Articles - What is an ECV?
Is it right for me?

What is an ECV?


Email Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter for a weekly round-up of all things birth. Subscribers receive a 10% discount when they purchase the Online Childbirth Education Program.



Is it right for me?

Have you ever heard the term ECV? Are you wondering what it is?

ECV stands for External Cephalic Version.

We know that optimal fetal positioning is very important, having the baby in an anterior position (baby’s back to the left or right of your belly) makes a difference to how your labour can progress.

Of course, we recommend from 35 weeks you do everything you can to make room for your baby to get into an ideal position for birth. Being mindful to avoid reclining, sitting in forward-leaning positions, sitting on a ball and crawling will all help create space for your baby.

Spinning Babies is also a fabulous website to look at some more natural ways to help turn your baby.

However, if you have tried everything having an ECV is an option, but what is it and what are the pros and cons of doing it?

External cephalic version (ECV) is a process by which a breech baby can sometimes be turned from buttocks or foot first to head first. It is a manual procedure that is recommended by national guidelines for breech presentation of a pregnancy with a single baby, in order to enable vaginal delivery.

An ECV is performed after 37 weeks of pregnancy. The procedure is performed by an experienced obstetrician who places firm but gentle pressure on your tummy to encourage your baby to turn a somersault in your uterus. It can be uncomfortable but not usually painful.

ECV has about a 58 percent success rate in turning breech babies and a 90 percent success rate if the baby is in a transverse lie. But sometimes a baby refuses to budge or rotates back into a breech position after a successful version.

The risks associated with an ECV is that the baby will return to breach position, the uterus is irritated and causes contractions and sometimes triggers early labour and the procedure may cause the membranes to break. In extreme and rare complications it can cause placenta abruption.

During the ECV an ultrasound is used to confirm the initial position and success of the procedure, the baby’s heart rate is monitored.

As with all aspects of pregnancy and birth care, we advocate doing research and speaking with your care providers thoroughly about the pros and cons and what feels right for you.

Ready to create your best birth?

Join Australia's leading online childbirth education program.

Sign up today

©2024 About Birth Pty Ltd |