5 Ways to turn a breech baby before labor and delivery
How do you turn a breech baby? Here are safe methods worth trying to reduce the risk of complications during labor and delivery
Throughout pregnancy, a baby moves around in her mother's uterus. As childbirth nears, most babies assume a head down position. But, in some cases, babies rotate and rest their bottom or feet in their mother's uterus, or what is called Breech (or suhi in Filipino). Doctors confirm this through a physical exam or ultrasound.
Babies assume the breech position for a variety of reasons. It may be a response to irregular levels of amniotic fluid, or if they are making room for a twin! Though not entirely dangerous, babies in breech position are prone to more complications than those born headfirst. These include umbilical cord complications, which can lead to nerve and brain damage as well as birth injuries to their hips or thighs.
While breech babies can be delivered normally, most doctors would prefer to do a Cesarean section, to be safe. Though this procedure comes with its own set of risks, such as bleeding and infection.
If your doctor does decide to turn your breech baby before you give birth, here are some methods to expect.
Have your doctor perform external cephalic version
Typically done at the 37th week of pregnancy, external cephalic version is done by a doctor using her hands, pressing on the outside of a woman's abdomen and manually and gently turning the baby into a head down position in the uterus. Before the procedure, your doctor will order an ultrasound to confirm your baby is breech and you may also be given medication to relax your uterus, as this procedure has been known to be quite painful.
Do forward-leaning inversion
Assuming positions that relax the pelvic muscles can help encourage a breech baby to turn on her own. For instance, assuming a child's pose or kneeling and then leaning forward for about 10 to 15 minutes each day can affect your uterus' gravitational pull. You can also try rocking back and forth or doing pelvic rotations, like gentle belly dancing, to move your baby around.
Moxibustion, which is a type of acupuncture that doesn't use needles, makes use of gentle heat to apply pressure on a woman's belly. Though more research is needed to clearly define its benefits, studies have found that acupuncture can influence fetal position and it can be done as early as the 32nd week of pregnancy.
Do the Pelvic Tilt
Done beginning at the 32nd week of pregnancy, the pelvic tilt involves the use of cushions (or ironing board) to support your buttocks. Wait until your baby is moving around a lot, then lie down and lift your hips. Make sure to keep your feet on the ground and your knees bent.
Relax by swimming and listening to music
Swimming during the third trimester can relieve tired muscles and joints, making it easier for your uterus to relax, too. Though it doesn't promise to turn a breech baby, swimming can make it easier for this to happen. Another thing you could try is listening to music or playing it close to the base of your bump can encourage your baby to come closer and turn towards the sound.
Are you expecting a breech baby? We'd love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below.