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Doctor insights on: External Cephalic Version

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Dr. Ronald Krauser
8 doctors shared insights

External Cephalic Version (Overview)

An external cephalic version is turning the baby from breech presentation to the proper "head-first" presentation so that the mother may attempt a normal vaginal delivery. They are successful 50-60% of the time. External versions are performed in the hospital and the doctor will do an ultrasound first to make sure the baby hasn't turned head-first on its own. The baby is then turned after giving the mother a medication to relax the uterus. It can be uncomfortable but the patient can ask at any time to stop the procedure. Occasionally external versions are done under epidural anesthesia or even when a patient is in labor. An external version is best performed between 36 and 37 weeks when the baby is generally not as large and there is enough amniotic fluid to turn the baby. It is not performed prior to 36 weeks because of the small possibility of inducing labor or rupture of membranes.


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What is external cephalic version and when is it done?

What is external cephalic version and when is it done?

Turning your baby: An external cephalic version is a procedure done by your obgyn to turn your baby from breech to cephalic (head first) position in hopes of attempting vaginal delivery thereafter. Ideally, it is performed from 37-38 weeks but varies depending on your doctor. Some try a little earlier and some will even try beyond 38 weeks. The procedure has risks that you should discuss at length with your doctor. ...Read more

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Dr. Ronald Krauser
8 doctors shared insights

External Cephalic Version (Overview)

An external cephalic version is turning the baby from breech presentation to the proper "head-first" presentation so that the mother may attempt a normal vaginal delivery. They are successful 50-60% of the time. External versions are performed in the hospital and the doctor will do an ultrasound first to make sure the baby hasn't turned head-first on its own. The baby is then turned after giving the mother a medication to relax the uterus. It can be uncomfortable but the patient can ask at any time to stop the procedure. Occasionally external versions are done under epidural anesthesia or even when a patient is in labor. An external version is best performed between 36 and 37 weeks when the baby is generally not as large and there is enough amniotic fluid to turn the baby. It is not performed prior to 36 weeks because of the small possibility of inducing labor or rupture of membranes.


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Is external cephalic version dangerous for baby or mom? Could it cause issues with unbiblical cord? I'm 36 weeks with a breech baby. Any advice?

Is external cephalic version dangerous for baby or mom? Could it cause issues with unbiblical cord? I'm 36 weeks with a breech baby. Any advice?

Version aversion?: Version (turning a baby from a breech presentation to vertex (head down)) is not without risk. And you are correct; umbilical cord compression or kinking can occur. This is why your baby is monitored throughout the procedure. Version is not always successful, i.e., babies can flip back. And it may be uncomfortable. It can, however, increase your chance of having a vaginal delivery. Talk with doc! ...Read more

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What is external cephalic version and when is it done?

Turning your baby: An external cephalic version is a procedure done by your obgyn to turn your baby from breech to cephalic (head first) position in hopes of attempting vaginal delivery thereafter. Ideally, it is performed from 37-38 weeks but varies depending on your doctor. Some try a little earlier and some will even try beyond 38 weeks. The procedure has risks that you should discuss at length with your doctor. ...Read more

See 1 more doctor answer
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Is external cephalic version dangerous for baby or mom? Could it cause issues with unbiblical cord? I'm 36 weeks with a breech baby. Any advice?

Version aversion?: Version (turning a baby from a breech presentation to vertex (head down)) is not without risk. And you are correct; umbilical cord compression or kinking can occur. This is why your baby is monitored throughout the procedure. Version is not always successful, i.e., babies can flip back. And it may be uncomfortable. It can, however, increase your chance of having a vaginal delivery. Talk with doc! ...Read more

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Why is external cephalic version contraindicated in transverse lie? Why do we offer caesarean section in pregnant woman with transverse lie? Thanks.

Why is external cephalic version contraindicated in transverse lie? Why do we offer caesarean section in pregnant woman with transverse lie? Thanks.

It's not: As long as specific criteria are met (nl fluid, nl NST, no placental problems, good vag del candidate, etc...) you're halfway there! An ECV in a good candidate with an experienced OB is a good option. Otherwise, you can't deliver vaginally with a transverse lie. You risk cord prolapse, malpresentation, or maternal & fetal injury. Listen to your OB, you might have a finding that prohibits it. ...Read more

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What does it mean if there is cephalic presentation?

What does it mean if there is cephalic presentation?

Head down: Cephalic means that the baby's head is down, which from an obstetrical perspective is the desirable position, as opposed to breech, when the baby is bottom down. ...Read more

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What are cephalic disorders--head?

What are cephalic disorders--head?

Related to head: Cephalic is a term used to denote the head. For example, pain in the head is termed cephalalgia. ...Read more