In the United States, an ultrasound is typically scheduled for 35 weeks of pregnancy. Providers are looking for a few different things during this imaging, one being the position of the baby. The optimal position for childbirth is a baby in the head-down position. While the majority of babies are turned into a head-down position (vertex) by this time, some babies find it cozier to stay in another position such as transverse or breech. If you learn that your baby is breech or transverse, you may find yourself seeking tips for turning your breech baby.
Why Does a Breech Baby Need to Turn?
The breech position is a variation of normal and babies can be birthed in this position. So why would they need to flip? Babies in the breech position don’t technically need to turn, but it is not an optimal position for a vaginal birth and you may find it challenging to find a breech provider. This is a reality that is only amplified by the fact that a baby’s position may not be mentioned until that 35-week ultrasound… when there is little time to search for another provider. The art of supporting breech birth is one that has been greatly lost across the globe. Very few care providers have experience or training in attending breech births and the lack of knowledge brings fear and uncertainty. Additionally, limitations placed on providers by hospital policies and their insurance may prevent them from offering breech birth support even if they have the training. Providers who do not do breech births will recommend a cesarean section if a baby is not in a head-down position.
If your baby is in a transverse position, it is not possible to birth the baby vaginally. In this situation, the baby would need to turn or the parents should prepare for a surgical birth.
10 Tips for Turning a Breech Baby
If you cannot find a breech provider or you are not personally conformable with breech birth, the following tips are said to be effective in promoting optimal positioning for birth.
- Watch Your Posture – Good posture creates space for the baby to turn and settle into a head down position.
- Get Moving – Spinningbabies.com provides a movement routine created specifically to help babies turn into a head down position. Other movements such as walking daily, curb walking, and lunging can also be helpful.
- Hot Packs – After doing your daily Spinning Babies exercises, try placing a warm pack under your belly near your public bone. Babies like warmth, so the idea is that they will want to move toward the warmth.
- See a Chiropractor – Chiropractic care during pregnancy can help align your spine and pelvis, creating space for a baby to move more freely. Just be sure you find a chiropractor who is well experienced in caring for pregnant people!
- See an Acupuncturist – Acupuncture and moxibustion treatments have been shown to be effective in promoting breech babies to turn.
- Use Hypnosis – For parents who are using HypnoBirthing® to prepare for the birth of their baby, hypnosis is a great option to encourage a baby to turn. If your baby is breech, ask your educator about scheduling a private session to guide you through a turn script.
- Visualize Baby Head Down – Visualization is a powerful tool. Throughout your pregnancy, focus on visualizing your baby in the optimal position for childbirth.
- Talk to Your Baby – Babies hear their mother’s voices while in the womb better. Talk to them, tell them what you need them to do. Use a loving, encouraging voice that shows them how much you care and want this for them.
- External Cephalic Version (ECV) – This is a medical procedure that is performed by obstetricians to manually flip the baby. There are risks and benefits to this procedure that should be discussed in detail with your provider prior to the procedure.
- Have Patience – Remember that babies can flip at any time, even during birth. If you have tried all of the things and have started to plan for a possible surgical birth, you may request your provider to check the baby’s position before being admitted. You just may find that the baby has flipped on its own!