UK: routine breech scans could cut mortality and save money

05 June 2019

Scanning mothers-to-be late in pregnancy could prevent thousands of unexpected breech births and emergency caesarean sections (CS), and save the lives of several babies a year, a study has shown.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge offered breach scans to almost 4000 pregnant women at 36 weeks’ gestation, with 4.6% of them found to have babies in the breech position, the National Health Executive reports online.

The researchers’ analysis estimated that routine scanning nationwide could prevent around 15,000 undiagnosed breech presentations, more than 4000 emergency CS and the deaths of seven to eight babies every year.

The researchers suggested that such scans would be possible if midwives were to be trained in how to perform the technique using inexpensive portable equipment.

Professor Gordon Smith, from the university’s department of obstetrics and gynaecology and the study’s lead, said: ‘It seems likely that screening for breech presentation near term could be introduced in a cost-effective manner, and this should be considered by the NHS and other health systems.’


Image credit | iStock