2nd International Breech Conference
October 15-16, 2009

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Report written by Rixa Freeze, PhD

Notes from Ottawa

October 15, 2009

Having a fantastic time at the International Breech Conference in Ottawa! It's late and I really need to get to bed but here are some of the highlights of the day:

  • Meeting Lisa Barrett, a Welsh midwife currently practicing in Australia. I was sad to miss her presentation because it was full by time I got to the sign-up table. She had red striped socks, flowery Birkinstocks, pale purple capris, and was doing quite well despite her luggage being sent to Toronto
  • British midwife Jane Evan saying "The pelvic floor is a lovely, beautiful valley."
  • Betty-Anne Daviss and her gigantic pelvis and the Homer Simpson doll and the dry ice coming out of the statue's head (one of those "you needed to be there" moments)
  • Old-time OB from Colorado, Michael Hall, using said pelvis and Homer Simpson doll to demonstrate vaginal breech birth techniques.
  • All the OBs talking excitedly about this amazing new breech technique, how it just makes so much sense, how they really want to start doing it. What is it? Birthing on hands & knees. (More later on how it took a German OB doing this in a hospital setting to finally make a blip on the obstetrical radar--even though midwives have been doing this, and writing about this, for a while). But I'm loving the buzz.
  • Getting oohs and aahs from passers-by over Dio in the MamaPoncho

Why Breech Matters

Post-conference reflections

At the International Breech Conference, Dr. Marek Glezerman spoke about how to save the vanishing skill of vaginal breech birth. Dr. Glezerman is chair of OB/GYN at the Women's Hospital of the Rabin Medical Center, which does about 8,500 births per year. Breech presentation is directly or indirectly responsible for approximately 40% of his hospital's cesarean sections. (Keep in mind that his hospital's c-section rate is much lower than US or Canadian rates, so in North America the effect of breech presentation on direct and indirect c/s rates will be less dramatic)

  • Directly: 20% of all cesareans at his hospital are for breech presentation.
  • Indirectly: 37% (give or take a percentage point--I don't have my conference notes with me right now) of cesareans at his hospital are repeats, and he estimated that over half of them are due to the primary c/s for breech.

Vaginal breech birth matters!