To evaluate the success of an external cephalic version (
ECV) training programme, and to determine the rates of successful ECV, complications, and caesarean birth in a low‐risk population. Design
Prospective observational study.
Primary health care and hospital settings throughout the Netherlands (January 2008–September 2011).
Low‐risk women with a singleton fetus in breech presentation, without contraindications to
ECV, were offered ECVat approximately 36 weeks of gestation. Methods
Data were collected for all
ECVs performed by midwives, and were entered into a national online database. Main measures
ECVwas defined as the fetus having a cephalic presentation immediately following the procedure and at birth. Complications were observed at ≤30 minutes and between 30 minutes and 48 hours after the ECVprocedure. All serious pregnancy outcomes that occurred after the ECVprocedure until birth were reported. Results
A total of 47% had a successful ECv and a cephalic at the time of birth: 34% of nulliparous and 66% of multiparous women. After
ECV, 57% of women gave birth vaginally: 45% of nulliparous women and 76% of multiparous women. Within 30 minutes after ECV, and between 30 minutes and 48 hours after ECV, the proportion of women experiencing a complication or serious pregnancy outcome was 0.9% and 1.8%, respectively. Serious pregnancy outcome at any time following ECVuntil birth was experienced by 58 (2.5%) of the women. Conclusions
The success rate of
ECVs performed by trained midwives in primary health care or hospital settings is comparable with that of other providers, and the procedure is safe for low‐risk women.