What are my options now?
Check in with yourself. Do you have resiliency to explore more ways to help your baby turn? Are you done?
A year from now, when you look back up on this time in your life, will you hold the memory of yourself in this situation with compassion and satisfaction? We hope for a sense of completion, even if “surrender to what is” completes your activities to help baby change position.
We shared a lot of options on this website. I am assuming you went through Flip a Breech or our 6-day program on our ebook or took the Breech Balancing for Pregnant Parents class.
You can decide to stop trying. That’s ok. You can decide any or all of these:
- Ask a doctor/midwife to help turn the baby with an external cephalic version (ECV)
- Seek professional bodywork with an Aware Practitioner or other experienced pregnancy bodyworker (I don’t mean relaxation massage)
- You can have a bodywork session the night before or just before an external cephalic version (ECV)
- Try hypnosis or journaling to ask your body or your baby to reveal what the breech position is communicating to you?
- Homeopathic remedies with a skilled, professional homeopath
- Seek a skilled vaginal breech birth provider (we don’t recommend diy breech birth)
- Seek a family-centered cesarean option for a surgical birth
Why is Baby Breech?
A breech position may be caused by an imbalance (asymmetry) in the mother’s pelvis or soft tissues. In other words, a tension or a twist in the lower uterine segment may be a “soft tissue” issue. This is not the woman’s fault, as we simply live in an era where a slight twist in the pelvis is common. Some causes of this may be:
- Long car rides
- Crossing our legs
- Sports injuries
- Abrupt stops (fender benders, etc.) torquing our torso
- Carrying a toddler on a hip or other hip rotation causing activities over time
- Serious falls
- A neck or ankle injury
All of these can twist the pelvis and, in turn, twist the uterus, resulting in asymmetry. The Three BalancesSM and other body balancing techniques (many shown in this website but not all) can help untwist and release tension.
Many chiropractors can loosen the ligaments by doing the Webster Technique. Adjusting the sacrum, for both a vertical twist or a buckled (horizontal wrinkle) sacrum will let the baby put their head down more readily because the bones won’t be in the way. It may often take balancing muscles and ligaments (soft tissues) and the pelvic joint alignment (not one without the other) for success.
More advanced bodywork than the usual bodyworker knows may be necessary. (The Breech Release Book can help the bodyworker, too!)
Other things besides body imbalance can cause breech
- Psychological resistance to an aspect of parenting this child
- A uterine shape, such as bicornate, unicornate, or septum, holds the baby in place
- The cord is wrapped in a way, or is really short, and baby can’t turn or somehow knows it shouldn’t
- The placenta is next to the head like a pillow and baby can’t get past it
- Is one twin breech and the other twin is in the way of them turning past? See more on twins.
- Breech can run in the family, even on the father’s side!
These exercises may not work when:
- The womb has a septum or unusual shape
- The baby is wrapped in a particular way by the cord (not as common as is claimed)
- If you’re having twins and one twin blocks the flipping movement of the breech twin
- Torsion causes reduced space in the lower uterine segment and it was not overcome or corrected by the woman’s selected activities (do more on the list above)
- There’s uncorrected torsion in the lower uterine segment (find another body worker)
- Intense core strength (6-pack belly)
Note: If you find that these exercises don’t work, it may increase emotional stress about having a breech birth. Whether or not the exercises work is not an indication of whether the vaginal breech birth will go smoothly or not.
We respect baby’s right to remain breech. And at the same time, we suggest giving yourself an opportunity to create the most room for baby by balancing the tensions in the pelvic and abdominal muscles. Even a tight jaw, tight ribcage, or old sprained ankle stiffness can have a role in baby not having room to turn. This is because fascia coats and connects all the body and the tension can cross great distances to cause a spot to have less room. Body balancing isn’t always easy (though sometimes it is!).
Most of the things mentioned in this page are talked about in this website but not all. Explore the great wide world for more perspectives, skills and opportunities. You, too, have the right to create space for what you need in your life.
When should I stop?
A detailed timeline is given for breech turning techniques. But understand that continuing even into labor or stopping now are both valid decisions. Ultimately you get to choose. We don’t expect you to continue until you feel stressed out about the activities or you start to feel a sense of suffering. Be kind to yourself. Compassion is a skill of parenting. Start it now.
It’s also ok to take a break and decide later if you want to stop trying or just pace yourself in a way that is appropriate to you or the resources you have around yourself.
If the breech baby doesn’t turn
Balancing techniques could help a vaginal breech birth go more smoothly. Always use physiologic breech birth practices (knee-elbow or hands-and-knees maternal position, hands-off the breech, natural childbirth, etc.).
Otherwise, a cesarean after labor begins gives the baby a bit of labor hormones to help transition into life outside the womb. Discuss these options with your midwife or doctor. There is currently better data in obstetrics to support physiological breech vaginal birth.
Consider that another week of healthy gestation, up to 40 weeks, has nothing but benefits for your baby. If you or your baby are not healthy, or if there is a prolapsed cord, you may need medical help.
If your baby was breech and is now might be head down, you can stop the inversions for a few days. You may like to read Belly Mapping® a Breech for more clues.
Contact your provider to make an appointment to check baby’s position if time is essential.
Don’t consent to a cesarean for a breech position unless you do an ultrasound just before preparing your body and the birth team for the surgery. Some babies do turn at the last moment, so doctors usually check baby’s position before bringing you into the surgical theatre (OR).
How can I tell when the baby flips?
You may or may not notice when the baby turns. You might be able to tell if the breech flips by feeling the feet kick where the head had been before. Usually, the strongest kicks are from the legs (not the arms) and will be high in the womb when the head is low.
An anterior placenta (one that gets on the front of the womb) can block the baby’s limb movement and confuse people who are trying to tell the baby’s position. More often, a mother will notice a difference in how she is carrying the baby.
Notice where your baby is kicking. If it is quite different and is now strong at the top of your womb, you may want to stop measures to flip the baby. If it stays the same, you might want to continue until you can get the midwife or doctor to verify the baby’s position.
I offer an article on Breech Belly Mapping®
Think about a moment next year when you are looking back at this time. I hope you feel nurtured, bold, and proud of yourself for trying the things you felt were fine for you and in the amount of effort that was empowering to you.
I believe you can come to accept the baby position as part of life’s teaching moments.
I truly believe the baby settles in the space available. Sometimes you can affect the space in ways that make more room for baby. But there are other reasons baby may stay breech. Respect your deep communication from your body or your baby. We are all just humans in this modern world. The whole range of human experience is possible. The most important thing is love.