Many of us have heard of the term breech baby, but unless it directly affects us we don’t really think about what it actually means and the consequences.


If you have been told to expect a breech birth, here’s what you need to know:


1. What does a breech birth mean?

A breech birth means your baby’s bum or legs are over the vagina and will come out first rather than their head.


2. What causes it?

As the baby is able to float around the womb they can sometimes settle in the wrong position, with their bum or legs in the pelvis rather than their head; a rare condition, only about 4% of babies actually end up like this.


3. Can anything be done to correct it before birth?

Your midwife may try to turn your baby in the womb, but you must be at least 36 weeks before this option would be considered. Sometimes the baby can return to the breech position even after turning, however. 


4. Will I have to have a Caesarean delivery?

The need for a Caesarean depends on your baby’s position with a vaginal birth possible if it is considered safe by your doctor. However, as their head will be the last thing to be delivered a Caesarean is usually considered the safer option. If you do have a vaginal delivery, a forceps may be required. 


5. Are all breech positions the same?

There are three different types of breech positions, all of which vary in severity:

  • Complete breech – when Baby is sitting at the opening of the vagina
  • Incomplete breech – when Baby’s knees or legs are where their head should be
  • Frank breech – when the legs are extended up to their face and their bum is just at the top of the vagina


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