Use of external cephalic version for breech presentation at term: A national survey of Norwegian birth units
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Introduction: International guidelines recommend that external cephalic version (ECV) be offered to all women with single fetuses in breech presentation at term. In Norway, ECV is not offered routinely; the national clinical guidelines advice that birth units capable of offering ECV for breech pregnancies make their own practice decisions. This study was performed to determine the extent to which Norwegian birth units offer ECV to pregnant women with fetuses in breech presentations at term, and to identify factors that might influence the use of ECV. Material and methods: A survey of all 39 obstetric birth units providing ECV in Norway was conducted using a self-reporting questionnaire about ECV availability, attitudes, clinical procedures, perceived competence, and outcome expectations. Results: Chief obstetricians from all birth units responded. Twenty-six (67%) respondents reported that their units offered ECV for breech presentation at term to a large degree. Thirty-one (80%) respondents reported a large degree of competence in performing ECV. Thirty-three (85%) units followed local ECV procedures. Nineteen (49%) units provided standardized information about the procedure to pregnant women. The respondents had different views about who should be offered ECV, and varying knowledge about ECV outcomes. Conclusions: The majority of Norwegian birth units offer ECV to pregnant women with fetuses in breech position to a large extent. However, the survey results reveal challenges related to ECV information provision to pregnant women, determination of women’s eligibility for ECV attempts, and familiarity and agreement with the knowledge base regarding ECV.