With your little one’s head moving closer to the birth canal, your baby takes the delivery position few weeks prior to birth. When your baby fails to come into position, it’s time to see your healthcare provider.
Breech position is when your baby’s feet or buttocks positioned to deliver first. It is called breech presentation. Right from baby’s heart rate, the position to your blood pressure everything is checked by your doctor when you are nearing the due date.
Usually, babies prefer head-down position. 90% of all babies favor head-down position at the time of birth. Around 3% of babies fall into breech position when they get full-term. Typically, around 36 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor will screen for strep, do pelvic examinations to check your cervical changes, and check to see the position of your baby.
If you are wondering how does your OB know that your baby is breech?
According to American Pregnancy Association (APA), the healthcare provider can determine whether your baby is breech or not by placing their hands on your abdomen to locate the baby’s head, back, and buttocks. If they feel the baby is breech, they would want you to undergo an ultrasound test to confirm.
A pelvic exam is also a way to find if the baby is breech.
Types Of Breech
Breech position is categorized by which body part or parts of your baby is aimed closest to the birth canal.
Complete Breech -Your baby is in a cross-legged position with feet below. The buttocks are pointing downward with the legs folded at the knees and feet near the buttocks. Some OB might try to deliver this breech baby position vaginally.
Frank Breech – Your baby’s bottom comes out first with legs flexed and knees closer to the ears.
Footling Breech – With one or both feet of your baby pointing downward will deliver before the rest of the body.
Causes Of Breech
In subsequent pregnancies
If you have history of premature delivery
If your uterus is shaped abnormally
If you have placenta previa
If your amniotic fluid is too less or too much
If you have uterus with abnormal growths – fibroids
How To Flip A Breech?
Normally if the breech position is confirmed, your OB would suggest flipping a breech between 32 to 37th week of pregnancy. Your doctor might increase the chances of vaginal birth.
The techniques used by your doctor to flip the breech to the normal position are many.
External Cephalic Version
This non-surgical technique is a way to move the baby in the uterus. Medication to relax the uterus will be given before the procedure. It is considered to be a painful procedure, gentle pushing on the lower abdomen will turn the baby into the head-down position. The baby’s heartbeat will be closely monitored to check if any problem develops, the health care provider will immediately stop the procedure. ECV has more success rates in turning the fetus into the vertex presentation. However, the procedure becomes more difficult as the due date gets closer.
Webster Breech Technique
Late Larry Webster, D.C., of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, developed a technique that enabled chiropractors to reduce stress on the pregnant woman’s pelvis. This chiropractic care leads to the relaxation of the uterus and the surrounding ligaments. A breech baby can turn naturally with a relaxed uterus. A study on this technique suggests that it is preferable to be done in the 8th month of pregnancy.
There are risk-free techniques, often suggested by the physical therapist which can be tried at home. The breech tilt is where you lift or raise your body from down and place on a soft pillow. You can also use music as a therapy. Use music or taped recordings of your voice to try to get your baby to move toward the sound. Place headphones on the lower part of your abdomen and play music to encourage babies to move towards the sounds and out of a breech position. Although these natural techniques are not always successful, giving it a try will not affect the baby.
C-Sections Vs. Vaginal Birth
If the baby is still a breech till the day of your delivery, you might require a C-Section. However, some doctors might attempt a vaginal delivery. Your doctor will know what’s best and you need to trust your body!