Injury Basics – The Risks of Breech Births

As the world celebrates the birth of a new royal princess, it is important to also recognize the risks of childbirth to both the mother and the baby. Parents expect physicians to act in a professional manner when diagnosing and treating problems that arise during pregnancy. When doctors do not meet these standards, the results can prove devastating for the entire family.

A breech positioning is one condition that should cause considerable concern for the treating physician. The healthiest position for an infant in the womb is facing down, so the head is the closest body part to the birthing canal. When babies deliver head first, the rest of the body has an easier transition through the canal. Breech positioning occurs when the baby’s feet or buttocks are closest to the birthing canal.

Breech Positions

According to American Pregnancy, there are three types of breech positions:

***Complete breech occurs when the legs are folded at the knees and the buttocks are pointing downward towards the birth canal

***Frank breech also occurs when the baby’s buttocks are pointing downward towards the birth canal. However, in this position, the legs are stretched out in front of the body, with the feet sitting near baby’s head

***In the footling breech position, the baby’s feet are pointing downward. This will cause the feet to deliver first, with the rest of the body to follow

Health professionals do not fully understand why breech presentations occur. However, it is the responsibility of your doctor to diagnose this condition prior to delivery and work to correct it. A manual examination of your abdomen should alert your physician to the issue. If further examination is needed, an ultrasound can be used. The condition is reportedly more common with:

***Second and subsequent pregnancies
***The presence of fibroids in the uterus
***An abnormally shaped uterus
***The presence of too much or too little amniotic fluid
***Premature delivery

If a breech position is identified, the preferred method of treatment reportedly involves turning the baby prior to delivery. Externally, your physician may gently push on your abdomen to coax the baby into a head first position. While this procedure is highly successful, it is best done between the 32nd and 37th week of pregnancy.

Some natural enthusiasts believe that music is a risk free technique for turning the baby in the womb. Expectant mothers place a music source near the bottom of the abdomen. Babies reportedly respond to music and the belief is that the baby will independently move its head towards the area where the music originates. Some expectant mothers are also taught the breech tilt, which involves raising the pelvis off of the floor several minutes each day.

It is a widely held belief that vaginal deliveries are dangerous when the baby is in a breech position. If a vaginal delivery is attempted, head injuries are possible due to the difficulty in delivering the head last. Umbilical cord strangulation is another serious risk, along with cord prolapse. As the baby moves through the birth canal, the cord can become constricted and cut off the supply of oxygen and blood to the baby.

If your baby was injured when the physician failed to properly diagnose or treat a breech positioning, contact the experienced birth injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti today.

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