I’m sure you’ve missed your way at least once. Similarly, a baby can miss the way too. Whenever this happens, the little one turns in the wrong direction and is referred to as a breech baby.
Pregnant women who discover that their babies have missed the way often get worried about the next step to take.
As usual, we’re here to lend a helping hand.
This article contains useful info on breech babies; the types, causes and a few tips on how to turn a breech baby back into the right position.
What Is A Breech Baby?
In preparation for birth, a baby will automatically turn inside the womb with the head pointing towards the birth canal.
However, some babies do not.
A breech baby is one who positions his/her feet towards the birth canal with the head pointing upwards in the opposite direction. In addition, a baby is only regarded as a breech baby if he/she maintains this head-up position until the 35th or 36th week of pregnancy.
Types of Breech Pregnancies
There are three basic types of breech pregnancies depending on the position of the baby in the womb. These are:
- Frank Breech: In this instance, the baby’s bottom is down with the legs pointing upward and the feet close to the head. It is the most common type of breech position.
- Complete Breech: When this occurs, the baby’s head is up and the buttocks are down as he or she sits with the legs crossed.
- Footling Breech: In this case, the baby’s head is up with one or both feet is hanging down. This means that the baby will come out with the feet first if the mother goes through a vaginal delivery.
Other types include:
- Transverse Breech: the baby is lying sideways (vertical) in this case.
- Oblique Breech: the baby’s head is down but pointed towards one of the hips of the mother.
Causes of Breech Pregnancies
There is no exact cause of a breech baby.
However this condition occurs as a result of one or more of the following reasons:
- Multiple Pregnancies i.e. expecting twins or triplets.
- Problem with the womb (e.g. a misshapen womb), leading to a reduction in the space the baby has to flip.
- Placental Problems which block some essential spaces in the womb
- Too much or too little amniotic fluid.
- Muscular or Nervous problems in the baby
Is It Possible To Turn A Breech Baby?
The possibility of successfully turning your baby in a breech position depends on the reason your baby is in a breech position.
If a breech baby hasn’t turned to the natural position by the 37th week, your baby may attempt to turn the baby manually. This is an external cephalic version (ECV).
In this process, your doctor will place his or her hands on your stomach and push the baby into the head-down position. This is done using a firm but gentle pressure. An ultrasound scan is done before and after the procedure.
In addition, you’d be given medications to help you relax your uterus.
This process tends to be uncomfortable but not painful, and most of these attempts are successful. Although your baby may flip back into the breech position after a successful inversion. If this happens, your doctor can try flipping your baby again.
There are alternative home remedies you can use to turn your baby. None of these methods have been proven but they are worth the try since they do not cause any harm to you and to your baby.
These remedies include:
- Sitting on an exercise ball and maintaining a good posture. This helps to open up your pelvic area and can make it easier for your baby to move.
- Play some music near the bottom of your stomach or have your partner speak near the bottom of your belly and wait, hopefully your baby will follow the tune and turn in the process.
The fact that your baby is in a breech position few weeks to birth does not mean that he/she will remain in that position till your due date.
However, if the baby is still in a breech position on delivery day, your doctor MAY have to schedule you for a Caesarean section.
- Stuart James Fischbein and Rixa Freeze (2018). “Breech birth at home: outcomes of 60 breech and 109 cephalic planned home and birth center births.” BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. Accessed on 24th September, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6180643/
- Lukas Jennewein, Ulrikke Kielland-Kaisen, Bettina Paul, Charlotte J. Möllmann, Anna-Sophia Klemt, Sally Schulze, Nina Bock, Wiebke Schaarschmidt, Dörthe Brüggmann, and Frank Louwen (2018). “Maternal and neonatal outcome after vaginal breech delivery at term of children weighing more or less than 3.8 kg: A FRABAT prospective cohort study.” PLoS One. Accessed on 24th September, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107207/
- Mary Steen and Carol Kingdon (2008). “Vaginal or caesarean delivery? How research has turned breech birth around”. Evidence Based Midwifery. Accessed on 26th September, 2020 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/30067865_Vaginal_or_caesarean_delivery_How_research_has_turned_breech_birth_around