When babies are growing in the womb, mom hopes they will be safe and develop properly. One concern she may not have is what position the baby is in. Many first-time moms don't know that certain positions are conducive to less complicated, natural deliveries than others. However, the position the baby is in often determines if mom will end up having a C-section or not.
A child who is in a breech position at the time of delivery leaves mom few options for how to move forward. Though there are doctors who will attempt to deliver babies that are coming out bottom or feet first instead of in the ideal head down position, many will not. They cite concerns over the safety of the mother and the baby since delivering a breech baby is more likely to cause injury to mom and her little one than delivering a child who is head down.
A baby may be complete breech, footling breech, or frank breech, but all of these mean either baby's bottom or feet are where the head should. Babies usually turn to the proper position before birth, but three to four percent will stay in the breech position even when the due date arrives.
If mom wants to do everything she can to make sure her baby flips, there are tricks she can try to encourage the baby to turn. They don't always work, but in a large majority of cases they do and can save mom from having a surgical birth.
15 Head Under Water
If mom wants to see a bunch of teenage lifeguards freak out, nothing beats showing up at public pool during the last trimester, entering the water, and mom then flipping over to stand on her head. It gets them every time, and it might just flip a breech baby.
Some people recommend mom drink some orange juice or enjoy some other sugary snack that will get the baby moving first, then repeatedly diving under to try to get the baby to turn. It's much safer to do handstands in the water when expecting since water can catch mom when she falls.
Though water makes mom feel buoyant, it's a good idea to have a partner to grab mom's feet when she goes over. Just because we feel weightless in water doesn't mean we are, and a mom who is eight or nine months along may find she can't stay on her hands because her belly drags her down.
14 Shine A Light On The Lower Pelvic Area
If mom has ever seen a cat chase flashlight circles around the floor, then she kind of understands how using light to turn a baby works. Basically, in this case we want baby to go towards the light.
Using a flashlight, mom should shine it down towards her lower pelvic area where the baby's head would be if he or she wasn't breech. By doing this, she is giving the baby something to aim for, and the hope is that the child who is turned the wrong way will chase the light and flip over.
Starting in the second trimester a child can see light from outside of the womb, so the question isn't whether it can be seen, but if baby will take the bait.
Mom can try this approach often, but she should wait until she can feel her little one moving and knows he is awake and aware.
13 Ice, Ice, That Baby
Okay, so this is a bit mean, but if mom has tried nicely to lure a child down with light and it doesn't work, she may have to pull out the big guns, ice. Specifically, ice packs or bags of frozen peas that can fit around anything, like mom's growing belly.
Since breech baby's have their heads positioned at the top of mom's uterus instead of the bottom, mom will want to place the ice pack where the head is. The baby is not going to like the cold, which is the whole point. The hope is that she won't like it enough to move.
Mom needs to be careful using ice because if placed directly on the skin it can hurt mom. A rag or towel should be placed between the ice pack and mom's tummy. Mom will probably feel her baby start moving around, and that's when it's tempting to pull the ice away. No parent wants to intentionally make their child uncomfortable. However, a little discomfort now can save mom and baby a surgical birth later, so it's worth a shot.
12 Try The Tilt
Any mom with an ironing board can try the tilt method, and it's much more fun to lay on the ironing board than it is to use it for its actual purpose. The breech tilt, like most all of the methods on this list, isn't necessary until mom is about 30-32 weeks along. That's because most babies will turn on their own before then, and if they haven't, that's the time to start interventions.
The ironing board should be propped against a stable surface, like a couch, and mom should lay on it. The trick is mom needs to lay with her feet pointing up and her head pointing down. Since balance can be an issue during pregnancy, mom should probably have someone with her to make sure she stays stable while in this position.
The tilt puts a bit of pressure on baby's head which will cause him to tuck his chin. When this occurs, he can flip easier. Mom should try to practice this method three times a day.
