breech-baby
Pregnancy

How to Turn a Breech Baby

How can I turn my breech baby naturally?

If your unborn baby is in a breech position, you must be asking yourself, how to turn a breech baby naturally? You should know that babies often twist and turn during pregnancy. Most of them will move into the head-down position, also known as the head-first position, by the time labor begins.

Although most mothers get scared of having a breech baby in late pregnancy, it is important to note that they are various ways of turning a breech baby. But before we get to the common ways to turn a breech baby, let’s understand better what is a breech position and what are the options to deliver. 

What Is a Breech Baby?

A breech pregnancy occurs when the baby is positioned head-up in the woman’s uterus, so the feet are pointed toward the birth canal. 

It is very common for babies to turn and flip during pregnancy, so a baby is not considered breech until around 35 or 36 weeks of pregnancy. In normal pregnancies, a baby usually turns into a head-down position when preparing for birth. Therefore, it’s normal for babies to be head-up or even sideways before 35 weeks of pregnancy. 

Types of Breech Positions

Types of breech positions
Types of breech positions

There are three main breech positions:

  • Complete Breech – This position is when the buttocks are down near the birth canal. The knees are bent, and the feet are near the buttocks. 
  • Frank Breech – This position is when the buttocks are in place to come out first during delivery. The legs are straight up in front of the body, with the feet near the head. This is the most common type of breech position.  
  • Footling Breech – This position is when one leg or both legs are stretched out below the buttocks. The leg or legs are in place to come out first during delivery. 

What Percentage of Babies Are Breech?

According to The Lancet, about 2-3% of all pregnancies will result in the baby being breech. 

What Causes Babies to Be Breech?

There is no one clear reason why the baby did not turn head-down. According to the American Pregnancy Association, there may be many reasons that can cause babies to be breech. Here are a few of them:

  • If this is not your first pregnancy
  • If you are pregnant with twins or more
  • If you had a premature birth in the past 
  • If there is too much or too little amniotic fluid in your uterus
  • If your uterus is abnormally shaped or has other complications like fibroids
  • If you have placenta previa

How to Tell If Baby Is Head Down Or Breech?

As mentioned above, a baby is not considered breech until around 35 or 36 weeks of pregnancy. After this week, as the baby gets bigger and runs out of room in the uterus, it becomes harder for the baby to turn and get into the correct position. 

During the routine check-ups in your third trimester, your doctor will be able to check if your baby is in a head-down position or still breech by using ultrasound or by simply feeling your baby’s position through your stomach. This is the easiest and best way to tell if your baby is head down or breech. Other symptoms of breech baby turning are detailed later in this article.

How to Turn a Breech Baby?

How to Turn a Breech Baby
How to Turn a Breech Baby

If your baby is in a breech position at 36 weeks of pregnancy, you’ll usually be offered an external cephalic version – or ECV. This is when a professional doctor tries to turn your breech baby into a head-down position by applying pressure on your abdomen. It’s a safe procedure, although it can be a bit uncomfortable. According to UK NHS, around 50% of breech babies can be turned using this technique. 

If an ECV does not work, you can try other natural methods to turn your breech baby. You will also need to discuss your options for a vaginal birth or cesarean section with your doctor. 

Sleeping Positions to Turn Breech Baby

Sleeping Positions to Turn Breech Baby
Sleeping Positions to Turn Breech Baby

There are a few sleeping positions that can help create optimal positioning for a baby to turn. 

The first position is sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs, with as much of your leg on the pillow as possible. This position alone will provide the baby with so much more space and increase your baby’s chances to turn. 

Another sleeping position to help you turn your breech baby is sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs and rolling over a bit further so that more of your belly will touch the bed. To provide the baby as much space as possible, make sure that when you roll over, you nearly lay on your tummy. Don’t worry this position is safe for your baby because there is a pillow between your legs that holds your own weight off your baby. 

Remember not to stay in any position that is not comfortable for you. If you feel pressure and that you are lying on your belly, roll back over on your back because you probably rolled over on your belly too far.   

Ways to Turn a Breech Baby Naturally

If you want to deliver your baby naturally, it is better to have your baby in a head-down position. Here are a few common techniques for turning a breech baby.

