During pregnancy, mom hopes for a smooth delivery, and she looks for signs during check ups and ultrasounds that give her hope for this. One of the signs she looks for is a baby who is in a good position so he or she will be ready when labor starts.
Though babies can flip around and change positions throughout the pregnancy and sometimes even during labor, most women and doctors hope to see the baby in a head down position during the middle of the third trimester.
Unfortunately, this doesn't always occur. Babies can stay in undesirable positions right up until labor, and this can make it complicated for moms who hope to avoid a C-section. While some doctors will deliver a baby who is breech, meaning the feet or bottom is where the head should be, it's not possible to deliver a baby who is transverse.
A baby who is transverse is in a side lying position, and there is no way the child can be delivered regularly. Plus, women whose babies are in a transverse position are more likely to deal with a prolapsed cord, a condition where the umbilical cord makes it out before the baby. This can be fatal for the child and can happen when mom's water breaks.
However, there are ways to turn transverse babies. It doesn't always work, but if mom wants to avoid a C-section or the possibility of being placed in the hospital at 37 weeks so doctors can keep a watch out for a prolapse cord situation, then it is worth trying to turn the baby before labor starts.
14 Left Shoulder Presentation
Babies whose left shoulder is presenting towards the birth canal first face the same risk as babies whose right shoulders present. As in a right shoulder presentation, the baby's head and spine will be positioned based on how the baby is lying. Mom should be able to feel around her stomach and locate her child's head, especially later in pregnancy.
Finding the head will be essential for mom to use heat, cold, or light to try to move her baby.
When either shoulder is presenting first, the chance for a prolapsed cord is majorly increased. There is too much room where the baby's head should be, so the cord can slip down and exit mom's body before baby. That's one of the major reasons this position is not safe to deliver in.
13 Back Down Position
If the baby is lying on his or her back and neither shoulder is leading towards the birth canal, they are still side lying transverse. Obviously, even if labor were to start with a child in this position, it would be impossible for it to move forward. In a back down position, the baby cannot fully move into the birth canal, and babies can't fold themselves in half and make an exit.
All of these transverse positions can spell trouble for a mom who wants to delivery naturaly, but transverse babies can be encouraged to move into a head down position. Not every baby will, and just like moms who deal with babies who are breech, a C-section is sometimes the only option. However, there are natural and medical options to give the baby a push into the right position.
12 Right Shoulder Presentation
If a child is in a right shoulder transverse position, the right shoulder is pointing down towards the bottom of the uterus, though the spine can be facing either mom's front or back. As is true with every transverse position, the baby is in a horizontal position, not a vertical one, which is exactly the problem.
In the right should down position, baby's head can be on either side. That's because if baby's spine is facing mom's spine, the head will be on the right, but if baby's spine is against mom's front, the head will be on the left.
There is no way mom can push the right shoulder out of the birth canal first, so the baby will either need to move or mom will require a C-section.
11 Using Acupuncture
Acupuncture, like chiropractics, can give mom tons of physical relief no matter what position her baby is in. Acupuncturists know what areas to focus on if mom is trying to turn her baby, and they may also recommend she try moxibustion.
Moxibustion is a Chinese herb, and an acupuncturist will use a stick of it and press it against the outer area of mom's little toes. The catch? It's hot. The moxibustion is burning when placed on mom, and though it's not hot enough to do damage, it might be mildly uncomfortable at first.
Mom needs a trained acupuncturist to do this, and many report seeing positive effects when it comes to moving babies. Moxibustion therapy will likely need to take place several times, so mom doesn't want to procrastinate in getting started.
10 External Cephalic Version
The medical option is an external cephalic version(ECV), a procedure where a baby is manually turned by an OB or midwife. The doctor or midwife places their hands on mom's belly and attempts to manipulate the baby into a head down position.
This procedure can be painful, and it's most likely to be successful if mom is relaxed, which isn't easy if she's in pain. An epidural may be offered so mom won't feel the pain and can relax throughout the procedure.
There are risks with ECVs., for starters, doctors and midwives will not even attempt this procedure if there are issues with the amniotic fluid or if the umbilical cord is in a bad position. Even if the procedure gets the green light, problems can occur, such as a drop in the baby's heart rate or a placenta that detaches. These situations will require an immediate C-section.
Another issue is that even if the ECV is successful, a baby can always flip back into a transverse position. Mom needs to make sure she is comfortable with all of these possibilities before she receives an ECV.
9 Chiropractic Care
There are many reasons to seek chiropractic treatment when pregnant, and one of them is to keep the pelvis aligned properly. With all of the pressure and changes in our bodies, it's common for things to come out of alignment, and this may keep the baby from turning into a head down position.
Chiropractors familiar with the Webster Technique can work to adjust mom in a way that will open up space and work on alignment. Plus, chiropractic care often eases back pain and makes pregnancy more comfortable. That's a good thing whether the baby turns or not!
Mom needs to let her doctor know before receiving chiropractic care, but most women have nothing wrong that prohibits them from starting it. In fact, many doctors will recommend chiropractic care when it is obvious the baby isn't turn on his own. It's another way for mom to have a chance at a vaginal delivery.
