Caesarians too often used for breech babies: research

Just 8% of pregnant women with a breech baby are being offered help to turn the child round in some parts of the Netherlands, despite its high success rate in cutting Caesarian births.

On average 75% of pregnant women undergo an attempt to the turn the baby around, and that is successful in up to 50% of cases, researchers Ageeth Rosman and Floortje Vlemmix say in Thursday’s Volkskrant.

Turning a baby reduces the risk of the mother having to undergo a Caesarian section. Better information for mothers and training for midwives could reduce the number of breech babies at birth by 300 a year to 4,500, the researchers say.

‘A Caesarian is an operation,’ Radboud university professor Frank Vandenbussche told the paper.


‘After a Caesarian, the baby is often less fit and its lungs can be less well developed. In addition, the bonding beween mother and child can be more difficult because the mother cannot move freely,’ he said.

Even though turning breech babies is recommended, Rosman and Vlemmix found there is a shortage of specialised midwives in some parts of the country. Some midwives do not offer the process and others fail to convince pregnant women of the benefits.

In addition, Rosman said, some women have decided they want a Caesarian delivery and a breech baby then becomes a good excuse.

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