Practice Bulletin No. 161: External Cephalic Version

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Abstract

In the United States, there is a widespread belief that the overall cesarean delivery rate is higher than necessary. Efforts are being directed toward decreasing the number of these procedures, in part by encouraging physicians to make changes in their management practices. Because breech presentations are associated with a high rate of cesarean delivery, there is renewed interest in techniques such as external cephalic version (ECV) and vaginal breech delivery. The purpose of this document is to provide information about ECV by summarizing the relevant evidence presented in published studies and to make recommendations regarding its use in obstetric practice.

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