If your baby is breech (ie. feet first) for delivery, you're probably experiencing your fair share of nerves. Giving birth in general can make anyone nervous, but when you know that your baby is in a particularly difficult position you may be wondering just how having a breech birth affects your body. Like with most aspects of pregnancy and motherhood, being as prepared as you can will help you feel more confident and informed when the day comes.
There is plenty of research and articles out there on how breech deliveries may affect your baby, but unfortunately, there isn't as much available for how you'll be affected physically. Obviously, each breech birth is different. Some women deliver their breech babies vaginally, while others receive C-sections (emergency or planned,) and in those births, there are a lot of variables.
According to Medscape, about 82 percent of breech babies are delivered via C-section. The lesser percentage delivery vaginally, although there isn't a lot of evidence to suggest that vaginal delivery of a breech baby is much less safe than a C-section.
In most cases, there is less risk involved for mothers (most of the concern for breech deliveries falls on injuries the baby may incur.) For mothers who deliver via C-section, the risks for her remain about the same as a standard C-section, like infection, hemorrhaging, or injury to organs, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
For a vaginal breech birth, there is an increased risk of tearing or needing an episiotomy, according to What To Expect, along with a more difficult time pushing or getting your baby in a favorable position. However, vaginal breech births aren't impossible and you should speak with your OB-gym to weigh the risks for both you and baby if you decide to go that route.
Although a breech delivery has some potential risks for the mother, for most doctors, the concern will be the safety of the baby in their decision of how to deliver.