11 The Webster Technique
Chiropractors can offer mom tons of relief in general during pregnancy. Adjustments help mom's body stay in balance, and chiropractors can help alleviate back and leg pain mom experiences due to carrying the weight of the baby.
Some chiropractors are even able to perform the Webster Technique, and mom will want to work with these chiropractors if she is carrying a breech baby. Using certain chiropractic methods, the Webster Technique works to relax and balance areas of mom's body so the baby can turn.
Because some believe babies stay breech due to mom's pelvis being misaligned and not allowing the baby's head to go where it should, a chiropractor working on mom to fix her alignment should remedy the problem. The baby, when given enough room and the ability to move, can oftentimes flip to a heads down position after the Webster Technique is used.
It may take more than one visit, but this technique can lead to success.
An acupuncturist can often offer to use a Chinese herb called moxibustion on mom if she doesn't mind her toes smoking. That's right, the moxibustion herb is burned on the outside of the little toes on mom's feet to try to convince baby to flip.
The reason this is said to work is because the heat in those locations encourages placental estrogen and prostaglandins to be released. When this happens, the uterus contracts and that can lead to the baby turning.
Though mom can try this at home if she gets a hold of moxi sticks, it's a better idea for a professional to administer the treatments, and mom may receive them several times a day. The research on the success of moxibustion is varied, with most of it showing that moxibustion works best when combined with other techniques, such as chiropractic and position exercises.
9 Pose Like A Dolphin
The dolphin pose in yoga is ideal for the mom trying to turn a breech baby. It looks a lot like downward facing dog, but mom's elbows and head touch the ground while her rear end is in the air. She basically looks like an upside down V.
This position allows room for the baby to flip and to stay heads down the way he or she should be. Given the appropriate amount of room, babies can turn, and the dolphin pose allows it. If mom doesn't feel flexible enough to do this on the floor on her own, she can put her knees on a prop, such as a couch or bed, and lean forward from there.
As always, a woman's balance is not always great when she is expecting, so it's a good idea to have a partner or friend be there to spot and support mom, making sure she isn't compromising the integrity of the pose or falling over.
8 Side-Lying Release
When mom places her body in certain positions several times a day, she can open her pelvis more and give the baby room to turn. The side-lying release is a great way to do that, and it's an easy position for any expctant woman.
Mom will need a helper with this one to make sure it's performed effectively. With mom on her side on a surface like a bed or a couch, she will flex her toes and make sure her neck is even with the pillow. Her helper will lean up against the surface mom is on so she doesn't fall off. The helper needs to hold mom's hip in place while moving her top leg to fall out and down in front of mom. Mom doesn't want to roll her hip into this. Just her leg goes over.
Mom will hold this position for around three minutes, and then she will do the other side. This can open up the pelvis for hours, and it can even be used during labor to ease baby down the birth canal.
7 Get In The Water
Mom may not want to do a handstand in the pool, but just being in the water may help a breech baby flip. Moves like the breast stroke are though to be effective at helping to encourage a baby to flip.
Moms feel good in the water during pregnancy because they don't feel as heavy. Plus, no worrying about a swimsuit body because of being expectant! So while mom is in the water, she can try doing forward and backward flips. Some women even dive into deep water. This motion is thought to help the baby turn when mom hits the water.
Before mom dives, it's probably best to talk to her doctor, but a mom with enough balance who can swim and turn flips should be fine trying those anytime. Mom should be careful and pay attention to how the baby is responding, but water is considered a great tool for giving baby the hint that it's time to flip over.
6 Use Some Noise
While the ice method tries to push baby away from the top of the uterus, the noise method is gentler and simply entices baby to the southern end with some great tunes or stories. Mom will need headphones or a partner for this one.
Many moms try this while in the tilt position, which is not a bad idea. Mom can have her partner place headphones on the lower part of her belly so the baby can hear them. Babies can hear during the third trimester, and they can even be startled by sound, so mom should make the music calming and alluring.
