A breech position of a fetus means that the baby's head is positioned upward, toward the woman's chest, rather than downward, toward her pelvis. Usually, a breech baby is positioned so that either their bottom or their legs are trying to enter the birth canal first. This position can create certain problems during childbirth, such as lack of oxygen to the baby's brain and difficulty moving through the birth canal. For this reason, 9 out of 10 breech babies are delivered via C-section.
Few women will want to have C-section only because their baby's position is "wrong," considering the possible complications and prolonged recovery period after this surgery. For this reason, most of us will want to do something to help the baby turn in the womb and find the so-called vertex position, aka the correct birthing position, aka the headfirst position. But can we really do anything about it?
Fortunately, we can. In fact, there are quite a few methods and techniques that have been proven to encourage the baby to move to a head-down position. Solid scientific evidence supports some of them, while others are known as alternative remedies we might also want to use because multiple women tried them in the past and they worked perfectly for them. So let's see what these techniques are!
20 Don't Do Anything Until The 32nd Week
If you learn that your baby is breech before week 32, the best approach you should have to the issue is to just sit and wait. Don't do anything yet. In most cases, the baby turns into the proper position by themselves, with low to no effort on your side. Ellen Giesbrecht, a doctor at BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver, explains that while about 30% of babies are breech at 32 weeks, only 3% of them are still breech at full term of pregnancy.
So just give it time. In case your baby remains in improper position after the 32nd week, it's time to try certain techniques that will fix the problem.
19 Forward-Leaning Inversion
One of the first techniques your doctor might recommend is the forward-leaning inversion. You can do it on your bed or couch. Start in the knee-to-chest position and then place your palms on the floor. Be careful and ask your partner to help you into the position. Hold it for no more than 30 seconds and repeat it 3-4 times a day.
You can do it any time of the day, for example, when watching TV or listening to music. This exercise isn't only capable of helping your baby turn, but it will also ease the back and hip pain that's common in pregnancy.
Avoid doing it, if you have high BP, glaucoma, or heartburn.
18 Knee-To-Chest Exercise
Knee-to-chest is similar to forward-leaning inversion, but it's a bit easier to do it. It works because it uses gravity to encourage your baby to turn into the proper position.
To perform the exercise, get down on your knees and just rest your forearms on the ground. Tuck your chin and stick your bottom into the air. Due to this movement, the lower part of your uterus will expand and make more room for your fetus' head.
You can hold this position for 5 to 15 minutes and do the exercise twice a day. It's best to do it on an empty stomach because otherwise, you might feel slightly ill afterward.
17 Pelvic Tilts
The pelvic tilt is also known as the ironing board technique because to perform this exercise you might need an ironing board. Essentially, it means lying on the floor, raising your hips, and bending your knees.
To raise your hips properly, you can place one end of an ironing board on the floor and another one on the couch or bed, thus creating a sloping bridge. Lie down on it, rest your head on a pillow, and keep your legs elevated. Do it for 20 minutes, twice a day.
Don't expect to gracefully lie down into the position and come out of it. Better ask for your partner's help.
16 Hot And Cold Packs
Like most people, babies in the womb don't like cold and prefer warmth, so placing cold and hot packs in certain areas of your belly can encourage them to turn.
Place a towel on your tummy in the area, where the baby's head is, and put a cold pack on it (it can be anything, like a pack of frozen peas or ice). Your baby will feel the cold and, probably, they will want to move away from it. To encourage them even more, place a warm pack (a simple bottle with hot water will do) on the base of your pelvis.
You can also do it while taking a bath. Just place an ice pack on the area where the head is and submerge the lower part of your belly in warm water.
15 Do The Cat Stretch
Even if you've never done yoga before, there are a few poses that are absolutely safe to try even when you're pregnant. The so-called "cat stretch" is one of them and it's also beneficial if you attempt to turn a breech baby. It makes your body more flexible and facilitates the flipping over of the baby.
