External cephalic version

External cephalic version, or version, is a procedure used to turn a breech fetus into a head-down (vertex) position before labor begins. When successful, version makes it possible for a woman to try a vaginal birth instead of having a cesarean 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.

Last Updated: April 28, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine & William Gilbert, MD - Perinatology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.