8 Get Out And Exercise
It's true that pregnant women have some limits when it comes to vigorous exercise, but they can still keep moving, and it's recommended that most pregnant women do so. Walking is an excellent activity for pregnant women since it helps strengthen the lower back. The motion of walking also keeps the pelvis moving, and this can help the baby take a dive to the head down position.
Mom needs to be careful, though, not to overexercise or cause further tension or tightness in the ligaments around the hips. This can make things too tight and keep the baby in a less than ideal position.
Seeing a chiropractor to make sure the pelvis stays aligned will help moms who exercise. It ensures that the tension mom builds in her muscles can be loosened, though most reasonable and moderate exercise shouldn't cause an issue.
7 Bright Light Trick
Once mom has made room for the baby through chiropractics or exercise, she may still want to try enticing him to move down. Though most babies assume the head down position by late in the third trimester, a few won't. Sometimes this is because of abnormalities with mom's uterus or with the baby, but some kids just need that extra push.
Using a flashlight, mom can place the bright end towards the bottom of her uterus. Babies can make out light in the womb, so if this bright light sparks the baby's interest, he may move down there to check it out. At that point, mom needs to cross her fingers and hope he stays down.
Some women have their partner hold the flashlight and ask them to speak to the baby while sitting at the bottom of the uterus. This gives the baby light and sound to move towards, and that is a pretty enticing offer for a curious child.
6 Inversion Style Of Yoga Pose
A forward-leaning inversion looks kind of like child's pose from yoga, except with mom's bottom in the air. Mom can do inversions on the floor or using her couch or bed as a prop. Some women even use stairs.
Propping her knees apart, mom will then lean forward and put her elbows to the floor. She will place her head low to the ground, and she will basically look like she is diving in a pool except her legs stay on the ground.
This move opens up the womb, and that is important for a baby in the wrong position. Sometimes babies stay in the wrong position because they can't get into another one due to lack of space, and daily inversions can loosen up uterine ligaments, creating more space for a baby to roam and settle correctly.
5 Go For A Swim
Swimming is great for the body anytime, and it is the physical activity that can be a pregnant woman's best friend. Being in the water allows mom to feel weightless and free, and swimming, like walking, can help keep mom's pelvis open so the baby has a better chance of going head down.
While mom is in the pool, if she's feeling brave she can try some flips or handstands. That's right, doing a hand stand in a pool can help a transverse baby make the flip to a head down position. It's not an easy task, especially if mom is pretty far along, but with help she should be able to do a couple of handstands and front flips.
A mom who is on bed rest or has other issues with her pregnancy obviously does not need to try this, but for other moms whose babies won't budge, swimming is a safe, healthy option that is natural.
4 Bridge Position
The goal of the bridge position is to let the baby move towards mom's diaphragm. I know, it seems like the wrong direction, but once he is there, the hope is that he will flip. For a baby who is transverse, this will mean turning and heading up before flipping to move down, but it's possible.
The bridge position can be performed many ways, and many moms use the couch. By propping their legs up on the arm of the couch and laying their body down on the couch, they will be at an angle that has their head lower than their feet, or close to it.
Mom can also use an ironing board for this. She will prop an ironing board against the couch at a tilted angle. She will then lay on it with her head pointing down and wait. She needs to do this several times a day, and she will probably want assistance.
3 Pregnancy Belt
There are pregnancy belts on the market that are supposed to help mom as she carries the extra weight associated with growing a child. They are sometimes also used to try to get a baby to turn.
By simply wearing the belt, some people feel like the abdomen will relax and this will allow a better environment for the baby to turn. The belt puts the right kind of pressure on the abdomen, and this may allow the little one to fall into the right position. Once the baby is head down, mom will need to ask her doctor if she should continue wearing the belt or discontinue use.
Many women wear them for comfort anyway, and thought it's good to let the midwife or OB know before wearing one for the majority of the time, it can help mom with discomfort. If it happens to encourage the baby to flip, added bonus!
2 Hot And Cold
The goal in using temperature to move a baby out of the transverse position is to create an environment that is obviously more comfortable on one end than the other.
Using an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas, mom will place the cold on the baby's head. She will then put something moderately warm, like sheets just out of the dryer or a heating pad on a low setting, where she wants the baby's head to be, at the bottom of her uterus. The hope is that as the baby tries to move away from the cold, he will find the warm area and decide to seek comfort down there.
This usually has to be tried several times to work, and mom should keep it up daily if her doctor approves. Yes, it's mildly mean to play freeze out with a baby, but the goal is for them to be in a better birthing position, so it's all for a good cause.
1 Some Women Crawl
That's right, if all else fails, mom should get on her hands and knees and crawl. That, or she can perform the yoga move cat/cow. Whatever her preference, getting low to the ground may help her little one turn.
To perform cat/cow, mom will get on all fours. She will raise her spine up, like a cat, and then release her stomach low, causing her spine to dip, which is cow. She can do this multiple times to open up space in her uterus and encourage her baby to move.
Crawling on hands and knees to scrub a floor can have the same effect since we use the same motions. If mom is nesting, crawling might be an option, but if not, yoga moves are just as easy. Cat/cow can also help mom with pregnancy-related back pain.
Mom needs to try this multiple times a day or until she sees positive results.
Sources: AmericanPregnancy, Babycentre, TheHealthsite, Mayoclinic.