Get a yoga mat, or just a simple mat to rest your knees on. Then get down on your knees and hands on it. First, drop your belly low and lift your head to look up. Then elevate your back and make it curved, tucking your head in. Repeat this simple, yet effective exercise 3 or 4 times per day.
14 Prenatal Chiropractics
Chiropractics in general, and Webster's technique, in particular, helps properly align your body and adjust your pelvis and your spine. It reestablishes your normal physiological function, reduces stress, relaxes the ligaments that support your uterus, and makes you more balanced, thus helping your baby find the best possible position for birth.
"This method is about realigning the pelvis and optimizing space for fetal descent, but trust your instincts," says Ruth Comfort, a registered midwife at the South Community Birth Program. "Don't do anything you’re not comfortable with."
Besides, ensure that you visit a professional specialist who knows exactly what they're doing. It's very important for this technique.
13 Trying Alternative Medicine Techniques
If you're ready to try another alternative technique, think about moxibustion. It's a medicine technique from China and a form of acupuncture. But instead of needles, it uses moxa, a mugwort stick that looks a bit like a cigar. Its one end is lit and another one is applied to special points in your body. This method apparently increases the baby's activity level and encourages them to move.
The research was held in Europe proving that this method actually works, as per midwife Ruth Comfort. "There are some really good European studies proving efficacy of acupuncture on fetal position, as early as 32 weeks of gestation," she says. And, since moxibustion usually does no harm, you're free to try it.
12 Craniosacral Therapy
According to Wikipedia, craniosacral therapy is a "form of bodywork or alternative therapy using gentle touch to palpate" certain joints on the skull. Light touches can also be applied to the patient's spine and pelvic bones.
Spinning Babies says that this technique is able to help turn a breech baby because it returns the mother in a balanced state, where the baby feels more at ease, as well (remember that it's a proven fact that a baby feels their mom's emotions). Practitioners of the craniosacral therapy claim that in this balanced state, your baby will naturally move into a position that will be the most comfortable for birth.
11 Prenatal Massage
Probably, you've already tried a prenatal massage at least once and loved it. It's recommended to many pregnant women, both to those who have any issues and to those with healthy pregnancies. It helps with pretty much any problems you face, especially with different kinds of pain and stress.
But did you know that prenatal massage can also help to turn your baby into a correct birth position?
When you're expecting a child, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around your pelvis become stiff. Massage will help you relax them and it, in its turn, will help your little one to make their way to turn head down.
10 Use Sounds To Make Your Baby Turn
Did you know that in the third trimester, your baby begins responding to noises from the outside world? This is the reason why some people claim that playing music in a certain way will help turn your baby to the desired position.
How does it work? Just play some calming music in the headphones placed on the lower pelvic bone area. When the baby hears the music, they will naturally want to move down to where the sound is coming from.
You might wonder if this method actually works. But does it really matter? It's a proven fact that music is good for your baby's development anyway, so give it a try!
9 According To Some Specialists, Hypnosis Works, Too
However crazy it might sound, a licensed hypnotherapist can also help you turn your baby in the womb. This technique has actually worked in the past so it might work for you, too (or, at least, it'll help you relax, so it definitely won't hurt).
Usually, hypnotherapy is done in two stages. At first, the mother is hypnotized into a state of deep relaxation, which will help relax her pelvic muscles and expand her uterus, encouraging her fetus to move. Then the mother will be asked to use visualization techniques and imagine that her little one is turning in her womb and takes the vertex position.
Believe it or not, it can help, provided it's all done with a good hypnotherapist.
8 You Can Also Try Swimming
Getting in the pool is recommended to all pregnant women anyway because it helps de-stress and relax the aching joints. Apart from simple swimming (which is also beneficial, because it gets your baby moving), you might want to try to do certain exercises in the water. For example, crouch on the bottom of the pool in deep water. Then push off, reaching your hands up and breaking the water surface.
Another exercise you can try is doing front and back flips in the water. In case you don't have any balancing issues, it's also beneficial to do a headstand underwater and hold it for as long as you can comfortably hold your breath.
Of course, you should do these exercises only if you're a good swimmer.
