External cephalic version (ECV), also sometimes referred to just as version, is a procedure used to turn babies from a breech or side-lying position to a head-down position. If your ECV is successful, you may be able to have a vaginal birth rather than a scheduled caesarean. However, not all mothers with breech babies are eligible for an ECV. So when will you need an ECV? Due to the fact that around 90 percent of breech births are delivered via a caesarean section, according to a University of Michigan Health System study, ECV provides an alternative option to pregnant mothers with breech babies.
If you meet the selection criteria for an ECV, it should be performed in a hospital, where an emergency caesarean can be performed in case the ECV causes complications. Though complications are fairly uncommon (between one and two percent of ECVs experience complications, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians), it is important that the procedure is monitored closely, as attempting to relieve your baby from its breech position is no easy feat. Read on to find out if you're eligible for an ECV, and if you think you may be, discuss the procedure with your doctor as a possible alternative to a caesarean.