Turning a Breech Baby

Updated on December 02, 2009
T.J. asks from Seattle, WA
30 answers

has anyone ever had a breech baby turned? or a c-section? Baby #2 is breech right now at 36 weeks and I'm going Monday to see if they can turn her. There's something like a 40-50% chance I will have to have a c-section if they can't turn her or if she goes into distress. This is all new to me and I am looking for some advice and or reassurance. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

I canceled my appointment for the version this week. It didn't feel right to me or my family, I cried everyday until making that decision and have felt much stronger since. We are scheduled for a c-section on 12/21. If she's turned with acupuncture, chiropractic, exercises, and my toddler's flashlight on my stomach by 12/19 we'll just wait and see if she stays that way..thanks again to everyone for your advice, support, prayers, etc...

Here's what happened! We had the csection two days ago on 12/21. Went great I was in a good mood that day, some pain still but it was worth it, especially to see how much my two year old loves her new baby sister!! The worst part is that I miss her since she's at home.due to the location of the placenta and the fact that she was 9 POUNDS at birth (!) She probably wouldn't have turned they said. Overall things are great and I kinda liked not being in labor for 27 hours like my first birth. Thanks to everyone again for your advice and support!

More Answers

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J.G.

answers from Anchorage on

My last three babies were all transverse breech (sideways!) during the last 6 weeks or so of pregancy. #3 was turned successfully 10 days before her birth, but she did not like my false labor the night before and turned back.. when I went into labor for real.. they discovered her position.. I thought for sure it was a C-section and cried. but they stopped my labor, turned her around, broke my water. and I delivered her!

#4 was kind enough to turn upside down on the day I went in to see if she needed to be turned.. then induce labor (thank you, Victoria - she ended up being my most awesome birth experience)

#5 was very stubborn.. liked being sideways and just fought back when the doctor tried turning him - I could feel him resisting it! I ended up with a C-section for that one.

if you can have your baby successfully turned in the right position, I have heard of some women playing some music their baby seems to like.. down toward the bottom where he/she would hear it best to encourage the baby to stay there. You would think at that stage the baby would not have room to move but they can.

Depending on your doctor and the type of breech position your baby is in.. does create some risks. Either way.. if you go into labor and go to the hospital.. tell them first thing the baby has been breech and you either had a version done or not. They will want to check the baby's position right away.. hopefully with an ultrasound and not with an exam... the nurse I had with #3 tried to tell me she felt the baby's butt.. I said no way.. she was upside down just a few days prior.. they did an ultrasound and she was in fact sideways again.

Please let us know how it goes.

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E.M.

answers from Seattle on

Hey T.! I am a doula and childbirth educator who has been able to help moms turn their babies. You can ask for a doula's assistance with these or have your hubby help! Talk to your provider before doing anything to make sure they are on board with these more natural ways to turn a baby:

Belly sifting: have a doula talk you through this- done on all fours with a sheet or sling.

Moxa Sticks: instructions on web- you can purchase them through some acupuncture offices.

Ironing board: Lean the board up on a couch and lay inverted (with your head towards the ground)

Ice pack: place ice pack near baby's butt to help he want to turn- must use caution to avoid frost bite.

Talking to your "crotch": have hubby read stories with his mouth near your lower belly to urge baby to turn head-down to hear him better.

You can also look into the more invasive version, which is done with you provider at the hospital. Be assured that many babies turn head down in the coming weeks, and few are actually breech at full term. I hope these ideas help! You can also e mail me off line if you have any questions!! [email protected]____.com

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S.M.

answers from Spokane on

There is a chiropractor by the name of Dr. Rick Thomas in Post Falls that has quite a bit of experience in turning babies. You may want to give his office a call. My kids and I use him for periodic adjustments but did not need his experience to turn any of my babies. He is a really nice guy who loves to work with pregnant moms and kids.

