It depends, but most babies who remain breech after an attempt at turning them will be delivered by C-section. Your doctor will explain the risk of delivering a breech baby vaginally.
The danger of breech birth is mostly due to the fact that the largest part of a baby is its head. So when the breech baby’s pelvis or hips deliver first, the mom’s pelvis may not be large enough for the head to be delivered also.
Other problems may be:
- The umbilical cord may be damaged or blocked. This can lessen the baby's oxygen supply.
- The mother also has an increased risk of cervical or vaginal tears with abnormal positions.
To try to deliver the baby normally:
- The woman’s pelvis will need to seem large enough.
- Labor started on its own and is progressing well on its own.
- The baby is full-term and appears to be of average weight.
- The breech is frank or complete.
Even then, fewer and fewer doctors who deliver babies have much or any experience delivering a breech birth. It is the standard in America to deliver most breeches by C-section, given the decreased risks for the baby.
If a C-section is planned, which is likely for most women carrying a breech baby, it will usually be scheduled for no earlier than 39 weeks. You'll have an ultrasound at the hospital to confirm the position of the baby just before the surgery.
There's also a chance that you'll go into labor or your water will break before your planned C-section. If that happens, call your health care provider right away and head for the hospital. It is important to go in right away if you have a breech baby and your bag of water breaks, because there is a higher chance that the cord will come out even before you are in labor. This can be very dangerous for the baby.