My baby is breech
It can be very disappointing to learn that your baby is facing the wrong way. But it is not unusual and it doesn't necessarily result in a caesarean section.
A breech birth is when the buttocks or feet come down the birth canal first, as opposed to the normal head-first position.
There are different types of breech:
• Frank – bottom down and legs bent or extended up towards the face.
• Complete – baby is sitting cross-legged.
• Footling – one or both of the baby’s knees or legs are closest to the birth canal.
Turning your baby around
If you find out before the birth that you’re expecting a breech baby, it may be possible to turn your baby around. An obstetrician will try to make your baby turn head-down at 37-40 weeks. The process is called external cephalic version (ECV), and it involves the obstetrician pressing on your abdomen. This works in about two-thirds of cases, although it’s less successful in first-time pregnancies.
Things to try at home
There are also things you can try at home:
1. Spend plenty of time on all fours. This allows gravity to bring the baby’s head down. Get down on the floor each day and read the paper or a magazine while on all fours.
2. Gentle lateral lunges. These can widen the pelvic outlet and help the baby turn.
3. Ironing board. Lie on a plank or ironing board placed at a 45 degree angle, head down and knees bent for 15 minutes, three times a day. Gravity encourages the baby to move towards the top of the uterus and turn under.
4. Hot and cold. Place an ice pack on the top of your uterus and a warm pack at the bottom. The baby will move towards the heat.
5. Singing and talking. Make a tape of your voice singing and talking to the baby. Play it back through headphones placed near your pubic bone to encourage the baby to move towards the pleasant sounds.
If, after all this, your baby refuses to turn, in most cases you will be offered a Caesarean section.