HYPNOBABIES

Hypnobabies is an audio series which provide different types of medically proven hypnosis techniques in having a relaxing, peaceful and more comfortable pregnancy and delivery. Most people refer to it as the “hypnobirthing”. It is a good way of spending 15-20 dollars. This technique is most preferred by many pregnant women all over the world. It exponentially bonds a baby with its mother. It creates a peaceful and profound connection between mothers and their babies, ensuring a loving and optimal unison throughout the process. It is an excellent way of creating calmness and reducing anxiety for women during delivery.

USE LIGHT & TEMPERATURE

Babies respond to light/dark and heat/cold. Begin by placing a light below your pelvis and talk, sing, and caress the baby downward. Many have reported this to have worked, as baby usually moves towards soothing sounds and light. Also, the breech baby also responds to the temperature. Most pregnant women place ice blocks on their rib area and heating pads below their pelvis to lure the baby away from the cold and turn towards the warmth areas of the uterus.

TRY WATER HANDSTAND

Most doctors will advise you to visit a close pool because it is proven that water helps in increasing amniotic fluid. More space – more movement. Try a handstand in water. Although pregnant women don’t frequently use this technique, the few who tried it reported it worked perfectly. Don’t do it by yourself, to keep it safe it is better you ask someone to help you with this technique.

INVERSION POSITION

This method is also similar to Yoga’s downward facing dog position with additional support. You will need a couch or chair to kneel on. Ensure that the first three times you try this technique you have someone close to support you, as it is a very awkward position. Many mothers have been attempting this technique, and it worked perfectly for them.

BREECH TILT

This technique is similar to yoga’s bridge pose. If you are not sure on the posture of the baby (if your baby is not breech), Do not try this technique. Just as it could turn your breech baby’s head downwards, it can turn your head down baby to a breech baby.

EXTERNAL CEPHALIC VERSION (ECV)

Your doctor may suggest turning your breech baby with this kind of medical procedure used to physically turn breech baby. You may get medicine through an IV to relax your uterus, don’t worry it will not affect the baby. Then with the use of hands pressure on the outside of your belly, the doctor will try to turn the baby. The purpose is to flip the baby inside your womb, so he will turn to the right position.

Using an external cephalic version is generally safe, but there are some risks, such as changes in your baby’s heart rate, tearing of the placenta, and preterm labor.

WEBSTER TECHNIQUE

This technique is often carried out by an expert in Chiropractor. The method is a unique adjustment technique which lowers the cause of SI joint dysfunction. Usually, pregnant women with breech babies trust this adjustment to resolve their breech baby problems. It won’t only turn breech baby head downwards, but it will also create the appropriate alignment for the baby to quickly move to a head down position.

Related: BREECH BIRTH: WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS FOR DELIVERY?

Can walking help a breech baby turn?

Walking for up to an hour a day may encourage your baby’s head – the heaviest part of the body – to gravitate downwards.

What Are The Symptoms of Breech Baby Turning?

The best way to know what is your baby’s position is via ultrasound since this can give you the clearest picture of your baby. But if you want to figure out your baby’s position at home, you need to pay attention to the shapes in your belly, as well as the different movements you feel.

Your baby turned head down if you can feel their bottom or legs above your belly button or higher up towards your rib cage. More symptoms of breech baby turning are if you can feel your baby’s head low in the belly or their hands or elbows low down in your pelvis. 

If you have a stethoscope, you can try to hear your baby’s heartbeats on the lower part of your belly. 

Giving Birth To A Breech Baby

A breech birth is when a baby born bottom first instead of head first, as is normal. Due to their higher than average rate of possible complications for the baby, breech births are generally considered higher risk. 

Most babies in the breech position are delivered via cesarean section because it is seen as safer than being born vaginally. According to NCBI, doctors and midwives in the developing world often lack many of the skills required to safely assist women giving birth to a breech baby vaginally.  

For years, pregnant women have had no other options and physicians were trained in delivering breech babies. Nevertheless, with the discovery of contemporary medicine, most hospitals in the United States have critically studied this situation while giving the suggestion in most cases that breech babies be delivered through cesarean section. This trend in the United States, as well as many other countries such as Ireland and Russia, shows that 99 percent of breech babies are put to birth through cesarean.

Every day, roughly 10,000 babies are born in the United States. Knowing that about 2-3% of all pregnancies will result in the baby being breech, implies that approximately 100,000 babies every year are being delivered through C-section in the United States because the babies are in a breech position which makes it difficult to have a normal vaginal delivery.


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How to Turn a Breech Baby

 

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