Evaluating External Cephalic Version

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The best-known and most reliable method of turning a breech position is an external cephalic version (ECV), which involves the manipulation of the fetus through the abdomen to a cephalic presentation. The procedure is usually offered from 36 weeks in nulliparous patients and from 37 weeks in multiparous patients. This typically results in about a 50% success rate when the practitioner is experienced in the procedure.

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The potential risks of breech delivery are a concern for both pregnant patients and midwives alike, with the majority of patients opting for an elective caesarean birth rather than attempting a vaginal breech birth. In many cases, however, an external cephalic version offers a simple and practical solution that carries minimal risk and offers the potential for a normal delivery to take place.


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Meet the educator

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Anne Watkins
Anne is a freelance lecturer and medical writer at Mind Body Ink. She is a former midwife and nurse teacher with over 25 years’ experience working in the fields of healthcare, stress management and medical hypnosis. Her background includes working as a hospital midwife, Critical Care nurse, lecturer in Neonatal Intensive Care, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for a company making life support equipment. Anne has also studied many forms of complementary medicine and has extensive experience in the field of clinical hypnosis. She has a special interest in integrating complementary medicine into conventional healthcare settings and is currently an Associate Tutor, lecturing in Health Coaching and Medical Hypnosis at Exeter University in the UK. As a former Midwife, Anne has a natural passion for writing about fertility, pregnancy, birthing and baby care. Her recent publications include The Health Factor, Coach Yourself To Better Health and Positive Thinking For Kids. You can read more about her work at
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What do others think?

114 reviews by Ausmed Learners
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Donna Cushing
19 May 2022
Registered Midwife
Good article, identifying that there is a gap here as a lot of pregnant women are hearing about ECV option from their friends and not necessarily from their care providers.
Mary-Margaret DOWNING
25 Nov 2023
Good overview . Many facebook groups suggest un-realistic expectations of ECV
Bina Baniya
20 Mar 2021
Peter Makryllos
11 Nov 2020
good stuff
Ellen McGann
27 Nov 2020
Very informative.
Denise Heapy
09 Feb 2021
Really goos, short butreinforced my knowledge.
Carolyn Schultz
18 Apr 2021
Very useful information
Joane Grobler
24 May 2023
Registered Midwife
Interesting statistics on ECV success and inhibiting factors
Portrait of Clover Lewis
Clover Lewis
04 Nov 2020
This is a useful article regarding the use of ECV to turn breech babies into a cephalic position. The importance of only performing an ECV where a hospital has the ability to perform Ultrasound and Cesarean Section is highlighted as are the risks, benefits and success of performing ECV in reducing breech births and Cesarean Sections. It was interesting how recommendations were from RANZCOG and the Royal College of Midwives. There was limited evidence included based on recent research within this article.
Genny Herbert
03 Aug 2021
Brief summary on calculations however final comment related to if baby sleeps through the night is misleading. No baby having 120 mls per feed would be sleeping through the night. This is unrealistic.
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