Frequently Asked Questions
Is my baby breech because there is something wrong with it?
It is important to remember that the majority of breech babies are breech for no obvious reason.
Why won’t my doctor do an ECV?
- There are a variety of reasons why your doctor may not perform an ECV. This might be related to their experience, your condition or your baby’s condition.
- There may be limited back up at their practising hospital if an emergency arises.
- They may not feel comfortable performing ECV.
- They may have had limited success in the past.
- They may have had a bad experience in the past.
Can I have more than one attempt at ECV?
This will need to be discussed with your care-provider. While some are happy to attempt multiple ECVs, most will not. If you want another try this could be discussed with your doctor or midwife.
Do I have to have an ECV
No. It is your decision as to whether or not you try an ECV. It is worth discussing the procedure with your doctor, even if you do not think it is the right choice for you. If you have a care-provider supportive of vaginal breech birth, you may decide not to undergo ECV.
How do I get a valid second opinion about my birth options?
You can call your nearest tertiary hospital for advice even if you are not booked to have your baby there. They may be able to assist you. An independent midwife may also be able to assist you. Unless they are known to support ECV and vaginal breech birth, a doctor’s colleague may not be the best independent second opinion as they are likely to share the opinion of their colleague.
There is a list of care-providers who may support a vaginal breech birth on Belly Belly's website. We may also be able to put you in touch with women from your area who have been in your situation or in touch with possible care-providers to approach. Join us on Facebook.
If I have a caesarean will my baby be able to stay with me after delivery?
Most hospitals try to keep the baby with the mother after birth. If you have complications from your surgery your baby may need to leave the operating theatre as well as your partner/support person. This is to allow more staff into the operating theatre. In this instance, your support person should be able to stay with the baby. This can be discussed with your place of birth. Contact Birthrites for advice about how to have a 'positive caesarean'.
If I decide to have a caesarean, can I wait until I go into labour before I have the surgery?
- You will need to negotiate this with your care-providers. It is more likely to be a good option in a larger hospital where there are anaesthetists on duty 24/7.
- Some believe it is beneficial to wait if possible as it gives the baby the opportunity to turn right up until the moment before labour starts.
- Waiting will also avoid an accidental preterm birth if your baby’s due date has not been correctly calculated or predicted.
- The contractions of labour also help to stimulate the baby’s immune system.
If I decide to have a caesarean section, does that mean I will always have to have a caesarean section?
No. There is an option to have a vaginal birth after a caesarean section (VBAC). However, these labours are considered more risky and you will need to find a care-provider in your next pregnancy that supports VBAC. The organisation Birthrites can help with this process.
Why won’t my doctor do a vaginal breech birth?
This could be due to a variety of reasons:
- They may not have a lot of experience attending vaginal breech births.
- May not feel comfortable attending vaginal breech births.
- May have had a bad experience in the past.
- There may not be suitable back-up at the hospital where they practise (on call anaesthetists, paediatricians, experienced midwives, 24 hour operating theatre staff).
- They may not believe in vaginal breech birth.
- Defensive practice in current childbirth culture means that doctors are more likely to err on the side of intervention (caesarean section) rather than non-intervention (vaginal birth).
- It is easier for a doctor to perform a caesarean section than a skilled vaginal breech birth.
- Caesarean is an accepted birth method in today’s culture.
Some care-provders who support vaginal breech birth prefer women to use epidurals in case of the need for a caesarean. Other care-providers who support vaginal breech birth do not recommend epidurals for breech. This is therefore something you will need to discuss with your care-provider. However, you should not be coerced into having an epidural.
Do I have to give birth flat on my back?
Many doctors learn how to do “breech manoeuvres” (a series of twists and turns on the baby to help them through the birth canal) with women lying on their backs with their legs in stirrups. There is evidence that women birthing upright or on all fours have better births and need less assistance. How you birth your baby will need to be negotiated with your birth attendant. You can read a range of different birth experiences on our Birth Stories page.
If I can’t decide how to have my baby what should I do?
Talk through your options in your own time with a doctor or midwife. Find out whether you are considered to be a suitable candidate for a trial of labour (and why). Get a second opinion if you are unhappy with the advice you have been given.
It is your birth and your decision.