Tips and Tricks to Turning a Breech Baby

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Is your baby in a breech position and causing you stress? We have some tips and tricks to help you get that baby head down and ready for birth. While these aren’t guaranteed ways to get your baby head down, they are definitely worth a shot. 

Most babies turn head-down sometime during the late-second trimester or early-third trimester. As you draw closer to your expected due date, the breech presentation starts to become more concerning as they have less room to move around and eventually will not be able to turn head-down. Before attempting any of these methods, consult with your midwife. They will make sure the baby is breech, and give you direction in attempting to turn your baby.

Webster Technique

The Webster Technique can be performed by your local chiropractor, but make sure they are Webster-certified before making an appointment. 

Your chiropractor will give you a pillow with a hole in the middle. They will ask you to lay down on the table, placing the pillow under your belly to allow you to lay down comfortably. Then they will start assessing you by bending your legs at the knee, bringing your feet towards your bottom, and seeing if they align correctly. They will adjust you based on their assessment, using either the drop table or a special adjusting tool. Afterwards, they may have your turn onto your back to assess the muscles on the front side of your body. Any adjustments needed here usually involve soft massaging of the tissue. 

The goal with this technique is to give the baby more room in the pelvis, allowing them to move into the correct position. The chiropractors will not attempt to actually move your baby.  

Miles Circuit

Miles Circuit is a technique used to help get your baby in the optimal birth position. This can be done in the weeks leading up to your due date if your baby is breech or in a suboptimal position, and during labor to help progress labor further. It can also be used as a natural induction method, although it doesn’t actually induce labor, it only gets the baby in the right position to apply pressure to a ripened cervix. It does take a good chunk of time, 90 minutes, so block out a time during your day to be able to do so. Do this technique as many times as needed.

Step 1: Open Knee Chest or Forward Leaning Inversion

Open knee chest position

To start, get on your hands and knees with your knees wide apart. Stop there to gently rock through cat/cow poses, then lower your head and chest to the floor. Bring your bottom up as high as you can. You can place a pillow under your head to help get comfortable, you will be in this position for 30 minutes. Use this time to relax. Breathe deeply. If your baby has lowered into your pelvis, this will help them slip up and out to have more room to get into the optimal position. If you have a support person and a rebozo, you may ask them to place the rebozo under your hips and pull up for more support and to get your hips higher. 

An alternate position you could try is a Forward Leaning Inversion. It may be helpful to have someone to support you while you get into and out of this position. You can use your bed, the couch, or stairs. Kneel on the edge of the couch/bed/stairs with your knees hip width apart. Take three breaths in, then lower yourself down with your arms and hands extended, placing them on the floor. Next you will get onto your forearms and drop your head. Make sure your hips are directly over your knees. Try holding this position for 30 minutes, or for as long as you can as it is a little bit of a trickier position to hold. 

Woman on edge of couch on her hands and knees
Woman doing a forward leaning inversion.

Step 2: Exaggerated Side Lying

Woman doing exaggerated side lying.

The next step is the most comfortable. This position’s purpose is to give your baby time to get into the right position. Gather as many pillows as you can. Lay on your bed and place the pillows along your left side and under your head. Stack the pillows where your leg will be. Lift your right leg as high as you can and roll to the left, placing your right leg over the pillows. Adjust the pillows as needed. Alternate which side you lay on if you attempt this more than once. Stay in this position for 30 minutes. If you fall asleep during this pose, that’s okay! You deserve that rest. When you wake up, you can move on to the next step. 

Step 3: Move Around

That’s right. After all that rest, your next step is to get moving for 30 minutes. There are a few different ideal ways to move around to encourage your baby to move back down into the pelvis. 

  • Lunge using a stool. Place one leg on the stool, then lunge, keeping your knee and ankle at a 90 degree angle. Do not exceed that 90 degree angle as this will close your hips, which is the last thing you want. 
  • Curb walk through your neighborhood. Walk with one foot on the curb and one on the road. Keep an eye out for cars. 
  • Walk up the stairs facing sideways, taking two steps at a time. 
  • Sit and bounce on a birth ball, keeping your hips open.
Woman doing a lunge using a couch
Woman doing a lunge using a couch.

Moxibustion

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese technique used to turn a breech baby head-down using herbs. While you can do this at home, you may want to see if your acupuncturist is familiar with this method and can do it for you. You can find moxa sticks at your local health goods store, ask for moxa sticks that are specifically meant for breech babies. 

  1. Remove a centimeter of paper from one end of the stick and light with a match.
  2. Once a flame is going, blow out the flame, but leave the moxa stick burning.
  3. Get comfortable and relax.
  4. Direct the heat from the moxa stick to your pinky toe. You want the stick to be close enough to feel the warmth, but not too close that it is touching you or burning your skin.
  5. Hold the moxa stick there for 15-30 seconds, then direct the moxa stick to your pinky toe on the opposite foot. 
  6. Continue switching from foot to foot for 20-30 minutes for each session. 

You can try this technique twice per day for five days, a total of 10 sessions. Before each attempt, make sure your baby is still in the breech position. 

External Cephalic Version (ECV) 

If all else fails and your baby is still in a breech position, you will be referred to an OBGYN. If they are willing and you are a good candidate, they may offer to perform an External Cephalic Version on you. It is a medical procedure in which the doctor manually tries to turn the baby from the outside of your belly. It has around a 50% success rate and some risks involved including water breaking, fetal distress, and placental abruption. Because of these risks, the doctor may wait until week 37 or 38 of your pregnancy to perform the procedure. 

Ultrasound gel being applied to belly.

You will have an ultrasound beforehand to ensure the baby is still breech, be given medication to help the uterus relax and decrease pain during the procedure, then the nurses will place monitors on your belly to watch for signs of fetal distress. The doctor will then begin attempting to move the baby manually. There will most likely be some discomfort, depending on your sensitivity and how much pressure the doctor uses. After the procedure, you will be monitored for a short period, then sent home.

If the procedure was not successful in turning your breech baby head-down, the OBGYN will likely want to schedule a C-section. In this case you will transfer care from the birth center to the hospital. 
For more information on turning a breech baby to the head-down position, contact our midwives today.

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