If your baby is like most babies, by the time you’re in your third trimester they have probably flipped over into a vertex, or head-down position, locked and loaded for birth. Gravity and the growing weight of the baby’s head combine to help them drift down into the optimal position for delivery: head-first.
However, did you know that approximately 4% of babies remain in a breach, or head-up position? This isn’t usually a concern until after 32-34 weeks or so, as a baby can turn at any time, but after that point, you and your doctor or midwife may need to come up with a plan of action.
A breech baby can sometimes throw a wrench into your carefully laid birthing plans. You see, many obstetrical providers are no longer trained in overseeing vaginal deliveries of breech babies, so most breech babies in America are delivered by Cesarean section. Cesareans are a wonderful, life-saving tool, but if your baby is breech and you’re hoping to avoid surgery for your otherwise healthy baby, there just may be a few things that you can try to encourage flipping.
Here are five ways to encourage a breech baby to turn:
Practicing some inversion positions each day could help your breech baby turn. Some midwives and other practitioners recommend sitting on the couch and putting your forearms on the floor, dropping your head, followed by some time on a propped-up ironing board with your legs higher than your head. Sound crazy? You can watch this short video explaining inversion positions for breech babies.
You may not have heard of this one, but moxibustion has been performed by acupuncturists for thousands of years! If you have a breech baby, you can visit a licensed acupuncturist with experience in serving pregnant folks and ask about this technique. Your acupuncturist will insert tiny needles into special points on your toes (they aren’t painful) and burn mugwort near the needles. The warmth and smoke stimulate the pressure points which may cause increased activity in your uterus.
Stimulating your baby from outside
This one doesn’t necessarily have any science behind it, but a lot of parents swear by it. We know babies are capable of responding to stimuli outside the womb, so why not try to get them to move around? The idea is that your baby would move toward something they like, or away from something they don’t like. You can try things like shining a flashlight low on your belly, putting an ice pack on top of your belly, playing music and talking to your baby.
The Webster Technique
The Webster Technique is an adjustment that can be performed by a prenatal chiropractor. A chiropractor certified in this technique will place you on a drop-down table for a gentle adjustment to your pelvic area. The idea is that when your pelvis is adjusted, your baby has fewer restrictions from moving about freely and can more easily turn to the more natural head-down position. The Webster Technique has an 80% success rate in helping breech babies turn. Your birth or postpartum doula from Colorado Mountain Doulas can recommend you the best prenatal chiropractors in Denver, Colorado Springs, and other Colorado towns.
External Cephalic Version
You will need your OB-GYN for this one. In fact, depending on certain factors in your pregnancy and your doctor’s practice, they may even perform this technique in the hospital. They will perform an ultrasound and monitor the baby’s well-being, as they use their hands to physically manipulate your baby from the outside of your belly. If the at-home techniques do not work, consider talking to your doctor about the benefits and risks of trying an external cephalic version for your breech baby.
While all of these breech baby techniques have varying success rates, there’s rarely any harm in giving them a try – who knows, maybe one of these will work like magic for you and your baby!