It’s really important that you’re in communication with your caregiver about the position of your baby throughout pregnancy. This often means checking with your obstetrician or midwife at a visit, asking directly about the position and checking what is written on your antenatal card.
Knowing that your baby is breech before birth can help you to turn them into an anterior, more optimal position now and make things a whole lot easier and simpler for you both.
Breech is a variation of normal however your baby is also defying gravity because a head is the heaviest part of the body and wants to move downwards for birth, pulled naturally by gravity. Sometimes different pelvic shapes and placental positions give rise to breech.
If you try everything below and they still do not change positions then you can prepare yourself for a natural breech birth or a scheduled c-section depending upon your provider and the specifics of the baby’s condition.
A natural breech birth requires unique obstetric skills so you may like to watch the film, A Breech in the System by Karin Ecker to build your confidence. Once your baby moves around there could be mild surges and once they are in an optimal position it is best to help them stay there with supported squats for a week or two. Please check with your caregiver before trying any of the following techniques.
1. Forward leaning inversions
Forward leaning inversion as per Spinning Babies (ADD LINK) is a fantastic way to give our babies room to spin around. The movement takes our body and baby into a similar position like a downward dog but with all muscles completely relaxed. In a hanging traction we allow our baby to turn more easily via a somersault.
Similarly handstands in a pool or a regular yoga practice that inverts the body through a dog, bridge pose or polar bear will also be helpful combined with wide deep belly breathing to relax belly muscles. In a bridge pose it can be helpful to play music to your baby’s head and then draw the sound down to the pelvis as an incentive. Similarly some people use frozen peas where the baby’s head is to encourage them to move down into the warmth.
2. Chiropractic and muscular release
Webster technique is an adjustment of the lower back that is often highly successful if done by someone experienced. Twists in the pelvis, fascial adhesions in the lower back or belly plus very tight lower abdominal muscles amongst dancers, runners and yogis can sometimes lead to breech.
It is important for the stronger and tighter women to relax their belly during pregnancy so the baby has enough room to lower their head into the pelvis. Many rural Aboriginal women continually massage their bellies, stroke their bubs downwards to help with presentation and continually talk to their baby to stay head down to avoid breech.
3. External Cephalic Version (ECV)
ECV is where a midwife or doctor turns the baby by manipulating them through the mother’s abdomen. ECV has a success rate between 40 – 70 percent, depending on the practitioner and baby and the feeling of it is described very differently by women. The foetal heart is monitored during the turn attempt, usually in the context of an institutional protocol.
Doing the first practices will help your baby and belly be ready for a more successful ECV. Breech presentations are becoming more common it seems as we become more sedentary. I’ve also known mums who have become very stressed towards the end of their pregnancy, with moving to a new house or their partner being overseas, and their baby, who had been lying anterior the whole time, suddenly flipped to breech.
Some people say that breech babies are trying to console their mums and also themselves by being closer to the heartbeat. It always helps to take a broad perspective on pregnancy issues and implement a complex approach when solving problems. Good luck turning your baby and remember to let your little one know that you are ready to give birth.
Always talk to your baby and ask them to move around so that you can birth together more easily. Remember this is teamwork and your baby is hearing and feeling your words. And if they still want to arrive bottom first we have a saying at She Births® that all breech babies land on their feet…which is not a bad way to go through life.