‘Turning my baby was quick and painless’

When Juan Cheng (31) from Eindhoven was 36 weeks pregnant, her daughter appeared to be in breech position. Because this is detrimental for the delivery of the child, the obstetrician sent her to Máxima MC (MMC) in Veldhoven for an external cephalic version (ECV consultation). “The baby was turned very quickly. It happened in twenty seconds.”

“My first pregnancy was easy,” says English-speaking Juan. “It was only in the early months that I sometimes felt sick in the evening. Fortunately, that went away.” Juan and her husband have been living in Eindhoven since 2015. Prior to that, the couple lived in China—Juan’s native country—for four years. When the couple developed a desire to have children, they decided to move to the Netherlands. “We wanted our child to grow up in the Netherlands, where there is a lot of freedom and less pressure to perform.”

Breech Position

At 36 weeks, baby Julia appeared to be in the breech position. This meant that her head was at the top of the uterus and her buttocks or legs were at the bottom, which impedes delivery. “That’s why the obstetrician referred us to Máxima MC.” This hospital has a special team for performing external cephalic versions (turning the baby). Juan and her partner chose MMC due to their colleagues’ own positive experiences. “They told us it was highly professional. That was our experience as well.”

Attempts at external cephalic version (ECV) at Máxima MC have a high success rate: the average success rate at MMC is 66%, whereas nationally it is 40%.


During the ECV consultation, the baby was turned by gynaecologist Pieter van Runnard Heimel. “He did everything by himself. With one hand, he grabbed the buttocks and pushed them up, while with the other, he pushed the head down. That’s what made Julia turn. It felt a bit uncomfortable, but I wasn’t in pain. Because the ECV succeeded on the first try, I didn’t have to use medication. What’s more, it went very quickly. It literally happened within twenty seconds.”


Four weeks later, Juan gave birth to her daughter at Máxima MC. “I was in severe pain from the contractions. Fortunately, as soon as I got an epidural, the pain disappeared quickly. Besides my husband, the obstetrician, gynaecologist, and nurse also supported me. Because of my elevated temperature, the nurse grabbed washcloths for my head and legs; it was a tremendous relief. She was very friendly from the start and made a good impression.” Once Julia was born, time seemed to stand still for Juan. “A magical moment. When she cried and opened her eyes, I thought ‘Wow’. I immediately forgot all the pain.”