Help! My baby is breech!

Q Help! My baby is breech! I’m 36 weeks pregnant and apparently my baby is breech. What can I do to turn her? I really want to avoid a Caesarean! says
Most babies have settled into a head down (vertex) position by 36 weeks however around 4%-5% stay breech. If this is not your first pregnancy then your baby may still turn spontaneously before 40 weeks. Research suggests that women with abnormal thyroid functioning are more likely to have a breech baby at full term.

Some maternity units have a weekly ‘breech clinic’ where you can be assessed for suitability for an ECV (manual turning of your baby). This is a safe procedure, but may be uncomfortable during the manipulation. The success rate in a first-time mum is about 50%. It is only performed by a midwife or doctor skilled in the procedure. The biggest risk in an ECV is that some babies don’t tolerate it well and a caesarean may become necessary.

There are also several options that are non-invasive that have been shown in studies to encourage a breech baby to turn.

> Moxa/acupuncture provided by a trained acupuncturist (70% success rate)

> Hypnosis (CD or hypnosis session with a hypnotherapist). (70 – 80%) I recommend combining both moxa and hypnosis to maximise success rates.

> Positioning (visit the Spinning Babies website for more information).

Although not routinely offered, a vaginal breech birth may be an option for you especially if this is not your first baby. Breech birth is a specialist skill and not available in all hospitals. New research suggests that in the hands of a skilled practitioner breech birth can be a safe option in an uncomplicated pregnancy. In the event that you prefer to have a Caesarean section or you are found to be unsuitable for ECV or a breech delivery there is lots you can do to have a positive Caesarean experience including lowering the screen as your baby is born, delayed cord clamping and immediate skin-to-skin contact if you and baby are well. Talk to your midwife or doctor for more information.

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