last month of gestation, especially for those who plan on vaginal delivery. Healthcare professionals will need to monitor mother and baby to ensure that both are in good health in order to be considered, as a breech delivery could add more stress to both.
Version As An Option
An external cephalic version (ECV) is the modern antidote to breech pregnancies and for parents, this could be an opportunity to have a vaginal birth as an option again.ECV procedures may have their own risks and are not always successful. Many medical institutions no longer allow their staff to perform breech deliveries unless they have staff on board with the necessary training. Those who decline version should be aware of the inherent risks in vaginal birth. Perinatal mortality through cesarian birth is 0.5/1000 at 39 weeks gestation. Those who opt for vaginal birth run a higher risk at 2/1000 for the same period. Planned cephalic birth is 1/1000 for the same gestation period and whilst there is still a chance of mortality, the risk is certainly reduced.
Medical professionals who attempt a breech delivery without the proper training put the health of their patients at risk. It’s also important that the patient understands the terms and conditions of their health cover, and whether voluntarily opting for a breech delivery is covered.
Author: Sandy Kenrick
Sandy Kenrick swapped a fast-paced career as business banker for the insurance industry. Long hours and a new family quickly led her to look beyond the world of finance. As a work from home mom, Sandy now gets to do what she loves. Much of her work still involves finance and business, but when that mid-afternoon sun swings around it’s time to switch off the laptop, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy her growing family.