Will I know if my baby is breech?

Q: My friend had to haev an emergency C-section because her baby was found to be breech once she was already in labour. I'm 35 weeks pregnant and worried the same could happen to me. Can I be sure my midwife will spot if my baby is breech?

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Obstetrician Leonie says: You should be offered an antenatal check at about 36 weeks when your midwife will feel your tummy to check which way round your baby is.

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If it is breech – coming bottom first – they will usually arrnage a scan to confirm this and discuss the option of trying to turn the baby. If the baby is still breech at 39 weeks, they’re most likely to recommend a planned Caesarean. 

We expect to detect the majority of breech babies in this way but, in a small number of women, their breech baby is not identified until labour starts.

If your baby is found to be breech during labour, you’ll have the option of continuing with the labour and trying for a vaginal birth, or of having an emergency caesarean, depending on the circumstances of your labour.

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An ultrasound scan performed at about 37 weeks is the only way to find out if your baby is likely to be born breech, but this is not routinely recommended unless there are problems in the pregnancy, and even then, a small number of babies will still turn to become breech after the scan.

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