External cephalic version (ECV) is a common procedure and has been shown to be safe and effective in turning a baby from a breech to cephalic presentation. However, whether ECV is safe and effective in women with a scarred uterus from a previous caesarean section remains contentious.
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of external cephalic version in women with a singleton breech pregnancy and at least one previous caesarean delivery.
Material and methods
Literature searches were conducted on MEDLINE, PUBMED, EMBASE, CINAHL and SCOPUS up to June 2020. The search strategy included the following keywords: (‘external cephalic version OR ECV’) AND (‘previous OR prior OR past’ AND ‘caesarean OR caesarean OR uterine scar’). Studies were included if they evaluated the efficacy and/or safety of external cephalic version in women after 36 weeks’ gestation with a singleton breech pregnancy and at least one previous caesarean delivery.
Nine studies were included in the review. ECV success rates and subsequent vaginal delivery rates ranged from 50 to 100% and from 50 to 74.9%, respectively. ECV complications reported included abnormal fetal heart rate, abnormal cardiotocography and transient vaginal bleeding. No studies reported cases of uterine rupture.
ECV in women with a previous caesarean delivery is a relatively successful and low‐risk procedure compared to women without a previous caesarean delivery. The results from this systematic review provide useful information for professional bodies in updating clinical guidelines such that ECV may be offered to women with one previous caesarean delivery.