My midwife told me at 36 weeks that my baby was breech. With a sigh and defeatist attitude she immediately launched into ECV and c section options. Personally, I knew I would always refuse an ECV (where the baby is manually moved). I just didn’t like the sound of it and the success rate was not high enough to justify it. And whilst I think c sections are fantastic, life savers and another equally brilliant way to get our babies out, I had really prepped for a vaginal birth and wanted to keep it that way. The stubborn side of me also wanted to prove the defeatist midwife wrong, so I did what I always do in these situations and threw myself into finding out more about breech babies and what we can do about it.
Firstly it should be known that having a breech baby isn’t the end of the world. Midwives used to deliver breech babies as standard; it has only been in the past 15 years or so that they have stopped being trained in this type of delivery so now understandably shy away from it. Secondly, and most importantly, is that babies move, especially for second time mums (which I was) where there is a lot more space in there for the baby to have a little dance! This means that a breech baby can spin on its own up until the last minute! So if you do get told your baby is breech it doesn’t mean it will always stay that way.
However, whilst we wait for our dancing babies to spin on their own there are things you can do to help the situation. Here are the tips I learnt (many from the amazing Mamalina community so thank you!) Spinning babies website is where everyone is directed. It has loads of useful info about breech babies and moves to get them to spin. Be warned, some positions are pretty full on (literally hanging upside down!) Although I didn’t do all the hardcore upside down positions I did a lot of table top and cat cow; on the sofa, during toddler bedtime, everywhere. Cars and sofas are breech babies best friends as you slump back with knees above hips. In the car or on the sofa, always sit on pillows to raise hips above knees. It’s boring and not as comfortable but it’s crucial. Swimming, walking and yoga are all excellent forms of exercises for pregnant people but they are especially important to shift those breech bubbas. I was told that doing somersaults in the pool worked too! Reflexology and acupuncture are again great therapies for pregnancy and can also help breech babies. Make sure you find therapists who understand which energy channels they need to focus on.
Then there is also moxa sticks which are lit and held over acupuncture points – the radiant heat produced has the effect of stimulating the point. For breech babies, the moxa stick is held over the corner edge of the little toenail for a couple of minutes on each foot. This is hard to do with a huge pregnant belly in the way so I got my husband to do it every night for 5 nights (you can do it up to twice a day for ten days). If you are alone you can reach your little toe by putting your feet to the side of your bum and alternating. Finally, talk to your baby; I spent a few days asking my baby politely to shift itself!
I’m happy to report that after a week of cat cow, talking to baby and the beloved moxa stick my baby shifted. So if you are told your baby is breech this does not stop you having choice. I found the process of “spinning” my baby empowering and it actually made me bond with her even more as I focussed on her, my body and how I could help her move into the right position.
Heavily pregnant and thinking about how to move your baby? Got any other tips for turning babies?