Babies move around a lot in the womb, but near the end of pregnancy, around 36 weeks, a baby is supposed to turn so their head faces the birth canal. When this doesn’t happen, this is called a breech birth. An article from The New Times explains why this is dangerous.
Breech births carry a higher risk of death and injury. Premature babies and babies with congenital issues have a higher risk of breech birth. The most dangerous time for a breech baby is birth.
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In a breech birth, the umbilical cord can drop before the baby does. This can compress the cord and cut off the supply of oxygen to the baby. This can lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy. Other forms of umbilical cord strangulation are also possible, such as the cord wrapping around a part of the baby. The position can also cause the head to be trapped in the womb and cause ruptures in the mother from the contractions.
Doctors have several ways to try to turn a baby before birth to prevent a breech birth. One common way is to press on the mother’s stomach to turn the baby manually to the correct position. Another is to turn the mother upside down to elevate the pelvis. This can get the baby to move as well.