When your baby is breech, this means that the buttocks or legs of your baby are closest to your cervix. This is very common in the beginning of the pregnancy since the baby tends to change positions and summersaults frequently.
As your baby gets closer to the due date, the head will become heavier, encouraging the head to sink to the bottom of the amniotic sac so that it will be closest to the cervix at the time of birth.
Despite this, 1 in 25 women will carry a baby whose head is still facing the wrong direction near the due date. It is dangerous to deliver a breech baby vaginally since the head, being the largest body part of the baby, can get stuck in the birth canal during the delivery. If your baby remains in a breech position near term, your care provider will offer you either a cesarean birth or an external cephalic version.
An external cephalic version is usually done at about 37 weeks gestation. During this procedure, your health care provider turns your baby using manual pressure on your abdomen over your uterus. It is done in the hospital with the help of medications to relax the uterine muscles. Turning the baby to a vertex (head down) position is successful over 50% of the time. Alternatively, some women have had success using certain exercises, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture to turn the baby.
If your baby remains breech at the time you go into labor, you will need a cesarean birth.