Breech Presentation and Delivery - Diagnosis
Diagnosis of Breech is by either physical examination or by ultrasound. By 28 weeks gestation, 30% of babies present by breech. This falls to 3% at full term. The following methods are used to diagnose breech presentation.
- Abdominal Palpation (Leopold's maneuvers) - A breech presentation might be found during a routine prenatal visit when the nurse-midwife or physician feels the mother's abdomen for the outline of the fetus. The baby's head and bottom may feel similar, but the head is characteristically ballotable (i.e. it will "bounce" back and forth between the examiner's hands).
- Listening to the baby's heartbeat - Hearing the heartbeat above the mother's umbilicus suggests a breech presentation.
- Vaginal examination - It is done to confirm the diagnosis. The firm section of the head is not felt in pelvis but a softer organ like buttocks and or feet may be felt.
- Ultrasound - It is the most reliable test as it can visualize the fetus and reveal its position.