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Vaginal Birth Better for Breech Babies Says Canadian Doctors

Posted Jun 19 2009 5:11pm

breech baby This just proves it: Canadians are smarter than Americans, at least when it comes to birth.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada has announced that c-sections are no longer recommended for breech babies!

This is contrary to common practice in North America, in which very few doctors or midwives will attempt a vaginal delivery on a breech baby.  A c-section is automatically dictated for these babies who want to come out feet first.  Canada plans to train doctors in breech vaginal delivery following the new recommendation.  Carla Wintersgill writes for Globe and Mail:

Since 2000, C-sections have been the preferred method of delivery in breech births. Studies suggested that breached births were associated with an increased rate of complication when performed vaginally.  As a result, many medical schools have stopped training their physicians in breech vaginal delivery…With the release of the new guidelines, the SOGC will launch a nationwide training program to ensure that doctors will be adequately prepared to offer vaginal breech births..The new approach was prompted by a reassessment of earlier trials. It now appears that there is no difference in complication rates between vaginal and cesarean section deliveries in the case of breech births…Cesarean sections, in which incisions are made through a mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby, can lead to increased chance of bleeding and infections and can cause further complications for pregnancies later on.

70% of breech babies can be delivered safely without surgical intervention, according to Dr. André Lalonde.

My daughter was breech up until eight months in utero. We had our breech scare that the homebirth we envisioned would not be possible, but with the help of some exercises, she turned. We also could not find a doctor that would attempt a vaginal breech delivery, should we have to go that route.  I have two friends that have successfully delivered breech babies vaginally, only because they did not make it to the hospital in time for a c-section.

This change in Canadian policy is exciting and reflects the importance of natural childbirth choices for families, no matter what the baby’s orientation.

Image:  MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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