External Cephalic VersionWhat are the chances that an external cephalic version will be successful?
External Cephalic Version
When a fetus is sitting in a breech or transverse position close to the end of pregnancy or right before birth, an external cephalic version, or version, may be performed. If the procedure is successful, the woman can try a vaginal delivery.
Normally, an external cephalic version is performed around 36-37 weeks of pregnancy or right before birth before the membranes have ruptured. Many doctors prefer to wait until right before delivery because labor is already being constantly monitored and a cesarean section can be performed immediately if needed. However, if labor progresses quickly or the membranes rupture a version can not be performed. A version may be more successful if done earlier because the baby is smaller and has more amniotic fluid and space to turn.
An external cephalic version should not be attempted when the mother is expecting multiple babies. If the baby has already dropped into the pelvis, the version should not be performed. Because a baby is likely to be injured if there is a low amount of amniotic fluid, the procedure should not be done if the fluid is low. If a condition is present that requires a cesarean delivery anyways, the version will not be performed. If fetal monitoring shows that the baby is distressed, the version will be stopped immediately.
As with any procedure, there are risks involved with an external cephalic version. The procedure will most likely be monitored closely by ultrasound and electronic fetal heart monitors. An ultrasound will be given to confirm the position of the baby and placenta and measure the amount of amniotic fluid present. A fetal heart monitor will be used to monitor your baby's heart rate before, during and after the attempt. If the baby is showing signs of distress, the version will be stopped.
Some doctors will give their patients an injection of medicine to relax the uterus and prevent contractions. The doctor will then try to turn the fetus with his hands while the uterus is relaxed. This is done by placing both hands on the surface of your abdomen. One hand will go by the baby's head and the other will go by the baby's bottom. The doctor will then attempt to roll the baby into a head down position. During the procedure, the mother may experience some pain or discomfort. If the first attempt is not successful, a second attempt may be made.
External cephalic version has a 58% sucess rate. The procedure works best when the mother has already had one pregnancy and gone through atleast one childbirth. The procedure is not as likely to work if the doctor can not grasp the head or the uterus is hard to the touch. Approximately 4% of babies will return to a breech position after a successful version.
Although complications are rare during an external cephalic version, they do occur. The major risks involved with the procedure is the chance that the version can open up old cesarean section scars, rupturing the amniotic sac, rupturing the uerus, damaging the umbilical cord or causing placental abruption. The umbilical cord can also become twisted or squeezed, which can reduce blood flow and oxygen to the baby.
Comments: External Cephalic Version
Comments 1 to 7 of about 7.
356 days ago.
I had an ECV 10 months ago and still the effects are heavy on my mind. This procedure was extremely painful. Even after being given shots and valium. The pain was nearly unbearable. my baby was Frank Breech. This being my first child, my Doctor was hoping to increase my chances of having a natural childbirth. I commend my doctor and I have nothing against him, but this procedure was horrible. After an hour of laying on the table, him pushing on my baby with all of his might- he finally gave up. They stopped every few minutes to check on the baby, and when they finished they got me all hooked up to monitor for 'an hour or so' so make sure she was alright. I was there all day. they were trying to keep me calm by saying that they jsut wanted to be sure, and that they wanted another opinion and so on. But that afternoon the entire staff came running into my room- dressed for surgery. I was rushed into an emergency c-section 3 1/2 weeks early. Maggie didn't breathe for an entire minute after she was born. It was the longest 60 seconds of my life. she is now a happy and healthy 10 month old and has had no problems. However, I would not reccomend the ECV to ANYONE. Ever. The next day my doctor returned and told me that their best guess is that her cord was pinched while they tried to turn her. there was no way to tell that this had happened other than her decreased heart rate- which they had assumed was from the stress. When it didn't increase after HOURS they finally knew they had to act fast. In the end, we are all happy and healthy, except for the several ribs I fractured from the ordeal, my family Doctor told me I will feel the chest pain for the rest of my life. I know that every situation is different. But I will tell everyone I know NOT to take this risk. sawzaw
1364 days ago.
I just went to the hospital to have a ECV. The doctor had to stop because it was too painful. I have very bad stretch marks from my previous pregnancy which has left my skin very thin so with the pressure and the pulling . Oh my goodness the PAIN!!!!! I would rather go through child birth.haha! jenakatessa
1399 days ago.
I thought it hurt!!! my baby wouldnt turn either, and its my first, My doctor didnt use any gelly,....which i think is safer in case his hand were to slip and put presssure on one of the babys parts and hurt him. But the pressure of him twiting my skin and such, did hurt, and left me with a nice bruise on my tummy. Im scheduled for a c section aug 4th, hoping he will turn on his own but chances un likeky....and also in the process of losing mucus plug, so this could happen sooner jenakatessa
1399 days ago.
I thought it hurt!!! my baby wouldnt turn either, and its my first, My doctor didnt use any gelly,....which i think is safer in case his hand were to slip and put presssure on one of the babys parts and hurt him. But the pressure of him twiting my skin and such, did hurt, and left me with a nice bruise on my tummy. Im scheduled for a c section aug 4th, hoping he will turn on his own but chances un likeky....and also in the process of losing mucus plug, so this could happen sooner iuiattempt
1418 days ago.
For anyone about to have an ECV what I would say from my experience is that it is not hugely painful - more uncomfortable. It is like when you have a sonographer press very hard on your tummy (but 10 times harder). Mine didn't actually work as baby would not turn so trying this again tomorrow as a second go before they will agree to give me a C section. I am not too hopeful of it working- the baby looks very comfortable there! bandietj
1431 days ago.
I just wanted to leave a message for anybody considering the External Cephalic Version procedure. Personally the procedure is different for everybody just as every pregnancy is different. I had a great experience when the doctor performed my Cephalic Version. The medicine called Tributalin was given to relax my uterus and within seconds he was working on getting my little guys head downward. From start to finish it only took about 2 minutes (my husband timed him, LOL) and they had me lay on my left side for an hour and monitored the baby. There was some pain, more like extreme discomfort, but having my husband made everything go much smoother. If you have the option, and your not a high risk pregnancy, I would consider it. Atleast to avoid a c-section. :) chanelle
1632 days ago.
I tried to have this done. I decided that if I did not I would always wonder what if. So I went to a specialist he had a 99% successes rate. He had done over 300 of these and thought that it should be easy to do on me. I ended up having a c-section right after. ( Between trying to have it done and other health issues from the pregnancy) It was very pain full and the meds they gave me to relax my uterus made me sick and shake really bad. I only did it because I was going through a birthing center and the last thing I wanted was to have to have the baby at the hospital and have to have a epidural. HAHAH I didn't have a epidural they gave me a spinal to make me feel better they joked when they were doing it. Good luck to you all!!