9 Ways to Turn a Breech Baby
If you’re pregnant right now and your baby is in the bum-first position, it doesn’t automatically mean that you need a c-section, Mama!
When I was working in labour and delivery, we had a couple of obstetricians who calmly and collectively delivered breech babies. They didn’t just book c-sections because of a baby’s position and I totally respect that. We all know that caesareans are major abdominal surgery, so anytime you can save a woman from the repercussions of a surgical birth is a win.
Babies don’t like to commit to a final position right away.
About 25% of babies are in the breech position before 28 weeks! Yup, those babies like to spread out and motor around when they have room in the womb. But as the weeks grow, so does your baby; by the time they hit 32 weeks only about 7% of those remain breech.
So what’s a girl supposed to do if her baby is happily butt-down?
There are a few options for you to consider, actually!
External Cephalic Version
Don't be scared away by the medical terminology- there’s evidence to proved that this procedure works. But I was very surprised to hear that only about 66% of Australian pregnant mamas had even heard of this non-invasive way to avoid a c-section! The Mamasoup Blog has some Australian readers so I hope I can educate and inspire you to consider an external version.
External cephalic version is performed by an obstetrician at the hospital, generally around 37 weeks of pregnancy. Basically, the doctor uses their hands on the outside of your belly to manipulate the baby to turn into the head first position. It’s almost like the doctor is kneading bread on your tummy except the bread is your baby.
I’ve been at some that have worked and others that haven’t, but here are the facts that you should know:
The most recent evidence about external version shows us that:
56% were successful.
44% weren't and the baby didn’t turn.
External cephalic version can reduce your chance of having a c-section by 43%
The risk of severe complications are tiny at 0.24%
There are definitely some cases where this procedure may not be possible and it really depends on how comfortable your doctor is with it.
Spinning Babies and ‘Resting Smart’
Spinning Babies is an approach to make the physical relationship between a pregnant mom and her baby the best it can be, for an easier childbirth. It was created by midwife, Gail Tully to optimize fetal position for vaginal birth and decrease the rates of caesarean.
It’s a wonderful resource for pregnancy, whether your baby is head down or breech.
Resting Smart is the idea that your belly is a hammock and you can use positions to encourage your baby to settle his or her back into the hammock.
Acupuncture is a form of Eastern medicine that has been used by certified practitioners for centuries. An acupuncturist uses certain pressure points to treat certain conditions.
It's important to note that although acupuncture may work on its own, there's more evidence of success when it's combined with moxibustion
Webster Certified Chiropractor
You may be interested to seek chiropractic care during pregnancy because there are so many shifts happening in your body. Seeing a chiropractor can help with any pain and discomfort that you have, but did you know that they can also manipulate your pelvis to make it easier for your baby to turn?
The technique that they use is called the Webster Technique but beware: not all chiropractors are certified to provide these adjustments, so make sure you ask! According to the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (you have no idea how long it took me to write that), the Webster Technique works 82% of the time.
Moxibustion is a type of Chinese medicine that uses the burning of an herb at an acupuncture point or at the baby toe. There’s a very small amount of research about this procedure that shows that it can decrease a woman’s need for synthetic oxytocin in labour to keep contractions going. But used on its own, there’s not much to prove that it works to turn a breech baby. That's why it should be combined with acupuncture.
Ok, believe me- I didn't think this could possibly work. But a study showed that when pregnant women were hypnotized between 37-40 weeks, told to release their fear and tension about birth and asked why their babies were breech, 81% of the babies turned!
BTW- if you're feeling really nervous about giving birth, check out this post: Are You Scared Sh*tless About Giving Birth, Mama? Here's 5 Ways to Conquer Your Fears.
This herbal remedy has been used for centuries to turn babies. It’s considered a soft and changeable herb, and when you apply it to your pregnant tummy it helps the uterus change shape.
Your uterus grows asymmetrically and the baby just fits in there whatever way he or she can. By changing the shape of the uterus, you can encourage your baby to turn into a head-down position.
This treatment is generally put into play around 35 weeks as long as your water hasn’t broken and your baby hasn’t engaged in your pelvis. You need to see a professional for this because herbal medicine is no joke!
Forward Leaning Inversion
This is when you're on all fours, but your hips are above your shoulders. Many women use a couch or chair to kneel on and then put their elbows on the floor. Like an exaggerated downward dog.
True story: I had a doula client once who tried an external cephalic version that didn’t work, but doing inversions three times a day did.
Good to Know: I would never advise a mama to do this manoeuver alone because you can become really light-headed.
Meditation is good for everydamnbody!
Drake rapped it best, ‘See, the power of the mind is not a joke!’ The truth is that meditation will probably not physically turn your baby around. But repeating positive mantras can make you feel okay with the situation if your baby stays breech.
If your doctor isn't giving you any options but a c-section for your breech baby, start investigating other care providers! There's no 'bad' way to give birth, but you should always feel supported.
Wondering what other juicy info you need before your baby comes along? Check out this viral post:
Also popular, is this one:
I mean, who doesn't want to learn how to NOT tear their va-jay-jay?
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!