BOSTON (CBS) — A new study from the University of Cambridge finds late pregnancy ultrasounds could prevent many emergency C-sections and even prevent some infant deaths.

In 3-4% of pregnancies, babies fail to flip head down, leading to what’s called a breech presentation. Trying to deliver a baby feet or buttocks first can lead to serious complications for the baby, including death. But sometimes it’s not known that a baby is breech until delivery.

At 36 weeks, it is still possible for a doctor to try to coax the baby head down by applying pressure to the abdomen, and if that doesn’t work, a routine C-section can be scheduled.

And based on a new study, researchers estimate that doing routine ultrasounds at 36 weeks could avoid 4,000 emergency C-sections and eight baby deaths a year in the U.K.

It’s still unclear whether routine late pregnancy ultrasound would be cost effective here in the United States.

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