Researchers at Tel Aviv University have said that in certain circumstances, traditional vaginal delivery for breech babies is not only safe for baby, but for mothers too.
For breech babies - those born with buttocks or feet first rather than head first - doctors usually use caesarean but Prof. Marek Glezerman and colleagues believe that babies born using old-school methods are a lot safer, and so are the mothers.
A major surgical procedure, a C-section is not only riskier for a woman and decreases chances she will be able to breastfeed, it also increases maternal risks in future pregnancies.
Once a woman has delivered by C-section, it becomes more dangerous and occasionally impossible to deliver vaginally, since the uterine walls and muscles are at increased risk for rupture.
While it is much easier to perform a C section than successfully deliver a breech baby vaginally, said Glezerman, many women can benefit medically by the return to traditional techniques.
"Residents are no longer taught these techniques, and senior physicians are doing it less and less. We need to go back to the future and relearn what has been forgotten," he said.
Glezerman's workshop courses include techniques of breech delivery, changing presentation from breech to head and management of different breech presentations.
He hopes to reintroduce critical delivery skills into the field, and raise awareness that breech presentation of babies does not always necessitate C-section deliveries.
Glezerman said that physicians do need to be able to recognize dangerous risks when they arise. In those cases, vaginal delivery is not a viable option - but doctors must judge each situation individually.