Tips and Tools for Preventing Breech Position and Helping Breech Babies to Turn
What does it mean when a baby is BREECH?
A breech baby is one that sits feet or bum down in a birthing person’s uterus. This may make birthing more challenging when the legs or bum present first instead of the baby’s head. Some medical caregivers may suggest that a Caesarean birth may be a safer or only option.
WHY are babies sometimes breech?
There are many reasons a baby may be breech. Sometimes when a pelvis is misaligned or uterine ligaments are pulled one way or another unevenly, the uterus can change shape and cause it to be difficult for babies to sit comfortably in a head down position. This is usually a “soft tissue” challenge that is most commonly a symptom of the society we live in. Some causes may be long car rides, crossing our legs, carrying a toddler on our hip or other hip torquing activities.
But sometimes, a uterus has a shape that we were born with like a bi-cornate or heart shaped uterus. In these cases, we cannot change the integral shape of the uterus, but we can work to provide as much space for the baby as possible so that if they can turn head down, they will.
If your baby is breech (head up), there is a chiropractic adjustment called The Webster's Technique which can establish balance in a pregnant person’s pelvis, and reduces stress in the uterus and supporting ligaments. This balanced state has been clinically shown to allow babies who were breech to turn into a head down position. This Webster Technique has been shown to be 82% effective. The WOMB’s team of chiropractors are experienced in Webster’s Technique.
ACUPUNCTURE and Moxibustion
Moxibustion is a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique that involves burning an herb over various acupuncture points. The WOMB’s naturopathic doctors most commonly use moxibustion in combination with acupuncture to help encourage breech babies to turn into the head down position before birth.
COUNSELLING, Hypnotherapy and HypnoBirthingTM
Speaking with a registered therapist or using hypnosis can help loosen tight muscles in the uterus, release stress, and calm the body and baby. An integral part of the breech turn session is fear release therapy, where birthing parents learn to let go of their fears concerning their pregnancy, labour, parenting, and even everyday life.
SPINNING BABIES Techniques
Spinning Babies Techniques are activities that a pregnant person can do to increase the likelihood of their baby turning into a head down position. Working with one of The WOMB’s birth doulas who are experienced in Spinning Babies Techniques can help you safely learn these activities and use them regularly in your daily life.
Osteopathy is a form of body work that treats all systems of the body as a whole. The WOMB’s osteopathic manual practitioners release connective tissue tension to give space, balance and symmetry to the pelvis and uterus. This in turn can provide breech babies the opportunity to optimally position themselves head down.
PELVIC HEALTH Physiotherapy
A pelvic health physiotherapist at The WOMB can assess the tension around the diaphragm, ribs and pelvic floor, all of which impact space potentially for the baby. The physiotherapist will also provide education around a slumped c-curve sitting position and how this habit of sitting is connected with a less optimal position of baby to birth. Pelvic Health Physiotherapy is the only treatment to release pelvic floor tension directly which can be a contributor to non-optimal balance through the pelvis and thorax.
Prenatal yoga is an amazing practice that can help balance the body and calm the nervous system. Such poses as bridge pose can also help babies turn. Let your instructor know if your baby is breech and they can assist you with finding the right poses for your body.
External cephalic version (ECV) or “version” is a manual procedure performed by an obstetrician to turn a breech or side-lying baby into a head down position before labour begins. A medicine may be given before the ECV to relax the uterus and prevent contractions. While the uterus is relaxed the doctor will use one hand on the baby’s head and one hand on the baby’s bottom to push and roll the baby into a head down position.
Daily activities that can help PREVENT breech position
- Avoid crossing your legs for extended periods as this can change the positioning of your pelvis which in turn can impact the symmetry and pull of the uterine ligaments
When your baby is BREECH...
- Sit on a yoga ball for good posture as opposed to laying back in bed or on the couch for extended periods which can compress the space a baby has to turn
- Spend some time in an all fours position – even better, put an exercise ball under your upper body in this position to give your arms a break and allow your body to relax.
- Balance carrying your other children on both hips – switch often! You could also use a toddler carrier to carry your child on your back and be hands free too!
WHAT IF my baby still doesn’t turn head down or stays breech?
Sometimes babies are just going to stay in a head up position and we don’t always know why. But we can prepare ourselves for either a vaginal breech birth with a knowledgeable and experienced medical provider, or for a beautiful and empowering caesarean birth.
A scheduled caesarean birth can be a joyful and loving experience. There are many things you can do to prepare yourself and your birthing team. Here are some examples:
- Work with a psychotherapist to come to terms with your decision so as to minimize any traumatic effects that may impact you after your baby’s birth
- Discuss with your birth doula how to communicate effectively with your medical team to advocate for your mental wellness, personal decision making and participation in the birth every step of the way. This can help reduce any potential birth trauma.
- Work with a postnatal doula to prepare the set up of your home with baby stations so that it minimizes the physical impact as your body recovers
- Arrange a pelvic health physiotherapy appointment for 4-6 weeks postpartum to help retore the function of your deep core muscles that connect to the pelvic floor.
For more information or to book an appointment, visit our website at www.thewomb.ca