Giving pregnant women third routine scan could cut number of dangerous breech births, research says
Giving pregnant women a third routine scan could reduce the number of dangerous breech deliveries by 70 percent, study shows
- Experts say it would significantly reduce labor complications for mother and baby
- Pregnant women currently get routine scans at 12 and 20 weeks
According to research, pregnant women should get a routine scan at the end of pregnancy to reduce breech births and save lives.
Adding a third routine scan at 36 to 37 weeks would reduce the number of babies born in a breech position — feet or butt first — by 70 percent.
Experts say it would significantly reduce complications for mother and baby during childbirth, as well as the number of women needing an emergency cesarean section.
They are calling on health watchdog NICE to change its guidelines so that all pregnant women in their third trimester will be offered a scan.
Women get routine scans at 12 and 20 weeks, with only those at high risk due to health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure receiving further screening.
According to research, pregnant women should get a routine scan at the end of pregnancy to reduce breech births and save lives. Pictured: stock image of pregnant woman
But about 4 percent of babies end up in an unexpected breech position at the end of pregnancy, putting them at increased risk of brain injury or death from oxygen deprivation.
Doctors compared the number of unexpected breech births and the health of the newborn after different policies for third trimester scans were introduced at St George’s University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (SGUH) and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH).
Both types of third-trimester ultrasound dramatically reduced the number of unexpected breech births by 71 and 69 percent in SGUH and NNUH, respectively.
Babies born to women who had the third ultrasound were 16 percent less likely to be admitted to the neonatal unit for closer monitoring, according to findings published in Plos Medicine.
They were also 40-77 percent less likely to have a low Apgar score five minutes after birth, which assesses the baby’s appearance and well-being.
Professor Asma Khalil, from St George’s, University of London, who led the study, said: ‘Our research comes at a time when the safety of maternity care is in the spotlight and provides the NHS with a clear solution to make maternity units better prepared prepare you for safer, healthier deliveries.’
The bonus of just six weeks of breastfeeding:
Newborns who are breastfed for the first six weeks of life are one-fifth less likely to have special educational needs or behavioral problems, a study found.
And those who were fed a mixture of formula and breast milk were found to be 10 percent less likely to develop special educational needs than babies who were bottle-fed alone.
For the study, scientists at the University of Glasgow analyzed data from 191,745 children born in Scotland since 2004.
Dr. Michael Fleming, whose research was published in the journal Plos Medicine, said many women struggle to exclusively breastfeed for the six months recommended by the World Health Organization. He said his research provides evidence that a shorter duration “can nevertheless be beneficial.”