Ask the Experts
Turning A Breech Baby
Q: I'm at 36 weeks and my baby isn't head down yet. My doctor said he'd like to try an external cephalic version. What is this?
A: External cephalic version (ECV) is a technique in which an obstetrician attempts to turn a breech baby to the head-down position. He does this by first giving a medication to relax the mother's uterus and then applying external pressure to her abdomen. The technique has a 65 percent success rate; if it is successful, an "abdominal binder" is placed over the woman's belly to keep the baby in the proper position. ECV may not be an option if you've had a prior uterine incision or if there is any concern about the baby. So before the procedure is attempted, your OB will do an ultrasound to assess several factors, including the condition of your uterus and the health of the baby.