Home >>  Glossary  >>  External Cephalic Version (ECV)

External Cephalic Version (ECV)

An ECV or external cephalic version is one method used avoid a breech birth by turning the baby into the vertex position. It has a 58% success rate of doing so and is only performed after week 37 of pregnancy when the likelihood of your baby moving himself into the breech position drastically decreases.

An ECV includes a midwife or obstetrician applying pressure to your abdomen in order to first move your baby into a sideways or transverse position and then into the head-down or vertex position that is preferred for birth.

If you choose to undergo an ECV it is probably because you would prefer to have a natural birth and would like to lower your chances of having a C-section delivery. This is perfectly understandable, however there are a few risks associated with ECVs which you must be aware of. They include: umbilical cord entanglement, abruptio placenta, preterm labour, premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) and severe maternal discomfort. Only about 1-2% of all ECVs do actually result in one of these risks and only two fetal deaths have been recorded, both of which resulted from the procedure being done without an ultrasound and fetal heart monitor being used to perform the procedure.

If you undergo an ECV be sure of two things. Firstly, the person performing the ECV has been professionally trained in the procedure. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of their experience or training, this is your baby’s health after all. Secondly, make sure the person performing the ECV is taking all necessary steps to protect your baby’s health, this includes an ultrasound before and after the procedure.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did you like this article?
Would you like to stay updated?

Skip to toolbar