Singapore breech birth story: A baby in breech position is poised to be born feet or buttocks first, rather than head first.
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Doctors in the delivery room where Singaporean mum Kim Marie Martin gave birth last month, were privy to a rare birthing occurence.
According to The New Paper, on September 17, Kim — who came third in the international Mrs World contest in 2013 — was rushed to Gleneagles hospital because her labour pains were coming on hard and fast.
She knew her little girl was in a hurry to say hello even though a C-section had been scheduled for the next day.
But what she didn’t expect “was for her baby’s buttocks to come out first, instead of her head.”
It was an extremely rare and natural breech birth, so rare that it was the first time that some of the doctors in the room had witnessed one.
Dr Christopher Chong, who delivered the baby, says that natural breech births make up just one percent of all live births.
Kim Marie Martin never expected to give birth to a breech baby!
Image from The New Paper; Kim Marie Martin
Baby just refused to turn around!
Kim had know that her baby was in breech position for months. But according to The New Paper report, Kim had not been overly worried about this because she was expecting the baby to change her position closer to the end of the pregnancy.
But as the weeks went by, the little one refused to change position despite her mum and the doctors trying various methods to get her to do so.
Kim reportedly said, “I did the Elkin’s manoeuvre, where I spent 15 minutes every two hours in the knee-to-chest position. It didn’t work. Then Dr Chong tried ECV (external cephalic version). That didn’t work either,” she said.
ECV is a procedure used to manipulate a breech baby to a head-down position before birth. Watch the video below to see how doctors do this.
Just 12 hours before her scheduled C-section, Kim’s little one was still stubbornly refusing to move to the head-down position.
Dr Chong said, “Usually, the baby is in breech until around week 30 when she finally settles head-down. But not for this baby. She was adamant to come into the world butt first.”
On the next page, find out why the breech position is dangerous, as well as more about what happened on Kim’s D-day!
A baby emerging feet- or buttocks-first as opposed to head-first could be dangerous to the baby.
Why is breech position dangerous?
When a baby is in breech position, it means his feet or buttocks are positioned to be birthed first, rather than his head.
Medical experts say this is dangerous because, (a) the umbilical cord might get pressed between the birth canal and the baby if it exits first, and (b) the baby’s head (the biggest part of the body and the hardest to birth) could get stuck in the birth canal.
In both instances, the risk is mostly to the baby due to the possibility of his oxygen supply getting cut off.
If a breech-positioned baby does not turn around to head-down position before a woman’s expected delivery date, then the norm is to schedule a C-section — like in Kim’s case — to eliminate the risks described above.
On September 17 around 10pm, Kim was packing her hospital bag in preparation for her scheduled C-section the following day. She suddenly felt “excruciating pain in her abdomen”, according to reports.
Her pains increased in intensity and it was obvious she was going in to full-blown labour, so her husband rushed her to hospital. While at hospital, her water bag broke and “she felt a very strong urge to push.”
Kim’s labour progressed so fast that even before the anaesthetist could arrive to administer the epidural, the baby’s buttocks could be seen.
“Usually, there would only be two or three nurses in the labour ward with Dr Chong” said Kim in the report, “but because it was an emergency, there was a whole team of eight, I think.”
The whole team had been cheering Kim on and when Natalie was born in less than an hour, “the nurses were clapping and crying.”
Ms Maria Bituin Lood, 31, one of the nurses in the theatre, is quoted in The New Paper report as saying this was the first time she had ever witnessed a natural breech birth in her decade of nursing.
She said: “It was scary and exciting. Dr Chong was very calm and that was what kept the team and Ms Martin going. I gave her my hand to hold. There was a time when she wanted to stop pushing, but the nurses cheered her on to encourage her to continue. I’m glad to have witnessed this birth.”
Kim says her two older daughters love fussing over their younger sisters like a new toy, and that “When she (Natalie) is older, I will tell her how she came into this world, butt first.”
In Singapore, like in the US, nine in 10 babies in breech position at the end of pregnancy are delivered by C-section.
Little Natalie’s amazing birth was indeed rare and congratulations to her mum on “pushing through”! We wish their family all the very best.
Have you successfully “flipped” your baby to head-down position before you went into labour? If you have, do share your tips with our other readers by leaving a comment below.