Many pregnant moms become distressed when they find out baby is transverse or breech; often with just weeks left before their estimated due date (EDD). This puts a spin on things because if baby doesn’t turn ‘in time’ a care provider will often recommend that the woman have a cesarean birth.
When I was 9 years old I saw my brother born at home. He was breech. My mom was 38 years old and close to 3 weeks overdue. After a long labor, he was born vaginally and though my mom tore a bit she was fine. I can still hear the sounds she made during labor. The three midwives attending appeared to be relaxed … one was doing a puzzle with my brothers and sisters in the living room; one was reading on the couch; and one was with my mom. I don’t remember anyone being scared, just that a baby was being born and that was hard work.
I am older now and have had babies myself; both born vaginally. I know times have changed and many doctors (and midwives) are no longer trained to deliver a baby who is not in a ‘normal’ head-down position. I know bad things can happen. As a certified Placenta Encapsulationist, I hear lots of birth stories. I hear of many moms being told that they need a c-section because of baby’s position. This makes me sad for I know how words at such a vulnerable and emotionally heightened time can influence our strength and fortitude as women. I also know that at the end of the day, a baby can be born in a variety of ways and that a mother will become a mother. All said, I continue to have faith in the birthing process, in competent attendants, and in a women’s willingness to give vaginal birth a go.
I spoke with a variety of birth professionals and mothers to create the list below. All of whom experienced delivering a breech or a transverse baby; all of whom are proactive in women birthing vaginally. These tried and true ways are here 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 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 or peas 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 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). Photo of Breech Baby here (graphic)
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 are not, yet this is not 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 says “Turning babies can be frustrating, especially 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 to this list, please comment below!
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!