7 Light Can Do Wonders
Just like the baby can respond to hot and cold temperatures, they will also react to darkness and light (they're capable of it starting from the end of the second trimester). So even as a simple method as putting a flashlight on your lower pelvis can help you turn your baby into the vertex position. Placing the light onto this area of your body might encourage your little one to follow it and move their head down, towards the cervix.
Although specialists can't confirm whether this simple technique works, you can still try it, because it won't do any harm to you or your little one.
6 Homeopathy Remedies Might Also Work
Another remedy you can try comes from homeopathy. It involves pulsatilla, a herb that, according to First Cry Parenting, "is derived from the windflower and is recommended for women by their physicians when they are pregnant with a breech baby." Ina May Gaskin, C.P.M., founder of The Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee, confirms on Parents that this remedy is safe and "sometimes works," because it stimulates the mother's uterus to settle her baby headfirst. To get the specific dosage and instructions on how to use the herb, visit a good naturopathic physician or a homeopath.
Keep in mind that you shouldn't try pulsatilla if the reason why your baby is breech is uterine aberration or position of the placenta.
5 Take A Proper Position For Sleeping
The way you sleep can greatly affect the position of your baby in the womb. The best advice here is to sleep on your side. According to Pregnant Mama Baby Life, "you should be sleeping on your left to keep baby off of the main ... vessel in your body." It'll benefit both of you and it's good for preventing the breech position, as well as for fixing it.
To keep your pelvis open, put a pillow under your knee and leg. Don't put your top leg directly onto your other leg but place it farther to make a downward tilt in your pelvis. It's also a good idea to turn to the other side and back once in a while to make your pelvis more flexible and give way for your baby to move.
4 Pay Attention To Your Posture
Not only the way you sleep but also your everyday posture can help you turn your breech baby into the vertex position. Among other benefits, a good posture helps provide the baby with the maximum amount of room available in the uterus, which encourages the fetus to move on their own.
So what's the perfect posture? Simply stand straight and let your shoulders drop naturally. Don't allow them to be thrown back. Avoid standing with your belly pouched out and pull it in. Pull your bottom in, too, and ensure that your hips are the gravity center of yours. Your feet should be placed shoulder-width apart and your weight needs to be spread evenly between them.
3 Drink Lots Of Fluids
Seriously, is there any life situation, where drinking a lot of water won't help? Seems like it helps with everything. No wonder that wise people say that water is life!
Yes, drinking as much water as you can is very beneficial for you and it might even help your breech baby turn into the desired position. Of course, it doesn't help with it directly. It will just keep your body healthy, which, in turn, will make your little one healthier and might make them "reconsider" their position in your belly.
So keep on carrying this water bottle with you wherever you go and drink from it whenever you want.
2 External Cephalic Version
If your baby is still breech and the labor day is approaching, there's one more method you can use. It's called ECV, which stands for the external cephalic version. It's an intervention performed at a hospital or birth center under ultrasound guidance. According to Today's Parent, it's done by a doctor, who will use their hands to carefully push on your belly and manipulate your baby's position.
Usually, it's best to perform ECV between 35th and 38th weeks, in case nothing else worked. The procedure is done in a short session. The woman can feel uncomfortable during it, but, according to Dr. Ellen Giesbrecht, "it's less painful than recovering from a C-section if the baby does not turn."
ECV has a 40 to 70% success rate, so it's worth trying if other methods failed.
1 Whatever You Decide To Do, Talk To Your Doctor First
Whatever method you choose to help your baby turn head down, it's very important that you talk to your ob/gyn first. Any method you read about on the internet or in books can have multiple positive reviews from the women who tried it, but it doesn't mean that it will certainly work for you. And it also doesn't mean that you can dive in and just try any technique right away.
Remember that at the moment you're responsible not only for your own health but also for the health of your baby. Any technique can have hidden risks associated with your specific condition, so discuss them first and try them only if your doctor approved them.
Sources: Today's Parent, Pregnant Mama Baby Life, WikiHow, Very Well Family, Spinning Babies, First Cry Parenting, Mama Natural, Wikipedia