Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Breech babies

Posted on: January 21, 2010

In recent years most breech babies have been born by caesarean section in the UK.  Doctors usually suggest that a caesarean is the preferred option, however some midwives and doctors do not necessarily agree and certainly some mothers prefer to attempt a vaginal birth.

There is an excellent resource written by Jane Evans called “Breech Birth – What are my options?” available from www.aims.org.uk which talks about all the options.

If you should find your baby in the breech position there are several things you can try in an attempt to turn the baby cephalic (or head down).

First of all you could ask your doctor about External Cephalic Version (ECV) when a doctor attempts to manually turn the baby (from the outside).  This is done under very carefully controlled conditions; usually on labour ward just in case the baby becomes distressed and a caesarean is needed.  ECV can be quite uncomfortable and even painful but does have a reasonable success rate.

I always think it is worth considering alternatives, be that acupuncture, homoeopathy or chiropractic.  After all you have nothing to lose and they may well be successful.

Another suggestion is to lie at an angle, either on pillows or ironing board, with your head down and feet up and help the baby to turn over this way.  The theory is that this angle helps the baby tuck their head, thus making it easier for them to flip over, like doing a somersault.  It is recommended doing this fifteen to twenty minutes two to three times a day as early as 32 weeks and until the baby turns head down.   At the same time try to relax and visualise the baby moving into a head down position – even try to communicate with the baby and “tell” him/her to go head down if they can.

Another version of this would be to try few somersaults in the swimming pool (if you can manage it!).

Massage, either used alone or in combination with other ideas mentioned here, such as the “breech tilt” may be helpful.  Simply rub both hands wide and flat around the belly in the direction you want the baby to turn.  Both hands should stay opposite each other and move circularly, around the baby.

A slightly more drastic option is to place an ice pack (do not place directly on your skin) or even a frozen bag of peas against the top of your uterus may cause your baby to attempt to turn it’s head away from the cold temperature, or some people talk about shining a torch on their abdomen to direct the baby to the bottom of the uterus – weird and wacky, but worth a try … you’ve not got anything to lose!

If you want to speak to a midwife about any of these ideas you can always contact me info@3shiresmidwife.co.uk

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