How Can I Turn My Breech Baby?

At my pregnancy yoga classes, I commonly get asked – ‘How can I turn my breech baby?’ I was born breech in the 1970s when it was more common for breech births to occur vaginally so have always had a personal interest in this area.  Today birthing a baby breech is an option rarely given as obstetricians consider it too much of a risk for mother and baby and, as a result, many women are offered little choice but to have a caesarean section if carrying their baby breech at term.   Women determined to birth their breech babies vaginally often have to seek out health professionals experienced in breech delivery or hire an independent midwife. Sadly, the skills required to assist with the birth of a breech baby are becoming less available.

Often women don’t even realise they have an option to birth their breech baby vaginally. Check out this little film of a footling breech birth for some inspiration: The Footling Breech Home Birth of Nash from born photographer on Vimeo.

Women are usually offered an ECV (external cephalic version) to try and turn the baby in the last weeks of pregnancy but many women seek alternative methods. So what else can women try to turn their breech baby?

The Breech Tilt – in Pam England’s ‘ Birthing from Within’ she suggests women try the breech tilt technique.  She gives the following instructions:

‘Lie on the floor and use cushions to elevate your hips to about a 30 degree angle or lie on an ironing board propped up on the couch.  It seems that the inverted position helps the baby’s bottom fall away from the pelvic brim, so when you stand up the “floating” baby can turn – led by the heavy head sinking downward.  Tilt for 10-15 minutes, two to three times a day, until the baby flips”

Read more by visiting: Spinning Babies-Breech Tilt

Maternity Reflexology – in Denise Tiran’s ‘Reflexology in Pregnancy and Childbirth’ she suggests reflexology treatment can assist.  She states:

‘Refelexology may indirectly help to turn the breech cephalic, simply by relaxing the mother, aiding homeostasis, stimulating immunological functions and improving muscle tone in both the maternal uterus and the fetus.  Manipulation of reflex zones for the entire musculoskeletal system may assit in realigning any deviations which may be contributing to an altered angle of the pelvic brim, facilitating a change of presentation.’

She goes on to discuss the use of the acupressure point Bladder 67 on the little toe which is often stimulate by maternity reflexologists to turn a breech baby.  This is also the point used for the application of moxibustion.

Moxibustion – is the application of heat treatment to an acupressure point (Bladder 67) on the little toe.  The heat from burning the moxa sticks close to the point can stimulate the baby to move and thus encourage turning.  Acupuncturists who work with pregnant women often offer this treatment and show women how to continue the treatment programme at home.  The sticks contain tightly rolled dried leaves of the mugwort plant.

You can read more research about this technique here:Moxibustion for Breech Presentation

Homeopathy – Janet Balaskas in ‘Natural Pregnancy’ suggests ‘a single dose of Pulsatilla, in a high potency, may be effective but the dosage should be prescribed and the progressed monitored by a homeopath as a constitutional treatment may be needed as well’.

You can read more about using homeopathy for breech presentation here: Homeopathy and Breech

Chiropractic – The Webster Technique  is a chiropractic technique that balances the pelvis properly and reduces stress to the ligaments that support the uterus. For more information see: Webster Technique

Your Experience with a Breech Baby :

Was your baby breech?  Did you use any of the ‘alternative’ techniques mentioned in this blog?  I’d love to hear your experiences and success stories.

To find out more about your options for breech delivery see the following resource from AIMS  to help you make an informed choice: AIMS-Breech

Guest blog by Lindsay Gale: