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Turning a breech baby

 

Breech births

Breech births occur about 4 times in every 100 births.  Baby can be feet or bottom first instead of head first.  There are a number of variations of breech presentation depending how the legs are folded and which way baby is facing:-

 

There are a number of reasons why a breech presentation may occur:-

 

Hospitals these days prefer to perform a caesarean section when a baby is breech but many birthing centres have midwives who are trained and experienced at delivering breech babies.  Nevertheless, a breech birth does have a higher risk associated with it, particularly for baby.  If your baby is in the breech position at 32 weeks of pregnancy there is still plenty of time for him to turn but I recommend doing as much reading as you can to understand the risk factors associated with both caesarean sections and vaginal breech births.  The more informed you are, the better.

However, if you start early, there are as number of things you can do to encourage your baby to turn:-

Hypnosis for turning a breech baby

This is surprisingly effective in a number of ways. It is relaxing for Mum thus relaxing the uterine muscles allowing baby more freedom to move around.  It also allows Mum to connect and communicate with her baby in the womb - never underestimate the power of the mind. Evidence has shown that hypnotherapy can almost double the chance of the baby turning when compared to no treatment. This method works well in combination with the pelvic tilt exercise below.  

 

You can purchase a specially developed MP3 recording for turning a breech baby from our store.

 

The pelvic tilt position

This involves the Mum to be spending about 10 minutes two or three times a day lying down with her hips propped up on several cushions so that they are higher than her head.  Can be started from 32 weeks of pregnancy only when baby is in the breech position and not as a preventative measure.

 

Moxibustion

This method comes from Traditional Chinese medicine and involves the use of burning the leaves of a herb called mugwort at a specific acupuncture point - bladder 67.  This procedure alters the energy flow to the uterus and can encourage the baby to turn.  There is some evidence of its effectiveness and in China it is said to work 85% of the time. (Steen 2008).  

External version

This is a procedure whereby the doctor manipulates the position of the baby from the outside.  It is successful in about 50% of cases but rarely (less than 1% of cases), there can be complications such as ruptured membranes, premature labour, damage to the placenta and evidence of stress in the foetus. Some women find the procedure painful.  After this procedure baby may sometimes revert back to breech after turning head down. (Steen 2008).  

Exercise

Gentle walking and swimming can help baby to take the best position for birth and has many other benefits for mother and baby.

 

References:

Steen M, Kingdon C. (2008) Breech birth: Reviewing the evidence for external

cephalic version and moxibustion. Evidence Based Midwifery 6(4): 126-129