ECV centre

If your child is in breech presentation at 36 weeks, then the general advice is to try to turn your child to head first (cephalic) presentation. The parties of the VCO have decided to offer this so-called “External Cephalic Version” (ECV) at the day treatment department of the OLVG hospital. This department is located on the 2nd floor next to the delivery rooms. The ECV centre is open Tuesday and Thursday morning. You will be seen by an ECV specialist, who has ample experience and is also midwive.

How does the version work in practice?

Your midwife will make an appointment at the Ultrasound scan centre in the 35th week to confirm the detected breech presentation by way of an ultrasound scan. The growth, the amount of amniotic fluid and the type of breech presentation (complete breech presentation: flexed position/incomplete breech presentation: footling position), will be examined during this scan.

If your child is indeed in the breech presentation position, then your midwife will arrange an appointment with the ECV centre. The breech presentation at that moment will be examined briefly with the ultrasound scan, then a CTG (heart recording) reading will be taken. This is done to assess the condition of baby. If the conditions are optimum, we shall attempt to turn your baby via the abdomen. This is done by moving the baby's bottom to one side and the head of the baby in the other direction. If this does not go smoothly it can be painful, it is important that you relax as much as possible. The success rate of the version is 50%. A CTG (heart recording) reading will again be taken after the external cephalic version. If you are Rhesus negative then you will be give an anti-D jab.

Why an external cephalic version?

A childbirth with a breech presentation results in more complications during the birth than for one with a head first presentation. Furthermore, the chance of a caesarean section is greater. A head first presentation is by by far the best starting point for the birth for you and your child. That is why we are offering the external cephalic version. This is a safe treatment and complications are very rare.

What happens if it is not successful?

If the ECV is not successful then we recommend a second attempt. The success of a version is down to many factors that can change per day. The success rate for a second attempt is 25%. If we are unsuccessful in positioning your child in the head first presentation, then the staff at OLVG hospital will assist you further with your pregnancy. The gynaecologist will discuss the childbirth possibilities with you and also assist with the birth.

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