Breech Baby Scan

UK researchers have suggested that routinely offering expectant mothers an ultrasound scan at 36 weeks gestation to check the position of the baby could save the lives of eight babies per year, cut the amount of emergency C-sections and save the NHS money.

Breech births can be difficult and dangerous and often hard to diagnose. Midwives currently rely on the shape and feel of a mother’s bump. Researchers at the University of Cambridge say that if the scans could be cost-effective they would save the NHS money in terms of care.

Breech birth statistics

Approximately four babies in every 100 are in the breech position. It is often the case that the fact the baby is in the breech position is not noticed until delivery and this is when mum, baby and medical staff can run into difficulties. A scan showing that the baby is breech means that the baby could be manually turned or a planned C-section could be prepared for.

It is thought that it would be feasible to provide the scan in a cost-effective manner and potentially avoid 4,000 emergency C-sections per year giving a better outcome to both mum and baby.

Additional scans can lead to an earlier diagnosis

Labour can occur very quickly leaving little time for decision making. Professor of Obstetrics at King’s College London said that ‘Scans are routinely available now and minimal skills are required to determine breech presentation’.

Currently, families can pay privately for ultrasound scans at any point in pregnancy but routinely offering a scan at 36 weeks would provide necessary information about the position of the baby much closer to birth. More information allows for better preparation and this can only improve safety for all.