Turn Breech: Optimal Fetal Positioning and 9 Great Strategies to Turn Breech Babies!

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It can be extremely frustrating to arrive at the last leg of your pregnancy and be told:

  1. That your baby’s in Breech Position
  2. If your baby doesn’t turn, you will be scheduled for a C-Section.

Oh no!

Let’s read on to find out what the strategies are to turn breech babies!

Optimal Fetal Positioning (OFP) rest on the belief that the position of the baby will determine how labor and delivery will unfold.

Which is the optimal position?

is when the back of the babies head (the occiput) is positioned somewhere between the left hip and the belly button. This is also called the LOA position or Left of Anterior.

The Spinning Babies movement, which was founded by midwife Gail Tully, is all about how to keep your baby in the optimal position for birth.

Which position is not so optimal?

When the baby’s occiput is positioned between the right hip and the belly button, it is called ROA or Right of Anterior. This position is not so optimal as it MAY result in the baby turning posterior (which means the occiput is now facing posteriorly or backwards).

That said, many babies positioned ROA do fine in labor.

Which position is least optimal?

The breech position is the least optimal of all fetal positions.

Strategy 1: Lean Forward, Don’t Recline!

When you lean forward, you are creating space for your baby

Sit like your mum said you shouldn’t sit.

When you lean back or recline, your baby’s face is pushed into your spine

Yes.

No slouching.

No posterior tils.

Which position is least optimal?

The breech position is the least optimal of all fetal positions.

Try not to sit with your knees above your hips.

Once your knees higher than your pelvis, you inevitably transform into a posterior tilt, which lessens the space available for your baby head to comfortably rest in your pelvis.. Better not to sit on the floor, on beanbags or on low chairs!

Strategy 2: Drink loads of water!

Your baby is floating around in the amniotic sac and you want to allow the baby space to move around! For this to happen, it is good to foster the habit from early in your pregnancy to always hydrate. More than 2 liters of water a day is a good goal to aim for!

Drinking water also helps when you have swelling in your calves, ankles or feet. It is counter-intuitive, but continuous hydration is always a good thing.

What is always regrettable is when you go for a scan and your amniotic levels are low. This is preventable just through regular and adequate hydration. Most importantly, it allows a baby when breech to turn around without too much difficulty!

Strategy 3: Inversion Strategies

Ironing Board Inversions

The ironing board technique, also known as the “inversion” or “forward-leaning inversion,” is an alternative method used to encourage a breech baby to turn head-down in the womb.

During this exercise, a pregnant individual positions themselves on an inclined ironing board with their upper body elevated and their hips higher than their head.

This inversion is believed to utilize gravity to create more space in the pelvic area, allowing the baby to move and potentially facilitating the repositioning from a breech to a head-down presentation.

Proponents of the ironing board technique suggest that the change in orientation can influence the buoyancy of the baby within the amniotic fluid, encouraging them to rotate. It is thought that the forward-leaning position may help the baby’s head to settle into the pelvis, promoting optimal fetal positioning for birth.

Breech Tilt with Yoga Ball

We have heard great reviews on this technique from our patients.

The breech tilt with a yoga ball is a technique used to encourage the baby to turn from a breech position (head-up) to a head-down position in the womb, which is the optimal position for childbirth.

This exercise involves a pregnant woman kneeling on the floor with her upper body resting on a yoga ball and her hips elevated. The gentle rocking and swaying motion created by the ball encourage the baby to shift within the amniotic fluid, potentially aiding in the repositioning process.

The theory behind this approach is that the movement and positioning create more space in the pelvic region, allowing the baby to move freely and respond to gravity. Additionally, the breech tilt with a yoga ball may help relax the pelvic floor muscles and encourage the baby’s head to move downward.

Strategy 4: Moving in Different Positions

This would include:

  • Pelvic Rocking: This would be the Cat-Cow exercise that is done in prenatal yoga. It is to create opening in your hips.
  • Belly Dancing: The idea here is hip and pelvis movement that may help to dislodge your baby from a breech position.
  • Swimming: This does not just mean horizontal swimming. In the pool, you will be able to easily turn upside-down. If you are able to, you may want to try underwater handstands or underwater somersaults. The idea is to give space for the baby to dislodge and to get out of a breech position.
  • Walking: Long walks always promote circulation and movement in the abdomen and pelvis. It is good not just for breech but in general.

