The early external cephalic version 2 trial

Of almost 40,000 babies born in BC in 2002, nearly 2,000 (4.8 percent) were breech (their bottom and legs were born before their heads). Research shows that breech babies are most safely delivered by Caesarean section. However, Caesareans cause more complications than vaginal births, and the resulting scar on the uterus complicates subsequent pregnancies. When a baby is found to be in a breech position using ultrasound, care providers can try to turn a baby to a head down position by feeling the baby through the mother’s abdomen and moving the baby’s head downward and its bottom upward. This procedure is called external cephalic version (ECV), and studies have shown that the chance of both breech birth and Caesarean section is reduced if ECV is performed close to the end of pregnancy (after 37 weeks). Dr. Eileen Hutton and her team of researchers from across Canada are conducting The Early ECV 2 Trial, which is an international randomised controlled trial designed to investigate whether performing ECV earlier in pregnancy, at 34-35 weeks, further decreases the number of Caesarean sections without increasing the risk of preterm birth. Dr. Hutton, founder and editor of the Canadian Midwifery Journal of Research and Practice, is also involved in a large international trial investigating the best way for twins to be born (vaginally or by Caesarean section), and is doing work in BC investigating patient initiated Caesarean section.