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Most parents ask the question do breech babies have birth defects usually when their own baby is termed to be in the breech position prior to delivery. The optimal delivery for a child is to emerge out of the mother’s vagina headfirst, followed by the rest of the body. However, there are instances when the baby is positioned in such a way that his feet point towards the birth canal instead of the head. This causes the child to emerge out either with its feet or buttocks. This poses numerous risks around the child’s survival, which might also result in numerous defects.
What Rate of Breech Babies have Birth Defects?
On trying to understand what percentage of breech babies have birth defects, there is a lot of statistical data present that point towards the probability of such babies having congenital conditions after the delivery. However, the probability is quite low since the data posits nearly 93% of breech babies to have zero birth defects in them. Thus, the risk may be less but chances of abnormalities do exist.
Possible Birth Defects Associated with Breech Babies
The causes of breech baby birth defects vary right from the possibilities of cutting off the oxygen supply prior to delivery, right down to any damage sustained to the physical body. Various causes result in a range of birth-related defects in the child, some of which do have the possibility to be fatal for the newborn as well. Some of the major ones are listed below.
1. A Possibility of Autism
Autism is one of the disorders that have the strongest chances of being developed in a child that is born in the breech style of birth. This disorder is a defect in the brain of the child that tends to cause numerous developmental problems when it comes to understanding communication or social cues as the child grows up. The reason for this occurs during the process of birth itself. The breech position of the child increases the probability of the umbilical cord being compressed as the child travels down the birth canal. At times, this can even cause a cord prolapse to occur, too. When this happens, the oxygen supply that the baby receives through the cord gets interrupted and might stay in that manner for a long time throughout the birth process. Since the brain is heavily dependent on oxygen, any time period where it might not have oxygen could hamper its functioning with long-term consequences.
2. Chances of Down’s Syndrome
This, too, is another condition that affects the behaviour of the child and tends to cause delays in growth and a proper development like any other individual. There is yet a conclusive link to be established between the breech birth and the condition, but there are chances that indicate to the same. In a normal child, there are 23 pairs of chromosomes that are formed together by the chromosomes received from both the mother and the father. In certain cases, a child may have an extra chromosome that stays unpaired, which is known to cause this condition. As of today, there doesn’t seem to be any methodology that can prevent Down’s syndrome.
3. Issues With Chromosomes
Having an extra chromosome than the usual 46 does lead to Down’s syndrome being present in the child. However, there are numerous other conditions that can plague a child if the chromosomal structure is not as it should be, or their pairing is incorrect. This anomalies in chromosomes could be a result of the breech birth, too. Certain studies have also pointed out a higher risk of heart problems and a susceptibility for heart diseases in babies born via the breech birth.
4. Structural Deformities
The headfirst position also has its advantages since it poses the lowest risk of damaging any other parts of the baby’s body. The skull can withstand the initial pressure whereas other parts of the body might still be developing. One such region is the spinal cord, which ends up bearing the highest pressure if the baby is born in a breech way. This results in higher chances of the spinal cord being deformed, which could lead to further complications in the child’s growth or even muscular coordination problems.
How to Prevent Breech Birth Defects?
Whether the child is born in a complete breech position or a frank breech, the baby’s birth defects can be avoided by one and only one solution – changing the baby’s position prior to birth. This can be carried out in different ways.
1. Undergoing A Breech Tilt
This is a physical process that tends to use gravity and orientation to encourage the baby to change his position. The woman lies down, resting her hips on pillows that elevate it to a higher level. These then need to be raised above the ground and brought back down. Carrying out this process for about 15 minutes on a daily basis nearly three times a day can bring about a change in the baby’s position. Make sure that the belly does not stay tensed.
2. Using Affinity For Music
Through your pregnancy, you might have observed that your child responds to a particular song or kicks when you listen to a particular tune. This could be used to your benefit since the baby can now recognise that tune pretty well. Play the tune on speakers or headphones and place them close to your belly. Rotate the speaker in such a way that the baby tends to shift in that direction and change his position.
3. Pushing The Baby Physically
When most of the other methods fail, doctors usually start professional ones in such a manner. The mother is given some medication that tends to calm the uterus and not start untoward contractions. Thereafter, a professional physician will start pushing on your abdomen and gently try to move the baby in the other direction.
4. Chiropractic Techniques
In certain cases, your doctor might recommend seeing a chiropractor. They tend to have certain techniques that are used on pregnant women, which act to calm the uterus down and create a movement that encourages the baby to shift on his own.
In a breech baby, a birth defect in the legs or hands or mental conditions have a higher chance of occurring as compared to other babies. However, there is no reason to fret since medical science has reached a stage to combat the problem. By detecting the breech position early and undertaking methods to correct it, you can have a safe and healthy pregnancy and a fully developed baby free of any defects.