What is a breech baby?
Breech means that your baby is in a bottom-down position. If this is your first baby, the baby will probably settle into a head-down position in your pelvis around the eighth month of pregnancy. This settling position is called a vertex or cephalic position. When labour begins, nearly all (actually 96 per cent) of babies are lying head down in the uterus, but a few (about 3-4 per cent), will settle into a bottom-first, or breech, position.
I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant and had an ultrasound earlier last week only to find that my little miss has turned breech!
As soon as I saw this on the screen I cried. I’ve heard many horror stories about breech babies and how you can only deliver via c section and unfortunately for me, the select few people that I know who have had c sections – have unfortunately had terrible experiences. Not the most positive stories to be reassured by.
My first reaction – apart from crying was to do research on how I can turn my baby naturally or at least get her to turn herself back into the head first position.
I then started to research as to why some babies turn breech. My initial reaction was, pending your circumstances of course, and I’m not too spiritualistic but do have a tendency to prefer ‘natural’ techniques, remedies and options. So my initial thought was – gosh what has made my bubba want to be so close to my heart?
Apparently I am partially right – pending what you believe. I was in a circumstance a few days ago where I felt very uncomfortable with my surroundings. There was a certain person at the same venue as I was who made me feel very uneasy and as soon as I saw this person, my body covered itself in goose bumps and I felt a hot flush and got a horrible rush come over me. Approx 30 minutes after I felt my little miss become unsettled in my tummy and I knew something wasn’t right. Yes she has turned herself around into breech position! Again breech is where the baby’s head is up under the mothers chest / heart.
An old wives tale is that if the mother is under stress, heartache, or feeling anxious about anything the baby will turn breech to listen to the mothers heart beat and therefore feel more settled.
After my experience I believe that this could definitely be a factor as to why my little girl has decided to flip.
So back to the research!
I’ve read many ways to try and have her turn herself back into the vaginal birthing position some I’ve listed below.
Please note though – I am no medical expert, if you are pregnant – always, always seek medical advice and if your baby is also breech, please take the advice of your doctor.
An option that I’m having is an ECV this can be performed at 36 weeks, by your doctor or midwife.
This is where you have the chance to have your baby turned manually into a head-down position. This process is called external cephalon version (ECV).
ECV is more likely to work if you’ve given birth vaginally before. Sometimes, a baby refuses to budge or rotates back into a breech position so it is not a 100% going to work for all baby’s – or it may work but these little people do have a mind of their own and may very well turn back into breech position.
An ECV may be not recommended if you have bleeding during your pregnancy, if your baby has a short umbilical cord, if you have oligohydramnios (less amniotic fluid), if you have a scar on your uterus, if you are carrying more than one baby or that you are likely to need a caesarean section for other reasons.
In Australia, 87.1 per cent of babies who were in a breech position at full term (37 weeks or more of pregnancy) were born by caesarean section. This figure includes single babies as well as twins and more, where often there is one baby in a breech position. More than 95 per cent of singleton babies (where there is only one baby) who are breech at full term are born by caesarean section.
In most cases the caesarean is planned and the mother does not go into labour, though for 20 per cent of singleton breech babies the mother does go into labour before the baby is born by caesarean. In this situation the caesarean is usually more urgent.
A review of the research on breech birth in 2004 suggested that it was safer for breech babies to be born by Caesarean section compared to a vaginal birth.
Some midwives and doctors challenge this research. They feel that a normal birth is just as safe, provided that the midwife or doctor has the special skills needed to help a woman give birth to a breech baby vaginally.
Further studies have also supported the view that where there are experienced doctors available and strict guidelines applied, vaginal birth can be as safe as caesarean birth.
There is also no evidence that the way a term breech baby is born has any effect on his long term health.
A few other methods that I’ve read about to try are :
Bring your knee’s-to-chest position by kneeling on your bed or on the floor with your bottom in the air and your hips flexed at slightly more than 90 degrees (don’t let your thighs press against your bump).
Try to keep your head, shoulders, and upper chest flat on your mattress. Maintain this position for 15 minutes every two waking hours for five consecutive days. In one study of 71 breech babies, 65 turned when their mother adopted the knee to cheat position.
Try laying on your back with your hips slightly elevated and again your hips and knees flexed. Gently roll from side to side for 10 minutes and repeat this manoeuvre three times a day. If you have had any back pain, pelvic pain or hip pain during your pregnancy, do talk to your midwife or physiotherapist before you try this.
At the end of the day it might be that your baby prefers to lie in the breech position; about 5 per cent even turn back to breech position after a successful ECV. If this is the case, a c section will probably be recommended but, depending on your baby’s exact position, a vaginal birth may still be possible.
I personally am hoping that my baby turns as I really am scared of a c section.
Have you had any experiences such as a c section or breech baby? If so please contact me, I’d love to hear your experience.
Another great website that a friend of mine also recommended – she is a midwife 🙂 is below; good luck!