Strategy 5: Aversion Strategies

The idea of Aversion Strategies is to make your baby move away from something he or she is averse to. This would include cold, stimulating substances, or even a light source. The hope is that the baby will turn AWAY FROM whatever you are placing near the head.
It could be:

  • Ice pack: The assumption is that the baby does not like the cold ice pack. It could be any thing else from your freezer e.g. a pack of peas, frozen blueberries, or just a cold drink!
  • Spicy peppermint essential oil: Peppermint is mentioned here, but you can certainly try other stimulating essential oils.
  • Shining a light: This assumes the baby doesn’t like the light. So shining a flashlight at the top of your belly (or wherever you think the baby’s head is) may cause the baby to change position.

Strategy 6: Webster Technique

Chiropractors can be very helpful if you want to turn breech babies.

The Webster Technique is a common intervention. You just need to find reputable Chiropractic Center that knows about pregnancy and breech. They would likely be trained in the Webster Technique for Turning Breech Babies.

Strategy 7: Homeopathic Remedy

Pulsatilla is the homeopathic remedy of choice for turning breeches.

Strategy 8: External Cephalic Version (ECV)

This is a little more intense, but there are good practitioners who will be able to perform this maneuver confidently.

Because this is not so comfortable, it is important that you trust the Obstetrician who is performing this maneuver. Additionally, it will be more effective the more relaxed you are when the ECV is being performed on you. You may employ natural ways to feel relaxed, e.g. lavender essential oil or your obstetrician may prescribe medications that help to relax your womb.

The Obstetrician may not want to proceed with ECV too far past the 37th week because of the increasing size of the baby and the decreasing levels of amniotic fluid. Therefore, it is important to know about this option and to explore this option even while you are trying other less intrusive alternatives.

Strategy 9: Moxa and Acupuncture

Moxa and Acupuncture are usually done together during treatment.

This is a well-known TCM Pregnancy Treatment for turning breech, and is often recommended by midwives and doulas.

In 1998, Cardini and Weixin carried out a randomized controlled trial in Italy involving 260 first-time mums in the 33rd week of pregnancy. These women all had normal pregnancies and were diagnosed as breech via ultrasound.

Half of these women were randomized to the intervention group and received acupuncture and moxa stimulation for 7 days. They were given treatment for a further 7 days if the fetus remain in the breech position. The other 130 were randomized to the control group and received routine care but no moxibustion. In a 1-hour observation period over 7 days during the 35th week of gestation, the intervention group experienced a mean of 48.5 fetal movements compared with 35.5 in the control group.

According to the researchers, the heat encourages the release of two pregnancy hormones—placental estrogen and prostaglandins—which can lead to uterine contractions. These contractions can then stimulate the baby to move – this is the way we use acupuncture and moxa to turn breech baby!

The stimulation of acupuncture point BL67 with both acupuncture and moxibustion is a safe and effective treatment in revolving the fetus in a breech presentation, according to Kanakura et al in 2001.

Neri et al (2004) studied a total of 240 pregnant women in their mid-30s who were carrying a breech baby. There was a significantly higher cephalic presentation in the acupuncture with 53.6% versus 36.7% who didn’t not receive moxa or electric acupuncture treatment to turn breech baby around.

If you want your breech baby to turn around, Acupuncture plus moxibustion seem to be more effective than not doing anything. Yes, you may still be doing postural exercises, but to turn breech baby, the combination of acupuncture and moxibustion seem to be an option that is both valid and effective.

When is the best time to begin treatment?

If you know you have a breech or posterior, it is best to start treatment early around week 33-34, and not to wait till past week 36. It is best if treatment is sustained for one full course of 10 days

You should received treatment while concurrently complementing with postural change exercises and other natural interventions.

I am at 36 weeks and don’t want to be induced.

Not to worry, this type of treatment will not trigger an induction. If anything, you may not even feel contraction or cramps. Most likely, you will feel your baby moving more than usual while the treatment is ongoing. The acupuncture points used to turn a breech baby are meant to ‘nudge’ the baby into a head-down position. This is slightly different than acupuncture points used to bring on labor when you are post-dates or past your EDD. Those acupuncture points help to stimulate uterine contraction and start the physiological processes that then lead to the first phase of labor!

I am already at 38 weeks. Is it too late?

It is never too late, although it usually is better if you had come in a few weeks earlier.

It is still worth trying as some breeches have turned as late as 38 weeks.

In terms of treatment, we definitely start employing treatments that include certain acupuncture points used from week 38 onward to prepare for birth.

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