Medical Q&As

Breech - can baby turn?

I am 36 weeks pregnant with baby number 3. However, l have just learned that baby is in a breech position. At this stage, can a baby turn without manipulation? I really wish to avoid a caesarean section, but would rather not attempt to give birth naturally if the baby remains breech.

As your baby increases in size it becomes more confined within the womb and is less able to turn. However, even though the chance is low it is still possible for the baby to turn at 36 weeks. If the baby does not turn your obstetrician might suggest attempting to turn the baby. This is usually deferred until 36 weeks or later because if it is attempted any earlier the baby might reverse position again. This procedure is referred to as version and it is performed after first performing an ultrasound scan. The scan enables the doctor to check on the precise position of the baby and the location of the placenta. During version the doctor places his or her hands on the abdomen and identifies the baby’s head and bottom. The doctor then turns the baby into a head-down position so that the head and not the breech is facing the birth canal. However, it is not always possible to turn the baby in which case the baby is left in the breech position.