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Anyone have experience of having or preforming an external cephalic version (ECV) ?

(38 Posts)
mrswee Mon 07-Sep-09 14:53:46

I started thread containing a long post in 'Pregnancy' the other day asking if anyone have had an ECV to try and turn their baby. No one answered, perhaps i was the wrong place to post or no one has had one!

I can find the thread now to copy and paste but the short version is that I had a scan on friday which confirmed my baby is still breech, (I'm now 37 weeks) we talked to a very competent sounding consultant who easily persauded us that attempting an ECV was the best option before opting for an elective CS.
I am booked in to attempt it on Thursday afternoon!!

Although I am pretty confident in what I have been told by the consultant, I would like to hear other people's experiences, good or bad, of this procedure.

Can anyone help? Thanks so much, I am a little nervous that I have made the right descision!!

Twinsmommy Mon 07-Sep-09 15:07:54

Hi there mrswee:

I know someone who recently underwent an ECV for baby in breech position. She said it wasn't too unpleasant an experience (and they did manage to turn the baby successfully). However, within 24 hours the baby had returned to its breech position. They do have to use some force to try and rotate the baby - but I'm sure they have clued you in on what to expect.

Have you googled it to see if there are any videos out there showing the process? You never know what you might find on Youtube these days!

mrswee Mon 07-Sep-09 15:48:43

Hi twinsmommy,

Thanks for your reply! I did ask about the possibility of the baby returning to the breech position as this happened to my MIL! The consultant said to me that if the baby does turn, when I go into labour, they would scan me to double check positioning.

I am a bit wary of googling as I have read so many horror stories I never needed to hear during this pregnancy by making the mistake of googling, however I hadn't thought of youtube for this one- good tip!

Off to have a look now

thanks again!

TanteRose Mon 07-Sep-09 15:52:02

I had one, it was a quite painful, during and after.... - DS turned head down, but then flipped right back into breech.
Wouldn't bother if I were you - DS turned head down at the last moment...

TheCrackFox Mon 07-Sep-09 15:54:59

I had one, it is very painful. I was not prepared for that, the leaflet they gave said it would be "uncomfortable". Sorry, but I think it is better to know, beforehand, what to expect.

It didn't work and I ended up having a CS. I wouldn't have an ECV again.

One tip would be to ask for the consultant's success rate.

heylottie Mon 07-Sep-09 16:04:35

Mrswee please let me know how you get on on Thursday!
I am 35 weeks and baby is breech - having a scan next week to see if s/he still is.

I too have read horror stories about ECV... my consultant said 'you are the sort that refuses to let us turn the baby' (I don't think that was meant as a compliment...)

lizziemun Mon 07-Sep-09 17:17:18

i had one with dd2. I didn't fine it painfull, just uncomfortable. Mine was done at 38 wks.

Can you ask your consultants success rate mine was something like 95% success.

Not sure if it was link but i had painfull BH every afternoon for 4hrs untill i was induced at 41+2wks the cord was around her neck 2 times and she wasn't breathing (the midwife bought around within seconds although it felt like hours) she also had to have her hip scaned at 2wks to make sure that there was no probelms.

Mistymoo Mon 07-Sep-09 17:20:05

I had one done with dd at about 38/39 wks. It was a strange sensation but not sore. My consultant said that if it hurt he would not do it. She turned on his last attempt and I had a natural delivery at 40+5 and she weighed 9 lb. If this happens again I would do that again before a c-section.

mrswee Mon 07-Sep-09 19:59:36

thanks for you responses so far!

My consultant said it was about a 60% chance it would work in a first pregnancy.
He said he would not continue if it was at all painful.
He also said that they would only try 3 times for 30 seconds at a time.
I would like to thing that she will turn by herself but she seems in a very very tight space, my bump is just solid and she has always been pretty much in this same position according to them.
I am worried about cord wrap and placenta abruption and generally the reason that might be causing my baby to be breech!

mrswee Mon 07-Sep-09 20:09:39

heylottie I will let you know what happens!

As per horror stories - I too had read them but my consultant did say that they do not do the procedure in an agressive way like they may have done in the past - my MIL had one of her babies turn twice by a midwife who pushed really hard with no relaxing drugs, she said it was painful and he turned back anyway but this was in 1971!
My consultant said there is a 1% risk that baby will go into distress and if that happens I will go straight through to surgery for a CS.
They ask you to come in fasted for that reason. But a 1% risk is not that high and is a lower risk than the risk of complecations in a CS or a vaginal breech birth.

elvislives Mon 07-Sep-09 20:14:28

I had one. It was incredibly painful, despite gas & air, and I was left with bruising all along the top of my bump. The midwife observing asked me if it felt as brutal as it looked (it did). It didn't work

I think it depends on a lot of factors. My DD was quite firmly engaged in my pelvis and really didn't want to move.

