Hearing that your baby is turned into a breech position can be alarming to hear when you are so close to delivering. Many thoughts can go on in your head and you may be anxious about whether or not your baby will change positions. Like other parents facing this dilemma, you are probably wondering how to turn a breech baby into a headfirst position. Luckily, medical care providers have discovered a few procedures and techniques that can help with this. No, not all methods have a 100 percent success rate, but the tips provided below are worth the try and backed up by medical care professionals.
How to Turn a Breech Baby
There are several techniques and procedures that parents can use to help turn the position of their unborn child. Some of the procedures do require supervision from your healthcare provider, but others can be done risk-free right in the comfort of your home. The techniques and procedures that can help turn the position of your baby in a headfirst position are:
- External Cephalic Version (ECV)
- Acupuncture coupled with moxibustion
- The breech tilt
- Music and vibrations
- Standing on a handstand in the pool
- Use of cold and heat packs
1. External Cephalic Version (ECV)
ECV, or external cephalic version, is a procedure that must be performed by your main medical care provider. Mainly because there are risks to consider with such a procedure and medication will be necessary to soften the uterus (www.americanpregnancyassociation.com). The procedure is performed in the medical facility. Typically, before the procedure, your doctor would like to confirm a few things such as the baby’s current position, amount of amniotic fluid that is present, and the condition/location of the placenta. If all is well, your medical care provider will continue with performing the procedure when the uterus has reached appropriate softness.
How IS an ECV Performed?
ECV is a non-invasive technique. Once the uterus has softened, your doctor will proceed to gently push on your lower abdomen to encourage your unborn child to change to a headfirst position. This is done once the uterus is softened and there could be discomfort involved.
Things to Consider
Like with all procedures there are some risks involved with an ECV. Some of the risks involved with the external cephalic version include early rupturing of the amniotic sac, going into early labor, twisting of the umbilical cord, and placenta abruption (www.utswmed.org). Placenta abruption is described as the placenta separating from the uterus and could put you or your baby at risk for health complications. Other factors to consider about the ECV is that only half of the procedures performed are successful in switching the baby out of breech positioning.
2. Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Acupuncture combined with moxibustion is a more holistic approach and is performed by a chiropractor. Moxibustion is a Chinese medicine therapy that includes burning herbs around the acupuncture point. The main technique used by chiropractors is the Webster Breech Technique for softening the uterus and, unlike the ECV, reports an 82 percent success rate (www.americanpregnancyassociation.com). However, success is more likely if the procedure is performed during the 8th month of pregnancy. The risks of this procedure are also much less severe than those associated with ECV. According to Lamaze International, the risks are very minimal and include experiencing unpleasant smells or odors, nausea, or abdominal pain (www.lamaze.org).
3. The Breech Tilt
Unlike the two previous procedures, the breech tilt can be performed in the comfort of your own home and have little to no risk involved. Performing the breech tilt is rather simple and only requires a large pillow and a floor to lie on.
How To Perform
To do the breech tilt, it is recommended that you lie on your back on the floor. Place the large pillow under the hips and raise the hips at least 12 inches off of the floor. Doctors recommend that the procedure be performed at least three times daily for 10 to 15 minutes each time. Health professionals also recommend doing the exercise on an empty stomach. Practically no risks were associated with performing the breech tilt.
4. Music and Vibrations
Music and vibrations have been reported by mothers to help their unborn baby change positions. The science behind this is simple; babies can hear sounds outside of the womb and ultimately can be used to help draw the baby to the correct position. According to the American Pregnancy Association, mothers have seen results by placing headphones at the bottom of their belly. Not all cases have reported success, but it is worth a try!
5. Standing on a Handstand in the Pool
Now this one is not the most popular, but some mothers swear by this method. All that’s needed is the ability to hold your breath underwater and to be comfortable with performing a handstand in the water. Like the breech tilt and listening to music, there are no reports of adverse effects. But keep in mind that this method is not studied. Therefore, there are no success rates or failure rates to help determine whether this method is a good choice.
6. Cold and Heating Packs
Of all the methods, using a cold and heating pack simultaneously is approached with the most skepticism. The idea behind this is to make the baby slightly uncomfortable to force the baby to move. To accomplish this, one would put a cold pack by the unborn child’s head and a heating pack on the lower abdomen. However, healthcare professionals are skeptical about this truly working and there are hardly any success stories to be found. The UT Southwestern Medicine Center reports that the amount of water between the packs and the baby would reduce the ability to change the temperatures within the womb (www.utswmed.org). Consequently, this makes it more difficult to encourage the baby to change positions on their own.
Finding out that your baby is in a breech position is scary but there are ways to help change this. If you are comfortable with procedures that have slight risks, but with favorable success rates, ECV or acupuncture may be the right fit for you. But if you would rather try a risk-free method that can be performed in your home, the breech tilt and the use of music have seen the most reported success from mothers. Regardless of what your decision is, it is always best to consult with your physician about the best way to approach your situation.