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C.W.

answers from Eugene on

my daughter was breech at 36 weeks as well, and i did a lot of exercises to get her turned the right way. one of them was making a pile of pillows or blankets on the floor and laying on them so my head was touching the floor and my belly was tilted upward into the air. my midwives said that there's a theory that the baby's head isn't "dense" enough so the head tends to "float" up (pointing toward the sky) in that amniotic fluid, causing them to be in the breech position. so if you can get your body tilted (get as upside down as you can get) then the baby's head will float the other way, turning it around into the correct position...
also, baby's can open their eyes and see light at 36 weeks.
i took a flashlight and pointed it at the bottom of my belly because the theory is that baby's are fascinated by the light and will move toward it. i tried that and it was so weird, i could feel my daughter moving around!! so i knew she must have been seeing something in there that interested her.
anyway, by 37 weeks she was turned into the correct position and she was ready to come out at 39 weeks.

some babies will flip around on their own, and with help doing exercises it can really help that baby get moving along! i was too scared to have a c-section so i did anything i could to get her turned around. good luck!!

-C.

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K.J.

answers from Anchorage on

I have heard of chiropractors that specialize in prenatal care that can do it.

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

How did it go? Exercises are a good start. And allow God to carefully form your child into who she is to be. Trust in Him.

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K.O.

answers from Portland on

My friend had the same procedure when she was 36 weeks, and she didn't have any problems the baby turned around. Try to relax, you'll be just fine. And if you do go into labor they'll take good care of you, that's why they do it at the hospital. :)

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L.M.

answers from Portland on

It is definitely possible to turn her. We turned our baby using moxa to heat an acupuncture point on my baby toes. We found out our baby was breach earlier so were able to turn her around week 33, but it certainly seems worth trying.

I would start doing this immediately every night for the next 7 nights (unless you feel the baby turn before the 7th night). Here is a website to read about it http://www.birthinternational.com/articles/andrea13.html

You should be able to get moxa at Wing Ming Market in SE Portland or from an acupuncturist near you or I have some I could give you.

I have also heard about playing music through headphones low in your abdomen.

Just keep talking to Olivia too and guiding her.

Good luck!
L.

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M.K.

answers from Portland on

There are a series of exercises you can do that will help a baby move into the correct position (pelvic rocking on hands and knees, etc). Also, sometimes a baby will be in the breech position until just before you go into labor then they suddenly get the idea to turn and away they go! I highly recommend you contact a midwife in your area, they can walk you through exercises and tell you about some of the breech births they have attended. Cynthia Luxford of Home Sweet HomeBirth is wonderful ###-###-####). Good luck!

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J.W.

answers from Eugene on

Hi T. ~

My daughter (my only child) was breech. I did have an external version, but ended up having a c-section anyway. Some people might have had better experiences than I have, but given it to do over again, I would simply have chosen the c-section. My reasons are probably the rarity, but I felt I should share anyway. For me, the external version was a necessity as I had pneumonia and couldn't breathe. As a result, though, the cord was wrapped around my daughter's neck and she ended up in distress and couldn't be born vaginally. She was born with extremely low blood sugar and spent the first 3 days in ICN. I was told by the doctor that this was a result of her spending 3 weeks with the cord wrapped around her neck, something they were unable to determine through ultrasound and hadn't expected.

What I'm trying to say is that it is a very good thing that you are asking questions about this. Other people might have had great experiences with an external version. Read up on it, though. Make sure of your decision. My c-section caused me no problems at all ~ still hasn't. I had an amazing doctor who was able to avoid cutting any of my muscles (check with yours and make sure they will do this...). For me, this was more important than for most because of my career.

Feel free to contact me if you want to talk about it more. :o)

Best of luck,
~J.

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K.B.

answers from Portland on

Have you looked into acupunture for turning your baby? It is much less uncomfortable than version, and has a really good success rate. I would recommend Catherine Lowe at ###-###-####. She is a nurse, midwife, acupunturist and Chinese medicine worker and does great work (she helped me induce labor naturally with my VBAC). Also, chiropractic can help change your position so baby can shift into the right position so you might be able to avoid a c-section (i.e. the Webster technique). I would recommend Amy Watson at ###-###-#### (office). She treats moms and babies and specializes in pregnancy, and I can personally recommend her as well.
I have had both a c-section and a VBAC, and I was glad that I tried for the vaginal birth. They are both hard, but you are back on your feet much sooner to care for baby #1, and you don't have to be separated from your baby like you do with surgery.
Best to you and this new baby!
K. (mom to Kai and Ari)

