In April, researchers at Cambridge University revealed that an extra ultrasound scan, offered to mothers-to-be at 36 weeks to facilitate the early detection of breech babies, could prevent unnecessary c-sections.
The findings are positive news - if implemented within the NHS - allowing time for appropriate medical interventions to take place in advance leading to an increase in the number of safe natural births.
Leading birth injuries solicitor Diane Rostron commented: “It is estimated that providing the additional scan will prevent around 4,000 unnecessary c-sections every year in England and Wales. A breech birth, where the baby is facing bottom first, can prove very risky to both mother and child and can lead to further complications.
“Current practices mean that a breech birth is only discovered during labour resulting in the need for an emergency caesarean if the baby cannot be turned in time. Prevention is key with an additional scan potentially facilitating this.”
According to the NHS, the immediate risks of a c-section to a mother include:
- The wound or the womb being infected
- Excessive bleeding during the procedure potentially leading to the need for a blood transfusion
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Potential damage to the bladder and the tubes connecting this to the kidneys
Babies also face some serious risks during a caesarean procedure:
- Breathing problems
- Being cut during the c-section
Caesareans can also increase the potential risks during further pregnancies. Preventative measures to avoid breech deliveries taken well in advance of a baby’s due date can also avoid the time pressure placed on medical staff.
Diane Rostron continued: “Current practices mean that a delay of just a few minutes in diagnosing a breech delivery and performing an emergency c-section can lead to catastrophic injuries or even the death of the baby. While pregnancy and birth are the most natural and joyous time, caution and careful monitoring is essential up until the safe delivery of the baby with the new research a very welcome development”.
Diane Rostron and her team specialise in supporting families who have suffered an avoidable birth injury or baby death as a result of medical negligence. If your family has been affected, please contact her friendly team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.