48 answers

Breech Baby at 38 Weeks

I needed some support and words of advice from other moms out there that have been through this. I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow and at my doctor appointment yesterday I was told that my baby is breech. The past two appointments have been with the nurse practioner who told me that my baby was head down. The doctor yesterday told me that she might have been wrong...i really can't imagine that...she is a professional after all. Anyway, has anyone had this happen and ultimately ended up with the baby head down by the time labor began. I really, really, really do not want a C-section and of course the doctor is pressuring me to "just do it." I'm doing everything I can position wise to try to get her to turn. I'm trying not to panic but honestly, a C-section is my worst nightmare!

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Oh my goodness! I am sooooooo encouraged by all of the responses I have received! Thank you to all you mammas out there who took the time to write about your experiences and to share words of advice! I am truly grateful for the support. This is such an important time in both my life, my husband's life and most importantly my baby's life and it is just so nice to know that no matter what ultimately has to happen, I will survive it! You always kind of feel like you are the ONLY person who has ever gone through this so again, thank you to everyone for taking the time to write. And feel free to keep the comments coming....it is only helping me feel better about everyting! :)


UPDATE - 05/19/2009 -Better late than never. Despite ALL of my efforts, the baby did not turn. I went 41 weeks and gave in to a C-section. My little girl is healthy, beautiful and just as stubbon in utero as out! :) She was born on March 12.

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Hi J.,
Let me just be very matter of fact here and pray you will take this in the spirit it's written and not be offended. Your worst nightmare is not a C-Section. Your worst nightmare is your entire family being wiped out in an earthquake. Your worst nightmare is losing everything you own in a house fire. Your worst nightmare is your baby dying while giving birth. So now that things are put into perspective, let me just say something loving! A newborn baby is an absolute amazing miracle of a gift, however it comes into the world. If you need a C-section to make that happen SAFELY, then so be it. Trying to turn the baby inside the uterus comes with its own risks. Take a deep breath and thank God that your baby has come this far safely. As far as a professional being wrong...it happens and it happens all the time. Try not to hold it against anyone. We all are human. Is there something you're really good at but have been wrong about before? Most likely. I know I myself fit in that category! So you're right...don't panic. That's the worst thing you could do. Relax, enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy before your life changes forever. Don't let this little bump in the road affect your beautiful birth experience. Go into whatever type of delivery you need to have with excitement, joy and anticipation of holding that gorgeous baby girl for the first time. In a few short month's time, you will be able to look at things a little more clearly and realize this was the least of your worries!
p.s.--all said with a loving mother's heart and from a "been there, done that and learned to chill out" mama! God bless and enjoy your new treasure!

3 moms found this helpful

First of all, don't be scared of a c-section. It might not be the first choice, but nothing is wrong with having one. Just relax and let things happen. It will work out the way it was meant to work out, everything always dose. That said, your baby still has a little time to figure out which way to go. Try not to stress out. The most important thing is that you and baby are healthy!
Nurses have told me many times that the most beautiful babies are c-section because they are not squashed out of you. :)

2 moms found this helpful


I am amazed at week 38 that your medical advisors, doctor or nurse practioner, can't agree on whether your baby is breech or not. This can be viewed by a simple echography!! Your OB/Gyn should be able to perform this for you.

J., if your baby is indeed breech, I strongly advise you do the C-section. Here's why.

My baby never turned, and we scheduled a C-setion at 38 weeks, as my doctor did not want this baby coming along and being born breech. And, he was totally right as after the delivery the two surgeons who were present (both my OB/GYNs are also surgeons) told me my son's ombilical cord was 12 inches too short. Had he been born in an African village where no medical support could be offered both the baby's and mother's lives would have been endangered. An emergency C-section can also put stress on the baby, remember this!

If your daughter hasn't turned there may be a good reason for it. Too short ombilical cord, or it's wrapped around her neck. Whatever you do, don't try to force her to turn either. Mother nature knows best about these matters.

If your baby is breech, prepare yourself to do a scheduled C-section, which is in fact really easy, and you're only numbed from the hips down so you are awake to watch the birth and mine was really neat. We filmed the whole thing.

Your doctor is right, you need to make a decision about this fast, and if you're not comfortable with that, his medical opinion, than perhaps seek another one. As I said, a simple echography will reveal all.

Good luck.

p.s. the scar is very small and not even visible over time, so no need to worry about this.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,
My first baby, now 18 and applying to college, was born breech. And I do not really recommend it. If I had to do it again, I would have a c-section.

