Many pregnant moms are in distress when they find out their baby is transverse or breech – often just weeks before their estimated due date (EDD). This puts a spin on things because if the baby doesn’t turn “in time” many care providers recommend a cesarean birth.
When I was 9 I saw my baby brother be born. He was breech and my mom was 38 yrs. old and 3 weeks overdue. She had a vaginal home-birth after a long labor with some tearing. I can still hear the sounds she made. She worked so hard and did it and the midwives were fairly relaxed if I recall correctly. There were 3 of them – 1 was doing a puzzle with us kids in the living room, the other was reading a book on the couch, and the other was in with my mom as she labored. I don’t remember anyone being scared, just that it was going to be hard.
I know times have changed and bad things happen – and could have happened to my baby brother (who is now 34 yrs. old) but they didn’t and so I still have faith in the birthing process and in competent attendants, and in mom’s willing to give it a go.
I write this post because of all my feelings inside. At the very least I can give ideas for what has worked for other moms and what may or may not work for you. In my work as a Placenta Encapsulationist I see too many moms told that they must have a c-section because of baby’s pre-birth position and this makes me sad for I know how things like this can influence us as mother’s, women, and human beings. I also know that at the end of the day babies are born in a variety of ways and through it all mothers become mothers ?
I spoke with a variety of birth professionals and mom’s to compile the list below. All of whom have experienced breech/transverse babies. All of whom are proactive in helping mom’s have a vaginal birth. Here’s some of their tried – sometimes true – tricks to encourage baby to turn into a head-down position…
Tips & Tricks for Turning Baby
- Craniosacral work seems to be the #1 option to connect expectant moms to their body while addressing any mental/emotional aspects. If you live in Central VT or Upper Valley, NH check out Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy.
- Chiropractor work by a practitioner trained in Webster technique can be effective for fetal presentation concerns. Dr. Rice in Shelburne, VT practices Network Spinal Analysis. It’s best to be adjusted regularly to align pelvis, pelvic ligaments, and uterus.
- Wear a pregnancy belt to give slight pressure and relax the abdomen. This can help it to “slope” and supports the baby in dropping down into the pelvic brim. You can also wear a belt AFTER baby’s head down if your uterine ligaments are soft.
- WALK!! Every day at a brisk pace. This can lengthen your psoas muscles (pair of internal “wings” from spine to thigh) and support lower back strength. This moves your pelvis and helps put baby in a head-down position as well as to align your spine/pelvis.
- Consult a homeopathic practitioner, some recommend pulsatilla.
- Forward-leaning inversions: prop iron board on an incline against the couch. Lay on it with head towards floor and feet at top of board.
- Place a bag of frozen blueberries at the top of your belly. Place a heating pad at the bottom of your belly. Weird but works for some 🙂
- Do handstands in a swimming pool…swimming in general is good stuff.
- BRIDGE!! Lay on the couch or floor (place pillows under hips for support) in a bridge position. This can encourage baby to slide towards your diaphragm and flip.
- Acupuncture…babies tend to move a lot during a session and the practitioner may give you a moxa stick to use at home. Find an acupuncturist with a gift for this sort of thing…Kerry at Integrative Medicine in VT is great.
- Shine a flashlight between your legs while you’ve got music playing.
- SQUAT!! A trick a mom told me is to do 3 squats coming and 3 squats going each time you go from the living room to kitchen. If you’re new to squatting, use the wall to support your back and keep feet on floor. Go down as far as you can while still keeping heels down. Toes point forward, not out. Bowman is all about squatting. Just be careful and brace yourself so you don’t fall.
Some midwives, CNM’s, and OB’s will do external version (manually turning baby while monitoring with doppler/ultrasound). The risks associated with external version are premature labor and pain for mom/baby.
Request a vaginal birth
You might have the option to petition for a care provider that will allow you to attempt a vaginal birth. Especially if baby is in a breech position – this is because the umbilical cord has more space between baby’s legs and is less likely to become compressed during birth. You’ll also have more luck if you have a “proven pelvis” (medical term stating that you’ve delivered vaginally before).
Find a care provider trained in breech/transverse birth
Seek out a care provider that’s trained and versed in handling breech/transverse birth. Most aren’t. Yet, this isn’t always a good reason to have major abdominal surgery (cesarean).
Christyn King, owner of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy in VT helps moms do all they can to assist baby in having the space they need to get into a heads-down position. Sometimes though, no matter what you do your baby just won’t turn. For one reason or another.
Here’s what she told me “Turning babies can be frustrating, esp. if you try many things and nothing works. In this situation it’s good to think of baby having its own wisdom at work. This makes for an element of surrender. You’ve done all that you can. Let go. Let God.”
If you have any tips to add here, please comment below. That way we can all help one another.
Slideshow of a Breech Baby’s Vaginal Birth
Photo Credits: http://autismum.com/2012/08/19/guggie-and-her-gaggle/ and http://archive.tcoyf.com/forums
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May all bellies be happy!