Despite it not working I felt I had to try.

mrswee Mon 07-Sep-09 20:22:41

Interesting - elvislives, my baby is already very tight to the top of my bump, so much so that it actually feels like the skin is stretching, even like it might tear from the inside at any moment! I am going to make sure and mention this before they start anything.

I know what you mean, I do feel like I have to try too.

did you end up having a CS? if you don't mind me asking?

JackBauer Mon 07-Sep-09 20:38:23

I had one at 41 weeks when they finally realised DD1 was breech. They tried twice but she wouldn't move and they didn;t know where the cord was so left it at that.
When I had my CS the next day she was in such a weird position (one foot under her bum in my pelvis, the other next to her head...) that to get her out they had to have a nurser lean on my ribcage and push her head down. Even thought it would never have worked I am glad I did try it, as elvis says, I felt I had to, and then whatever then happened was the way it had to go.

It did hurt me, but she was overdue so there was no room, which my consultant did warn me would be painful.

WhatFreshHellIsThis Mon 07-Sep-09 20:41:54

I had one that was easy as pie, didn't hurt at all and DS1 turned over and stayed over, so sometimes they do go really well. Here's wishing yours is as straightforward! smile

Mybox Mon 07-Sep-09 20:48:55

Had one and sorry to tell you that it was awful and I'd never have one again. dd did turn but only from side to side in a huge movement. It felt wrong and awful and at one point I asked the doc to stop.

Have heard good stories though about ecv. Best wishes.

djfb Tue 08-Sep-09 10:14:53

I had one and it was painful and they wren't able to turn my son so had a ELCS at 39+1.

I also tried moxibustion which is supposed to be effective if done at 36 weeks (I was 37 weeks when we found out baby was breech).

If you're interested in trying moxi most acupuncturists do it.

mrswee Tue 08-Sep-09 10:22:54

HI djfb

I was going to try pulsatilla 200, my friend is bringing some round. I was advised by a herbalist that I could take that once and see what happens.

I hadn't heard of moxibustion, I will ask her about that today. I am 37 weeks now though so may not be any good, I guess.

thanks for your help!

mrswee Tue 08-Sep-09 10:27:12

sorry didn't explain that very well! I am going to the osteopath today, they also have a practicing herbalist and acupuncturist at the clinic!

moosemama Tue 08-Sep-09 10:59:37

I had an ECV just under 8 months ago when they discovered dd was breech for the second time at 40+11 (after turning herself round the right way once already).

They had a portable scanner to check the position of the cord. It was a painful, but very quick and I did feel bruised afterwards, but it worked and I then had an induction by which dd was born in just under and hour and a half from first contraction to torpedo style arrival on the bed with her waters still intact!

The only negatives for me were that the injection to relax the muscles made me feel a bit shaky and disorientated and it was painful (but not so bad that I wouldn't condsider having it done again).

My consultant told me they would only try twice for a minute each time and if she didn't turn they would leave it. So even though it was painful I knew it wasn't going to be for long and just breathed through it like I would a contraction.

For me personally it was worth trying as with two older children to care for the recovery time from a CS would have been problematic.

moosemama Tue 08-Sep-09 11:06:26

Just saw that you are 37 weeks. Personally I wouldn't have had it done at that stage as they found out dd was breech on a Friday morning at 37 weeks, made an appointment for me to see a consultant and have a scan on the Monday morning and by then she had turned herself back round.

She turned breech again at post 40 weeks so there is still plenty of time for your baby to turn on its own. No harm in trying the homeopathy or moxibustion though. It might be worth looking at the spinning babies website and/or reading up on optimal foetal positioning as well, I did a bit of OFP/Spinning babies stuff the weekend that she turned the first time, might be coincidence but still may be worth a try.

Good luck, come back and let us know how you get on.

elvislives Tue 08-Sep-09 17:58:31

I ended up having a CS because DD didn't turn. Her back was too my back as well, and having already had one back-to-back labour I was glad not to repeat it.

