5 tips for when your baby is breech

Don’t Panic.

Your baby may not stay in breech (head up) position. It is common that a baby will be breech between 27 weeks and 34 weeks of pregnancy. Most of those little nuggets will find their own way head down.

Some breech baby’s may need a little assist to find their way head down. Find out what techniques are safe, available, and supported in your community.

Often, you have many choices and opportunities to help your sweet baby find their way head down, and plenty of time to do it.

Don’t Panic.

  • You can do nothing. Many families choose to wait and see if baby turns back to head down on their own. It is okay take this route. However, if baby does not turn head down by 36 weeks your providers will propose an external cephalic version (ECV). This is a relatively safe procedure where an OB/GYN or Midwife will use their hands to try and turn baby head down. It can be very comfortable to down right painful. There is a 50% chance it will be successful. If you are working with a well experienced ECV doc the chance can increase up to 70%. So ask them, what is your success rate?
  • You may also choose to do nothing, and opt for a cesarean section. This is the most common choice of families who find out their baby
    is breech.

Let us talk about complimentary therapies that have been shown to be helpful in creating room in the body for baby to find their own way head down.

  • Acupuncture has a long history of assisting baby’s to find their best position. Several studies have shown that the combination of needling and moxabustion (the burning of mugwort herb) are effective methods of helping baby find their way into best position.
  • Hypnosis is another therapy many find helpful in encouraging baby to find their way head down. Studies show that this is particularly helpful right before attempting an ECV.
  • Hypnosis is another therapy many find helpful in encouraging baby to find their way head down. Studies show that this is particularly helpful right before attempting an ECV.
  • Soft tissue therapies can be helpful to reduce your stress and help your soft tissues (muscles, tendons,
    ligaments, fascia) become more responsive and functional. These therapies can include, but are not limited to, massage therapy, myofascial release, Rolfing, Feldenkrais, Traeger, and many more. These therapies can potentially create more space in your belly for baby to find their way head down.
  • Dynamic Body Balancing™ taught by Dr. Carol Phillips is another method of bodywork that has been quite successful in helping babies find their way head down. Carol has a listing of practitioners on her website.
  • Spinning Babies™ has a series of exercises that have been helpful for many families to help get their baby into best position. Starting these exercises early, and doing them often garners the best outcomes according to data collected by Spinning Babies™ practitioners. Here is a link to the Spinning Babies™ website.

Use Your Brainn

Whenever you are presented with a method of helping to turn your baby, run through the BRAINN acronym. It is a good method to be sure you are doing what is correct for you and your family. What does BRAINN mean?

  • B – benefit – What are the benefits?  Everyone is happy to give you lots of benefits.  This is an easy one. 
  • R – risk – What are the risks?  Do not let anyone tell you there are no risks.  There is always risk when you choose to do an intervention.  Some risks are minimal, and some are a bit scarier.
  • A – alternative – What is the alternative?  There is always an alternative if the risk outweighs the benefit for you
  • I – intuition – What does your intuition tell you?  Do what feels right
  • N – next – What happens next?  Typically with any intervention, there is a next step.  Sometimes it is homework, sometimes it is rest, sometimes it is medication.  Know what procedure is for the practitioners you are working with
  • N – nothing – What happens if we do nothing?  Often, you have this choice.

Only do as much as feels right

Your care providers will be full of advice and suggestions for you and your family. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Between going to work, going to appointments, caring for your family, and doing your breech homework, it may feel ridiculously exhausting. So, only do what feels like is working for you and your baby. You may try a therapy, and decide it isn’t right for you. That is totally okay. Everything is not for everyone. The appointments and homework need to fit into your lifestyle. This should not feel like a chore, but a choice.

  • Delegate. Reach out to your partner, your family, and your community to give you hand around the house.
  • Get someone to help schlep your kids to and from their places.
  • Allow a friend to come in and clean your house, do a load of laundry, fix a meal for you, or sit and have a cup of tea with you.
  • The more you can reduce your stress, the more likely it is that you can get the self care you want to help your baby find their best position.

Adrienne C. Caldwell is a bodyworker and educator. She specializes in helping create space in the human body for baby to find their best position for labor and birth.

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