My baby is breech
Breech describes a baby who is lying bottom first, or feet first in the uterus. It’s really common for babies to be lying in all sorts of positions before 36 weeks of pregnancy and just like us, they will wriggle about to find a comfy spot.
As you reach full-term most babies will move in to a head down position, ready for birth . Head down is the most usual position for babies to present themselves in. But, it’s not the only one and although breech is unusual, it is, as Mary Cronk explains ‘normal.’
When talking about breech babies, a good starting point is to note that only 3-4% of babies will be breech towards the end of pregnancy. So firstly, if you are reading this at 32 weeks, 35 weeks, or even at 37 weeks and later - there is a very good chance baby just hasn’t moved yet. Remember, pregnancy varies in duration so labelling a baby breech at 36 weeks could be up to 6 weeks before they make their arrival. There is plenty of time.
How can I help my baby in to a head down position during pregnancy?
Your position can be a really important factor in where baby chooses to get comfortable. Think of it this way, if your pelvis is tilted backwards (you’re laying back on the sofa, for example!) and your legs are crossed. What you’re doing is greatly reducing the space for baby at the bottom of the uterus and instead creating a wider space lengthways, across the uterus. Now, would you push yourself in to a space if there was no room, or would you choose a comfier alternative?!
As you approach 30 weeks it’s really good to start being aware of your posture and positioning. U.F.O - Upright, forward, open. This creates the best space for baby to get in to a good head down position. This is a particularly good position to find on a yoga ball. When using your ball (or sitting in general) try to make sure that your pelvis stays in a neutral position. To check this ask your partner to make sure that when you are sat on the ball your hips are higher up than your knees (knees lower) If your knees are higher, it will encourage your hips to sink and your pelvis will begin to tilt backwards. We don’t want that - so get your partner to check your position regularly and top the ball up with air as often as needed!
Be mindful of your posture and position.
My baby is currently breech.
Remember, breech is a variation of normal and often, breech birth can still mean a vaginal birth. Watch some breech birth videos, they are amazing! There does not need to be an assumption that you always have to have a c-section if your baby is breech. However, In some cases baby is lying breech for a reason, a low lying placenta, the amount of fluid around baby, or if you are having twins. The best place to start is by discussing your options with your consultant or midwife and finding out more about your circumstances.
Remember, you have choices and it’s good to get all of the information, then sit down and use B.R.A.I.N to make the best decision for you and your baby.
There are a number of things you can try to turn baby.
Your midwife may suggest trying to turn baby by External Cephalic Version (ECV). An ECV is where gentle but firm pressure is applied to your abdomen to help turn your baby to lie head-first. It is usually performed after 36 or 37 weeks. It is successful in about 50% of cases and in 5% of successful cases baby will turn back to another position. For more information on the procedure click on the RCOG link below.
There is some evidence that the use of moxibustion (burning a Chinese herb called mugwort) at 33–35 weeks of pregnancy may help your baby to turn into the head-first position, possibly by encouraging your baby’s movements. This should be performed under the direction of a registered healthcare practitioner.
You may have heard of Spinning Babies. This resource is full of useful and safe videos for helping your baby to turn with positioning, movement and the use of Rebozo. The Spinning Babies site also has lots of useful position and movement suggestions for pregnancy too - so it’s on my go to list for all mums!
You can also access guided meditation and relaxation downloads for breech babies on The Mama’s Hub. You can use these as you would your usual relaxations, or when practicing some of the positioning. For my mums personally, I have seen a higher success rate of turning babies when using relaxation audio and positioning. But that’s not trial based, that’s my observation!
Guided Meditation download (Non clients, message me to download)
If your baby remains breech towards the end of pregnancy you should be offered a c-section, however it is still your choice whether you want to do this, or not. You can still birth your baby vaginally, so set abut finding the right care provider who can support this. Again, use B.R.A.I.N to way up your options and make a decision that is right for you. If you decide to have a c-section, remember, this is still your birth experience and it should still be a calm, comfortable and happy experience. A belly birth is still a birth, so think about what you would like the environment to be like, the first moments with baby, the golden hour. There are lots of options for planning a gentle c-section here.
A really useful article for breech birth can be found here from the RCOG
If you would like to learn more about positioning for pregnancy and birth then we cover this on our hypnobirth course. We also look at Rebozo and massage as comfort measures for pregnancy and labour. To find out what classes we have available click here.
Or to view our full hypnobirth course outline - click here.