My daughter was always in the breech position; I could always feel her head pressing against my diaphram. I tried reclining feet above head several times every day -- no change. We were scheduled for an inversion, but my water broke and I went into labor 3 weeks before due date -- and 2 days before the scheduled inversion. I really, really did not want a c-section, and we knew the baby was small (5 lbs 8 oz), so with an epidural and monitoring, and a huge episiotomy, and a crowd of various doctors and nurses, we proceded with a vaginal breech birth. I remember pushing like crazy. When my daughter was born she was very blue and her apgar scores were very low. She revived quickly, but was kept in the hospital for several days to track her breathing and glucose etc. She had some strain in the muscles of her neck and due to bruising of her little bottom ended up back in the hospital for a day under the bilirubin lights. She nursed well immediately, and all was well with her. But -- it scares me to think that the opposite could have happened just as easily. I did not recover so well. Because I could not stay in the hospital with her, and then once she was home had to bring her back for frequent appointments, my episiotomy tore and required repair. (I still have issues related to this. The antibiotics from the repair surgery led to pseudo-membronous colitus.) Although a c-section may not be your first choice, it is at least a known quantity -- a breech birth will be highly unpredictable and can be dangerous for the baby and for you. I don't mean to upset you, but from the other posts did not see anyone else reporting a breech delivery. Best of luck, A.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.. Congrats on a baby girl! They are so much fun :)
When I was pregnant with my baby she turned heads up at about 32 weeks, the nurse kept saying he will turn then I went at 36 weeks and nothing. They tried to schedule me for a c-section and just exactly like you I was very opposed and scared. I had them tell me my options (indeed I had to ask for another ob/gyn because I couldn't believe that was my only option) There are several "natural ways" I tried leaning on the stairs for 10 minutes at a time, the doctor said the baby would think it's backwards and turn, I tried walking a lot... to make it short that did't work and I was running out of time. Then a doctor at Kaiser told me she could do a ECV - external cephalic version. Yes, it is an 'old school' procedure but if you really want to try everything you can always do that. I suggest you call the doctor's office right away because I was 38 weeks pregnant and they did it only because I pressure them a lot, there is only so far in time they can do it. Yes, it did hurt and yes I was scared but thank goodness my baby stay head down for the next 4 weeks and I delivered vaginally at 42 weeks. Please research online to get an idea of what this is about and see if your doctor would do it. I don't know if you are local but if you have Kaiser I can give you the name of the doctor who did it for me. I am forever thankful to her.

Best of luck,
K. - email me if you want more info.

1 mom found this helpful

Dearest J.,

I understand your many emotions and am sorry some of your ideals have been challenged...I so want to give you a happy ending about baby switching back and there are some that do. My first child flipped at 37 weeks. We tried a version(doctors moving him by hand on my stomach and that did not work) and then we had some distress..c section...and after I was a totally natural pregnant woman..wanted the vbirth..I was just thankful to have him and later my daughter, I nursed and attatched for years with both kids, fretted and dwelled and J...life with your children is more than the birth..just current media, blogs, books, chats focus on that..there is so much ahead, joy, learning, attaching..to bond and the birth day will always be memorable..Lastly, our version of pregnancy, birth and life and comparing it to others is a heart breaking mental task because our version of our children, their personalities, talents, gifts and desires are who they are and not what we envision and birth is a great starting place in accepting that, fostering a much stronger bond for life...

1 mom found this helpful

People think they cannot communicate with a baby before it is born and many still don't think a baby can communicate until he/she can form words. This is SOO far from the truth. Just keep sending the signal that you would love for the baby to turn head down when it is time to come into the world. Many babies turn several times up down up down before the big day. If you feel that it is close to the day, encourage the baby by mentally communicating and by gently massaging or "nudging" the baby in a circle to the left. You may be able to tell where the head is and follow the movement.

If you think about it and put yourself in that position, I personally cannot imagine wanting to have my head down until it is time to go! Let the baby know you can relate to that feeling.

At this point the baby is offering resistance at wanting to come into the world. It feels that this is a hostile place and that there is just too much conflict and not sure what he/she got themself into! You are the environment at this point. Change your feelings and soften the conflict in your own life.

People are feeling other people's worries at this point. "Stand behind the short wall" when it comes to thoughts that cross your mind which may not necessarily be your own, but thoughts that were programmed by earlier generations who were entrenched in lack and limitation consciousness.

Trust that what you need will be provided. Hasn't it always been so? So many people are worried about the economy, but we've always been innovative and this is just an opportunity for creative solutions. Think of these things as a way for communities to work together and learn how to accept differences without judging. We have to work together to find a solution to a problem that was created by an egoic need to outdo the Jones-es. We are in this together, we will work together to solve it.

So many people are taking other people in, it is amazing to see the cooperation building. Let the baby know it will never have to do this journey on it's own. He/she will always have help and that it will come from many sources. Sources that are expected and some that are not!

With Love, L.

1 mom found this helpful


You have gotten a lot of responces here... just my two cents- My daughter was breech and was most of my pregnancy- At my 35 week appointment I was assured that she would turn- at my 37 week appointment my Dr. examined me and told me that she was high but had turned- I was certain that if she had I would have felt it and asked him to double check- he did a quick ultasound- she had not. At that point he offered to schedule the external rotation- I declined. I had done enough of my own research at that point to know that I was not going to put my body and my baby through what is truly an invasive proceedure and risk her being born in an emergency situation or sufering physical trauma. We scheduled the C-section instead for a few days before her due date. This still gave her time to move if she was going to- and the c-section could always be cancelled. But knowing that date and having that plan set allowed me time to process how she was going to be born- and as so many of the other moms have stated- in the end all I wanted was her here healthy and happy-
I had the c-section and she was perfect (c-section babys really are beautiful!) by having had it scheduled- my husband was prepared to be in the room (it changes things for the dads too) and there was no last minute rush- It was a very relaxed, peaceful proceedure. Also by planning ahead- talk to your doctor about being able to hold your baby right away and other birth plan issues. The c-section itself was not the end of the world- I was breast feeding within an hour of her birth and home within 48 hours.

Do I miss not having the "real birth experience"- I'm sorry I still carried this baby for nine months and I still gave birth to her- I am no less her mother and no less in love with her because I did not push her out. How your child comes into this world is not what is important- that she is here and healthy- that is what it is all about.

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