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M.D.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.,

I haven't had a breech baby turned, but I've had an emergency c-section. It's the only operation I've ever had, and my experience was that it wasn't bad at all. A relatively small incision is made on your bikini line and the baby (and then placenta) are taken out. They stitch you back up relatively quickly. I was able to nurse my son within 30-45 minutes of the operation. Your legs are "dead" for a while, so you sit in a recovery room with your infant while the anesthesia wears off. Once you can feel things again, you are moved to your permanent room. I don't recall feeling pain from the surgery...I was on morphine after and then strong ibuprofen. I actually asked to be taken off of meds early because I really wasn't uncomfortable at all. Trying to walk afterwards was a little weird (I was still dizzy), but got used to it. Showering was more difficult due to the sutures. The biggest pain for me was uterine cramping after nursing...but that's typical for any mom after delivering. Make sure to bring "granny panties" to the hospital if you have a c-section...any underwear that hits your bikini line will rub against your incision and irritate it. If you heal quickly from normal wounds, you'll be fine with the c-section...just not too much lifting, etc. in the first few days. Good luck!

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A.C.

answers from Portland on

Wow, does this hit home! I was in labor with #2 when my midwife was sure #2 was breech. Very emotional and lots of crying thinking of having to get a c-section. We did alot of praying as God knows EVERY inch of this baby's body and his life. We aren't sure what happened. Whether or not she was feeling a different part than normal or if God just plain turned him, but he was born normally, vaginally that next afternoon! God is a miracle worker and loves your baby! They should be able to turn the baby pretty well I'd imagine. There are ways! Try to go as natural as you can to AVOID distress! Let us know how it goes!

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T.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hi - yes, I had tried to have this done with my first son and it did not work. It does hurt a lot I will tell you that honestly! It is kind of a weird experience as well..
I did have a C-section as a result of a breech baby and it was not so bad. Takes longer to recover of course so you will need a lot of help with the baby for the first 4 weeks I would say. But I had a beautiful baby boy and that is all that matters! Hang in there, it will be okay!

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N.D.

answers from Portland on

i had an aversion pretty late in my pregnancy. i didn't find it painful at all, just a little uncomfortable with the pressure. my baby did turn but then flipped right back up. we did this several times. my baby wasn't stressed and so we proceeded with our scheduled c-section a week later. (the hospital i was at would not even let me attempt a breech delivery.) we didn't find out until after the surgery that there was no way she could have turned because i have a strangely-shaped uterus.

i figured the result (c-section) was going to be the same either way so just gave the aversion a shot.

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T.J.

answers from Seattle on

I found out my daughter was breech about the same time. After seeing a video of the turning procedure and how painful it was (the mother was crying) I decided against it. Also my doctor told me that there is a slight chance that the sac could break and a bigger chance that she could turn back to breech on her own before delivery. So I decided on a c-section and it was scheduled for 39 weeks. During the c-section we found that my daughter was completely tangled up in the umbilical cord. We probably wouldn't have been able to turn her in the first place or at least been able to deliver her naturally.

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K.L.

answers from Spokane on

My sister had this procedure done with her son. She said it was extremely painful, but it worked for her and she had him naturally. To me it seems pretty risky, but then again it is harder to recover from a c-section. This is a tough one. I wish you luck with whatever you decide to do. Congrats on the baby!!

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W.W.

answers from Portland on

I'll make this as short as I possibly can. My second baby was breech at my 36 week appointment and we made an appointment to try and turn the baby the next day at the hostpital(my doctor told me that she probably wouldn't turn back on her own because I was so far along). I called my friend in Texas who is an OBGYN (and has delivered tons of babies) and he said that I should not have the version (medical term for turning the baby) because there are too many risks associated with it. I'm sure many doctors do this with absolutely no problems at all but I valued my friend's opinion and went with the c-section. I had a great delivery and I preferred the c-section over my 1st vaginal delivery. I had my 3rd daughter via c-section in March and again I thought the recovery was much easier than the vag delivery. Everybody says that vag deliveries are easier but I guess everybody is different. Good luck with whatever you do!! I'm sure you will have a very healthy baby girl!