Mom can also have her partner read stories or talk to the baby, but he should do this at the bottom of the uterus where mom and dad want the baby's head to go. The thought is that these sounds will intrigue the reluctant child and make them curious enough to flip down and see what is going on.
5 Try The ECV Method
Most methods can be tried at home and are considered natural. However, mom may decide to move onto a medical option if nothing else is working. That's where the external cephalic version(ECV) comes in.
Mom will likely receive something to relax her uterus, sometimes an epidural, and the doctor will then attempt to manually move the baby to a head down position. This can be a painful procedure, which is why many doctors use an epidural, and if it goes wrong and the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, an immediate C-section will need to be performed. The baby's heart rate suddenly dropping during the procedure will also lead to an immediate surgical birth, and that's why most doctors will not perform ECVs until late in pregnancy.
ECVs have an over 50% success rate, but like any of these procedures, the effects aren't always permanent. Even after a baby goes head down, he or she can still flip back to a breech position. Mom has to consider this factor when deciding if this procedure is worth the risks.
Pulsatilla is a homeopathic herb from the windflower that can be used for mom when baby just won't budge. A naturopath or midwife can administer it, and it should be safe for most women. Pulsatilla can't force a baby to turn if there is a reason they are staying in the same place, like the position of the placenta or some other uterine abnormality mom may not be aware of.
However, if mom's uterus is good and the baby is willing, pulsatilla helps encourage the turning process.
Because the uterus doesn't expand perfectly even during pregnancy, a baby may get lodged in and be unable to move. A good dose of pulsatilla helps the uterus expand evenly, offering more room for the baby to be head down.
Pulsatilla is considered a gentle approach that is sometimes effective and can be combined with other methods. If the baby does flip, mom will want to stop taking this herb. We don't want to encourage the baby to flip again!
3 Hypnosis For Mom
It may sound crazy, but some moms have been hypnotized, and it's helped turn their baby to a head down position. Talk about the ultimate relaxation technique!
During hypnosis, our conscious mind takes a break and our subconscious takes over. Our minds are more susceptible to suggestion during this time. Mom needs to talk to her doctor or midwife and see a trained hypnotist for this. A hypnotist will, well, hypnotize mom, and that will cause her uterus to relax.
Mom will then probably be talked through envisioning her baby flipping, the mental image hopefully creating the real thing.
Many women use hypnosis during labor to help manage pain, so using it during pregnancy is not a strange or new concept. By relaxing the body and releasing fear, mom's body may respond to what she wants, which is a baby that is head down. Since relaxation is key to helping the baby flip, hypnosis just might work.
2 Get A Prenatal Massage
Pregnancy massages are pretty great no matter why mom is receiving them. Pregnancy is hard on our bodies, and having experienced hands massage away our pain helps us feel better and have more energy. It can also help us relax, and that can lead to a baby who is finally able to flip.
Because muscles, tendons, and ligaments around our pelvis tighten up in response to pregnancy, many babies don't have the room to hang head down. They curl into the breech position and wait too long to flip. When they finally do, mom's uterus may be too tight or cramped at the bottom, so baby stays put.
A professional massage therapist who is experienced at working on women during pregnancy can release tension in mom's body and make space for baby. Plus, mom will feel relaxed for hours after, an added mental and physical benefit.
1 Start Scrubbing In Cow/Cat Position
Technically, mom doesn't have to scrub her kitchen floors to achieve this position, but if she happens to be nesting at the same times she is trying to turn a breech baby, she can kill two birds with one stone.
A hands and knee position, called a cat/cow position in yoga, can be useful for mom when she wants her little one to turn. This position is actually great for any pregnant woman to practice, but women whose babies are breech will benefit from the way it opens the body so the baby can flip if they are able.
Mom will get on her hands and knees and drop her belly low. Think cow here. She will then lift her back into a curved position and hold it. This is cat. She'll repeat this several times a day, and hopefully she will notice her little one trying to turn.