Because my last guy arrived so early, complications like feet first hadn’t even occurred to me until today.
While breech babies only make up for about 4% of all pregnancies today, 97% of them arrive by cesarean.
There are several different positions that are all considered to be breech:
- Frank breech – the baby’s bottom comes first, and his or her legs are flexed at the hip and extended at the knees (with feet near the ears). 65-70% of breech babies are in the frank breech position.
- Complete breech- the baby’s hips and knees are flexed so that the baby is sitting crosslegged, with feet beside the bottom. (buddah style)
- Footling breech or incomplete breech- one or both feet come first, with the bottom at a higher position. This is rare at term but relatively common with premature fetuses.
- Kneeling breech- the baby is in a kneeling position, with one or both legs extended at the hips and flexed at the knees. This is extremely rare.
Even though most doctors will say that the option for a breech baby is a cesarean. The truth is that there are several options for breech babies:
Suite101.com has a great articles on how to turn a breech baby. They offer 17 suggestions, here are my favorite 7 that you can do and 3 that need professional assistance:
- Swimming as often as possible. This keeps your body and pelvis loose and relaxed. Do in conjunction with headstand below if you have help.
- Headstand – with assistance and in a pool frequently as possible.
- Breech Tilt – begin at 32-35 weeks gestation. Do 3 times daily for 10-15 minutes each time, when you have an empty stomach, and the baby is active. Prop one end of an ironing board securely on a sofa or chair 12 to 18 inches high (or may use slant board). Lie down, bend knees but keep feet flat on board. Relax, breathe deeply, avoid tensing. May also use pillows on a flat surface to raise hips 12-18″ above shoulders. Gravity pushes the baby’s head into the fundus, tucks it, and baby can then do a somersault to a vertex position.
- Massage – start with your left hand at the bottom of the abdomen and your right hand just above it. Move move your hands clockwise around the right side of your tummy. As your right hand reaches the top of your abdomen, slide the left one over your right and move it down the left side of your tummy. Your left hand leads as you you come full circle, continuing clockwise. Massage gently as you would to apply lotion. Massage for ten minutes or more up to several times each day.
- Pelvic Tilt- with an ice pack on the top of your tummy on an empty stomach, 10 minutes twice a day. Do this while lying on your back on the floor with knees flexed and feet on the floor with three large pillows placed under your buttocks. Try this in conjunction with headphones and visualization.
- Knee-chest position – by kneeling with hips flexed slightly more than 90 degree, but with thighs not pressing against your tummy and your head, shoulders and upper chest are flat on a mattress for 15 minutes every two waking hours for five days.
- Belly Relaxing followed by Inversion – Partner places a shawl, sheet, towel or rebozo under mom’s hips as she lays on the floor. Lift up on the corners of the cloth and shimmy her from side to side moving your hands up and down to wiggle her belly from side to side. These should be very small movements which mom should find very relaxing. Do this for about 5 minutes. Then mother kneels on the stairway landing. Walk your hands down 2 or 3 stairs into an all fours position; have your partner support your shoulders to balance you. Remain in this position for about 5-10 minutes or as long as comfortable. Also do this on an empty stomach.
The following techniques to turn breech babies require the assistance of a specialist or medical professional:
- Acupuncture – find a acupuncturist who is familiar with pregnancy and knows the points to stimulate for turning a breech baby.
- Webster’s Breech Technique – see a Chiropractor who is experienced in this technique.
- External Version – this can be done in the hospital at about 37 weeks; see an Ob-Gyn for assistance and more information.