Turning Transverse or Breech Babies
Tara Carpenter, CPES.
Bringing hormonal support to new mothers in Vermont since 2011.
Many pregnant moms become distressed when they find out baby is transverse or breech; often only weeks left before estimated due date (EDD). This puts a spin on things because if baby doesn’t turn ‘in time’ a care provider often recommends a cesarean birth.
When I was 9, my brother was born at home …. breech. My mom was 38 yrs. old, and she was “3 weeks overdue”. After a long labor, he was born and though my mom tore a bit she was fine. I remember the sounds she made and the three midwives who attended appeared relaxed as they did a puzzle with my brothers and sisters in living room; read books on couch; and sat with my mom. I don’t remember anyone scared, only apprehension and excitement in the air that comes with a baby being born.
I am older now with baby’s of my own, born vaginally, and I know times change and not all doctors/midwives are trained to deliver a baby not in a ‘normal’ head-down position. I know bad things happen. As a Placenta Encapsulationist, I hear all the fear and worry that moms can have when told they need a c-section because of baby’s position.
This makes me sad for words at a vulnerable, emotionally heightened time can influence our strength and fortitude. I know at the end of the day a baby can be born 10 different ways and a mother will become a mom. I have faith in birth, in competent attendants, and a a mother’s willingness to birth vaginally.
I spoke with various birth professionals and mothers to create the list below. All of them have experienced delivering a breech or a transverse baby; all are proactive in women birthing vaginally. These tried ‘n true ways are here to encourage baby to turn into a head-down position…
Tips & Tricks for Turning Baby
- Craniosacral work is #1 option to connect expectant moms to their body while addressing mental/emotional aspects
- Chiropractor work by a practitioner trained in Webster technique can be effective for fetal presentation concerns. Dr. Rice in Shelburne, VT practices Network Spinal Analysis. It’s best to be adjusted regularly to align pelvis, pelvic ligaments, and uterus.
- Wear a pregnancy belt to give slight pressure and relax the abdomen. This can help it to “slope” and supports the baby in dropping down into the pelvic brim. You can also wear a belt AFTER baby’s head down if your uterine ligaments are soft.
- WALK, every day at a brisk pace. This can lengthen psoas muscles (pair of internal “wings” from spine to thigh) and support lower back strength. This moves your pelvis and helps put baby in a head-down position as well as to align your spine/pelvis.
- Consult a homeopathic practitioner, some recommend pulsatilla.
- Forward-leaning inversions: prop iron board on an incline against the couch. Lay on with head towards floor and feet at top of board.
- Place bag of frozen blueberries or peas at the top of your belly. Place a heating pad at the bottom of belly. Weird but works for some.
- Do handstands in swimming pool…swimming in general is good.
- BRIDGE, lay on couch or floor (place pillows under hips for support) in a bridge position. This can encourage baby to slide towards your diaphragm and flip.
- Acupuncture…babies tend to move a lot during a session and the practitioner may give you a moxa stick to use at home. Find an acupuncturist with a gift for this sort of thing…Kerry at Integrative Medicine in VT is great.
- Shine a flashlight between your legs while you’ve got music playing.
- SQUAT!! A trick a mom told me is to do 3 squats coming and 3 squats going each time you go from the living room to kitchen. If you’re new to squatting, use the wall to support your back and keep feet on floor. Go down as far as you can while still keeping heels down. Toes point forward, not out. Bowman is all about squatting. Just be careful and brace yourself so you don’t fall.
Some midwives, CNM’s, and OB’s will do external version (manually turning baby while monitoring with doppler/ultrasound). The risks associated with external version are premature labor and pain for mom/baby.
Request a vaginal birth
You might have the option to petition for a care provider that will allow you to attempt a vaginal birth. Especially if baby is in a breech position – this is because the umbilical cord has more space between baby’s legs and is less likely to become compressed during birth. You’ll also have more luck if you have a “proven pelvis” (medical term stating that you’ve delivered vaginally before). Photo of Breech Baby here (graphic)
Find a care provider trained in breech/transverse birth
Seek out a care provider that’s trained and versed in handling breech/transverse birth. Most are not, yet this is not always a good reason to have major abdominal surgery (cesarean).
If you have any tips to add to this list, please comment below!
Photo Credits: https://autismum.com/2012/08/19/guggie-and-her-gaggle/ and https://archive.tcoyf.com/forums
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May all bellies be happy!