Turning A Breech Baby


Here are 17 Ways to turn a breech baby!

While the common practice for many years was to delivery breech babies vaginally and obstetricians in the 1960’s and 1970’s were trained with the appropriate skills for this more complicated delivery, delivering breech babies vaginally is becoming more and more of a lost skill as obstetricians are focusing more on surgery and performing cesareans instead. And few women are given strategies to turn their breech babies to vertex (head down.)

My mother’s fifth and last child was born in 1970 vaginally in a frank breech position without complications. My mother would have a 97% chance of having a cesarean if my youngest sister would have been born today.

Breech babies make up for about 4% of all pregnancies today. There are several different positions that are all considered to be breech:

Footling breech – feet first

Complete breech – baby sitting on heels (Buddha style)

Frank breech – bottom first, with feet up by head

It is common for mothers with breech babies to hear that the “only” thing they can do is to have a cesarean. 

The truth is that there are several options for breech babies:

1. Turn the baby to head down/vertex and proceed with a vaginal birth. (see below)

2. Cesarean birth

3. Vaginal Breech birth (see the article on vaginal breech)

Are there effective ways that You can turn your breech baby to a vertex position? Some say “no” that nothing works to turn a breech baby. Yet there are several methods that women and birth professionals can work together to turn breech babies to a vertex position.

Here are 17 Ways to Turn Your Breech Baby!

Be sure to check with your provider before trying the positions for turning a breech baby to see if there is any reason why you should not use them.

1. Visualizing the baby moving down with the head very deep in your pelvis, several times a day; especially in conjunction with positions and exercises below.

2. Swimming as often as possible. This keeps your body and pelvis loose and relaxed. Do in conjunction with headstand below if you have help.

3. Headstand – with assistance and in a pool frequently as possible.

4. Breech Tilt – begin at 32-35 weeks gestation. Do 3 times daily for 10-15 minutes each time, when you have an empty stomach, and the baby is active. Prop one end of an ironing board securely on a sofa or chair 12 to 18 inches high (or may use slant board). Lie down, bend knees but keep feet flat on board. Relax, breathe deeply, avoid tensing. May also use pillows on a flat surface to raise hips 12-18″ above shoulders. Gravity pushes the baby’s head into the fundus, tucks it, and baby can then do a somersault to a vertex position.

5. CD/iPod headphones – place them inside mom’s pants toward her pubic bone and play classical music for 10 minutes 6-8 times a day.

6. Flashlight – try moving slowly down from the top of the uterus toward your pubic bone while you are in a breech tilt position.

7. Massage – start with your left hand at the bottom of the abdomen and your right hand just above it. Move move your hands clockwise around the right side of your tummy. As your right hand reaches the top of your abdomen, slide the left one over your right and move it down the left side of your tummy. Your left hand leads as you you come full circle, continuing clockwise. Massage gently as you would to apply lotion. Massage for ten minutes or more up to several times each day.

8. Clothespin – place on the small toe of each foot at the outside corner of the toenail; sideways so that the toenail and toepad are stimulated for 30 minutes per day, this is an acupressure point that is a “moving down” point. You can also do this with just finger pressure as you remember to do it.

9. Motion Sickness band – place with the bead four finger-widths above the inner ankle bone – another acupressure point that is used for stimulation of the uterus. Do not use this point if you are experiencing any pre-term labor.

10. Glass of orange or other juice – follow this with a side-lying position with your hips positioned higher than your feet. Babies move more after a sugar high!

11. Pelvic Tilt– with an ice pack on the top of your tummy on an empty stomach, 10 minutes twice a day. Do this while lying on your back on the floor with knees flexed and feet on the floor with three large pillows placed under your buttocks. Try this in conjunction with headphones and visualization.

12. Cat stretch – start with all fours, then lay your head and chest flat on the floor with your buttocks in the air, as you round your back and return to all fours.

13. Knee-chest position – by kneeling with hips flexed slightly more than 90 degree, but with thighs not pressing against your tummy and your head, shoulders and upper chest are flat on a mattress for 15 minutes every two waking hours for five days.

14. Belly Relaxing followed by Inversion – Partner places a shawl, sheet, towel or rebozo under mom’s hips as she lays on the floor. Lift up on the corners of the cloth and shimmy her from side to side moving your hands up and down to wiggle her belly from side to side. These should be very small movements which mom should find very relaxing. Do this for about 5 minutes. Then mother kneels on the stairway landing. Walk your hands down 2 or 3 stairs into an all fours position; have your partner support your shoulders to balance you. Remain in this position for about 5-10 minutes or as long as comfortable. Also do this on an empty stomach.

The following techniques to turn breech babies to vertex involve the assistance of a specialist or medical professional:

15. Acupuncture – find a acupuncturist who is familiar with pregnancy and knows the points to stimulate for turning a breech baby.

16. Webster’s Breech Technique – see a Chiropractor who is experienced in this technique.

17. External Version – this can be done in the hospital at about 37 weeks; see an Ob-Gyn for assistance and more information.

For more information about how to reduce your chances of having a cesarean, click here.

Did you have a breech baby? What was your experience like? Or do you currently have a breech baby? What methods have you tried? Share your story!