External cephalic version, or version, is a procedure used to turn a breech fetus into a head-down (vertex) position before labour begins. When successful, version makes it possible for a woman to try a vaginal birth instead of having a caesarean section.
External cephalic version is typically tried at term, when the fetus is less likely to turn back to breech position. A fetus is closely monitored before, during, and after the procedure for possible distress. After first using medicine to relax the mother's uterine muscles, a doctor presses on specific areas of her abdomen to turn the fetus.
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William Gilbert MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine