TORONTO - New guidelines from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada say doctors should not automatically opt to perform a caesarean section for a breech birth.
The society says research has shown that many women whose babies are in the feet- or buttocks-first position at the time of delivery can safely give birth vaginally.
But principal guideline author Dr. Robert Gagnon says C-sections for breech pregnancies have become almost routine in Canada.
He says that when vaginal breech birth is a safe option, obstetricians should offer women the choice to attempt a traditional delivery.
The society says breech deliveries should all be done in a hospital and some will still require a C-section.
Most babies align themselves in the womb in a head-down position in the final weeks of pregnancy, but up to four per cent are in a breech position.