External Versions

An External Version is the manual process of turning a breech baby. My second son (for anyone not having followed my blog recently) was breech. Last week we went in for our first version which was unsuccessful and this past monday we attempted a second version which again was unsuccessful and left me in labor (one of the possible side effects) and so my son was delivered via emergency c-section.

An E-version is a fairly simple procedure that lasts a few minutes and has been around for centuries. According to the OB who performed mine as well as some research i read online versions have been depicted in ancient birth art, however, with the rise in obstetrics it was a procedure that fell out of practice until recent years.

To have a version performed on your baby you must meet certain criteria as there are dangers involved. According to FamilyDoctor.org women who do not pass a nonstress test, have low fluid, a placenta near the cervix, are caring multiple babies, or have premature ruptured membranes are not candidates. However, if at at least 37 weeks baby is proven stable and the pregnancy is low risk there is a 2/3 success rate of turning a breech baby head down.

As with any procedure there are risks involved however less than 1% of versions experience a negative outcome. The  most common risks include… premature labor, ruptured membranes, fetal distress. you are monitored for at least one hour after the procedure (successful or not) to make sure none of the above occur. If they do occur you may be taken to deliver your baby right then. (hence one of the reasons you must be 37 weeks before a version can be performed). One of the other risks which according to my OB occurs in about 10% of women is that baby will turn back. Typically however, baby not turning or baby turning back only occurs in babies who are not able to be delivered head down for one reason or another.

So what happens during the procedure? Its simple…. when you first arrive at the hospital you will be placed on monitors to monitor baby and make sure his heart rate is steady. an ultrasound is then performed to make sure you have ample amniotic fluid for turning the baby, as well as to confirm baby and placenta positions. If all looks well and you are determined to be a candidate for the procedure then the doctors will begin. Typically you are given IV meds to relax your uterus. Once you are laying back the doctors will begin. The start by lifting babies butt out of the pelvis and then they push on it while also pushing on babies head/shoulders to guide him as he turns. If baby is going to turn they will begin to move fairly quickly, however, the doctors my try lifting and pushing several times, after about 10minutes though if baby doesn’t move they will stop. When all is done successful or not you will be monitored for about an hour for any possible complications.

Does it hurt? Its a very uncomfortable procedure, they are pushing very hard on your stomach and the next day or so you may feel very sore or even bruised. i have heard both good and bad stories. for me it was just a matter of staying focused and relaxed and i was in no pain either time. and i have heard similar stories from women who have had multiple breech babies. but i have also heard very negative stories from women who were in sever pain. I guess you’ll never know which you are until you try. 🙂

I did video about 2.5 minutes of our version and plan to post it either later today or tomorrow , I will keep you posted as to when i do.

Have any of you had a version performed? i’d love to hear about your experience!


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