Sunday, April 11, 2010

A breech birth in Ottawa

I was happy to read about a recent vaginal breech birth in Ottawa, thanks to ElementalMom. In Giving Birth, the Natural Way, Liz Payne of The Ottawa Citizen profiled a recent vaginal breech birth in Canada. The 2009 SOGC guidelines recommended vaginal breech birth as an option, but as Payne noted, "change has been slow."
The problem is that many doctors have never delivered a breech baby and others have limited experience. It had become a lost art.

Ottawa obstetrician Glenn Posner began practising after the controversial breech birth study and, as a result, had no practical experience delivering breech babies. He is anxious to change that. On Monday night he helped deliver Lily Luck-Henderson. He says watching a video about how it is done in Germany, with women in an upright position or on their hands and knees rather than lying down, helped.

It is time women were given the choice about attempting to deliver breech babies without surgery, he added. "Aren't we supposed to let people make their own choices? It's not the 1950s when you tell people what to do and they say, 'OK, doctor.' "
I love reading these stories of positive change--thanks to "regular" women and mothers like Robin Guy, who founded the Coalition for Breech Birth and helped organize the International Breech Conferences in Vancouver and Ottawa.


  1. As a soon-to-graduate student midwife here in Canada, I finally saw my first vaginal breech birth in my last week of Clerkship after 4 years of school and many more years attending births. It was so inspiring to watch this mom take control and push out a breech baby, after everyone said it was very unlikely it would happen. In the end after all the medicalization and hysteria surrounding her "condition" it was a very quick, normal birth, except there were about 10 people in the room. The best part was the kid pissed all over everyone as he was coming out. Cheeky!

  2. Just wanted to add that we had a vaginal breech birth in the Yukon in 2008. The mom was adamant about giving birth vaginally, with the support of her midwife. The birth occurred in the hospital with a lot of time pressure from the obstetrician, but she managed to birth the baby just under the one hour time limit she was given. She has said that she could not have done it without the support of her midwife! There was resistance from the medical community in the Yukon around this birth, but I think that attending it was probably eye opening for some of the medical staff.


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