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B.S.

answers from Portland on

I was going to mention getting acupuncture, because I had heard that this works really well to turn babies. Has something to do w/ putting pressure on the bladder meridian. Good luck!

-B. S.

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H.C.

answers from Portland on

I am glad that you are trying acupuncture as I know it can be successful in this endeavor. I decided to respond before I saw the footnote that you were going to try this cos I was going to recommend 2 practitioners who I personally know have successfully worked with breech babies. So I will give you their names anyhow, just in case; Clarissa Smith at Jade Acupuncture and Dr Zhou at Golden Needle Acupuncture. Both are in NW Ptown. If you want any more info on either you can email me directly at [email protected]____.com my daughter is called Olivia. We had a very challenging birth but Olivia was incredible; strong, determined and resilient. We narrowly avoided a C section in part thanks to her stamina despite her low birht weight. It's a powerful name I'm sure :) Good luck

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L.R.

answers from Portland on

Acupuncture and Moxibustion works very well! Please email me and I will tell you more about it. The sooner you have an appt., the better so that you can get the supplies to do the moxa at home. I can possibly refer you to someone based on where you live. [email protected]____.com

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E.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi,
I have 3 kids and my 2nd one was the one that gave me all the possible problems I had cyst and he was breech and then he was born at 34 weeks.Well they did get him turned in the right position but a week later he turned again I did end up having to have a C-section but no worries everything will be fine I acttualy prefered C-section and that is how I had my 3rd also.Good luck everything will be all fine.
E.

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A.M.

answers from Seattle on

Hi, T.. One of my daughter's was breech at week 35 and my doctors did discuss the possibility of a C-section if she could not be turned. I was lucky, because by the time I went back for my check-up a week later she had turned on her own. I did need a c-section anyway with her due to a slow-progression of labor.(That was in 2005 and since then I gave birth to another girl, who was delivered by c-section.)Although, I don't know much about acupuncture when it comes to a breech baby, I don't see how it could hurt. I do know that turning a breech baby is only successful 50% of the time and unfortunately may cause a lot of other problems, such as fetal distress, seperation of the placenta, or it may cause your water to break, which may result in a c-section anyway. These were some of the topics that my doctor discussed with me when my daughter was breech. I hope it helps. Good luck with the Moxa and acupunture.

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A.F.

answers from Portland on

I had an all natural birth at Andaluz in Tualatin so when my baby was breech, they had me take the hompeopathic supplement called Pulsatila. You can get it at most any health food stores. I didn't research what it was exactly but knew it was safe for my baby. Also they had me put an ironing board against the couch and hang upside down. Which just made me miserable. :-) Anyway, in the end they sent me to a dr. up in portland who specializes in ultrasoundes and apparently has some sort of magical power because he just looked at the ultrasound, pressed on my belly a little bit and she turned right around. Amazing! So if you are desperate I say go for the natural remedies. Can't hurt to try. I have no idea where you are located but if you want me to get you the name of the ultrasound dr. let me know. Good luck.

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

I had a C-section for my second baby. It was actually GREAT in comparison to my first "natural" delivery. I could feel NO pain. It was wonderful to go in, get the epideral to numb everything and then out she came. It was 5 min from first cut to baby out and 1/2 till I was in recovery. They kept me well stocked on pain pills and fed me yummy food in bed. I got to lay in bed and hold my baby for 3 peaceful days with lactation specialists and helpers on hand. Ya, you have a tender spot but its not where you SIT on it all day and its protected by its location.A year later I cant even see my scar! It really was a great experiance. Then they sent me home with meds too. My first baby was 10lbs and a very hard labor, I was in pain for a month and wasnt healed even at my 6 week checkup. With the C-section, my daughter was born june 22 and july 4th we spend the whole day in town watching parades, picnics in the park and fireworks in the field. I think alot of it is about attitude though. If you are fearing the worst then you will notice every twinge of pain and compair it to your first labor. If you focus on your baby, your perfect, beautiful baby and that you get to hold her in your arms, how you got her there will seem less important. C-sections are so routine they actually had to set rules on when they could be used to prevent abuse (we all know how long that last month can seem). Just my own experiance, I hope yours is as good. Jen
p.s. My sister turned her own baby by using a hands and knees position she found online I think.

