As recently reported by BBC news, women may be offered an additional ultrasound scan at 36 weeks of pregnancy to determine whether their unborn child is in the breech position (feet first).
According the researchers, around 4% of babies will be in the breech position as the pregnancy draws to an end. If a breech diagnosis is made at 36 weeks, more women can be offered a manual manipulation method to encourage their baby to turn in to the ideal head first position.
Researchers have advised that the scan could avoid around 4,000 emergency caesareans a year, as well as 8 baby deaths a year in England.
A research study found that of 3,879 women who were offered the additional ultrasound scan at 36 weeks, 179 were in the breech position; 96 of which had no suspicions until the scan result. The additional scan allowed 110 of those women the opportunity to book a planned caesarean and 19 were able to deliver vaginally.
Researcher Professor Gordon Smith has advised that by making the additional scan a standard midwife appointment and ‘using inexpensive portable ultrasound machines’ the costs should be low. The additional scans should therefore save the NHS money in the long run.
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