Labella77 Wed 09-Sep-09 12:22:56

I had a ECV yesterday, and it didn't work. This is my first baby and i was advised after a scan that i should have an ECV as the baby is breech. Her head is at my ribs and bottom is engaged.

I went into the labour ward, was monitored for a little while and had an injection of something i can't remember that relaxes the womb. All fine so far.

Then the consultant came in and did the manual turn bit, which was incredibly painful. He did not do it for long. He tried 3 times, each time, pushing his fingers and hands right under the baby's head and bottom, pulling her up and trying to flip her. the main pain came from the fingers digging into the skin it being pushed around.

After each attempt they checked the position, baby had moved so her back was on the left rather than on the right, head in the same position. They then monitored the baby for a further 30 minutes and there seemed to be no distress to her heartbeat or general wiggling.

noticeable side effects were that it exhausted me and made me feel very shaky, Definitely needed to rest for the remainder of the day.

I think it was worth trying, the consultant said that it works 30-50% of the time. unfortunately not for me and I am now booked in for a c-section, which makes me rather sad as I really wanted a "real" labour, I guess I had worked myself up to it and was apprehensively excited about it. But then I'm looking after my baby's health and what is more important than getting her out healthily and successfully?

Good luck for tomorrow, and make sure you have someone there to hold your hand.

Dontpanic Wed 09-Sep-09 12:47:12

From the stats I've seen there's a 26% success rate for ECV, while hypnotherapy is around 86% successful. Essentially you do a guided relaxation and visualisation of your baby in the right position, while the relaxation allows the baby room to move, where you're probably all tensed up at the moment.
Other than that, moxi also has a high success rate & I'd certainly try any of those before ECV.
Your baby has room to move right up to birth, so don't feel you have to go in for a section just cos it's more convenient for a consultant. Aside from that, it's not impossible to birth a breech baby, just harder to find a midwife with the confidence to do it.

maniacbug Wed 09-Sep-09 13:18:11

I had an ECV at 36+6 as they'd got my dates wrong booked me in a day too early (it's supposed to be 37w onwards in case it stimulates labour or baby gets distressed and they have to induce) after trying acupuncture, moxibustion, supported headstands, the works, as I was so set on having a natural birth + my consultant basically left me feeling that with breech CS was the only option unless I wanted to risk my baby being born with brain damage (he seemed to be more concerned with his hospital statistics than my/baby's welfare). I'm afraid that as per many of the other ladies' experience, it was very painful, way more so than I expected. I hated the thought that it might be painful for my baby too, and spent the rest of the evening feeling very raw and emotional, possibly because it had been my last hope and when it didn't work I had to resign myself to the CS. In the event the epidural and industrial quantities of morphine etc. that they pumped into me prior to operating failed to work (which several people inc. medical professionals have since agreed was probably a lot to do with the strength of my resistance) so I ended up having an emergency general anaesthetic and being unconscious for the first hour of my little girl's life. Only reason for telling you all this is that if I learned one thing from the experience it is that I wish I had been more open-minded and accepting of the CS, not so determined to do it 'my way'... After all, a healthy baby is all that matters at the end of the day, and sometimes I think you just have to believe that they 'choose' how they are going to be born. GOOD LUCK tomorrow - I really hope it works for you, or that your baby turns of its own accord before CS. Although it didn't work for me and I am going to refuse this time round (am 32w), the fact that other ladies have had more positive experiences does indicate that it's definitely worth a try! (My hospital quoted stats of 50% success rate, although my little one was extended breech - legs up round ears - apparently the hardest position to turn.) Just worth knowing before you go in that it might hurt, and don't be shy about asking them to stop if you have second thoughts. Defo agree with Labella77 too about having someone to hold your hand during/after the ECV, and preferably also to administer plenty of TLC post-procedure. If it doesn't work I wish you all the best for a positive approach to elective CS. For what it's worth I have a couple of friends who firmly believe that CS babies are more chilled out, because they are lifted into the world rather than enduring a traumatic journey... Have to say that's true in our case (manic 4-year-old born vaginally with no drugs VS serene 2-year-old CS) but that could just be a coincidence! Anyway, sending good luck vibes x

Dontpanic Wed 09-Sep-09 14:55:15

maniacbug I'd agree with you that sometime's it's the baby's decision no matter what you do to prevent things happening. Sometimes they just want to be rescued instead of taking the normal route
So yes, whatever you decide, it doesn't matter as long as you feel you've made the decision based on informed choice.

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