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S.N.

answers from Seattle on

T.,
I don't have any experience with your situation, but I was touched by your request. It sounds a little scary to me too and I wanted to say good luck. My daughter was in distress at 30 weeks along and I had to deliver her at 33 weeks. It is scary, but luckily she is a healthy child at the age of 6 now! I'm sure you both will be great as well. Hang in there!

S.

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E.Y.

answers from Portland on

Keep doing the moxa, it should work. My husband and I are both acupuncturists and have both had around 90% success rate in turning breech babies w/ moxa. Keep it up until the baby turns, then talk to your acupuncturist again to see her next instructions.

Congratulations on your new baby!

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K.Z.

answers from Portland on

Of course there are always risks with any procedure. It can be daunting to keep hearing all of the bad things that can happen with a Version or Cesarean. I just wanted to tell you a different story so you can relax a bit. ;)

My son moved all the time, I could feel him head up, head down, and sideways! Most of the time I believe he settled into a head up, feet down position. (I never had kicking in the ribs, but my bladder took a beating!)

At 36 weeks my midwife mentioned that he was breech and would need to be turned to avoid a C-section. He was still moving quite a bit. She gave me excercises to do and I did them religiously. I thought I could tell after doing them when he was head down. We scheduled the Version at 38 weeks even though I was sure I wouldn't need it.

The morning of the appt I was sure I'd turned him upsidedown again! But apparently he either didn't stay or I was wrong. I was sure I'd be sent home, but there I was stuck on an ultrasound monitor and told quickly of all the risks and possiblities, including the chance that doing this could cause me to go into labor or cause the baby stress where we might be facing an emergency C-section! Shocked me to think I could have my baby that day! I was given time with my husband to discuss whether we should do it or not. I knew that if we did not get him turned and he stayed breech when I went into labor, no one would deliver a breech baby and we'd be looking at a C-section anyway. I felt the risks were lower with the Version so we went for it.

It went like this (just so you know what to expect if you make it to your appt): the doctor watched the ultrasound monitor then put one hand on the baby's head and the other on his butt and then PUSHED him in my stomach 180 degrees around! I won't kid you, it hurt! It hurt a lot, but it was over so fast! Maybe 2 minutes tops. Nothing like my 24 hour labor!!! He sort of pushed the baby's head down to engage it into my pelvis. They kept me there to monitor and make sure we were OK, but all was fine then we were released.

He ended up staying engaged (which was slightly more uncomfortable for me) and was not as active as he had been. I think he also did not have as much room to move around as he was getting pretty big in there. I ended up carrying him until 41 weeks then went into labor. My labor lasted 24hrs (mostly back labor because he was facing the wrong way then too! he sure didn't want to do anything the normal way) which is a whole other story but I succeeded in having a vaginal birth and avoiding the C-section. So for me the Version was worth it.

I am glad you are trying other things too, if it happened to me again I would try the moxabustion and the chiropractic treatments! Anything to avoid another Version, although I'd still choose that over the C-section any day.

My son is very strong willed to this day and I enjoyed that glimpse into his personality while pregnant! I had guessed that he would continue to be a handfull and he sure has!

Best of luck to you!

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M.J.

answers from Spokane on

My first was breech and they attempted to turn her as well. She was not having any part of it and I ended up having a c-section. It was a very painful procedure and one I woulnd't elect to do again. I went on to have to two vaginals after that. My fourth pregnancy was twins and at 36 weeks, one twin went breech. (Can you believe that? Like there was room to move at the point....geesh). So I had to deliver them by c-section as well.

Just relax and let nature take it's course. Olivia is going to decide and they can be so demanding, those little ones, lol.

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J.G.

answers from Anchorage on

I am a chiropractor in Anchorage, Alaska and I have certification to perform the Webster Technique on my pregnant patients. This is a safe effective technique that helps remove uterine constraint caused by a subluxation. The Webster Technique is greatly sucessful with helping to turn breech babies.

Here are some references
www.icpa4kids.com
www.graychirohealth.com

Yours in health,
Dr. J. Waldroup G.

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