What is a breech birth?
A breech birth is when a baby is born usually bottom first instead of head first. A baby is not considered breech until around 35 or 36 weeks.
Around 3–5% of pregnant women at term (37–40 weeks pregnant) have a breech baby.
Most breech babies have their legs straight up and feet by their ears (the ‘frank breech’), while some have their legs crossed with feet higher than their bottom (the ‘complete breech’). If a baby’s feet or knees are coming first, this could be one of the reasons that you’re advised not to go for a vaginal birth.
In normal pregnancies, a baby usually turns head-down to get into position in preparation for birth. Most babies will turn into vertex/head down position from 31 weeks onwards because the stage of development means that the head becomes heavier than the rest of the body put together, so gravity will cause the turn if there is sufficient room and no obstruction or tension.
Why is my baby in a breech position?
It may just be that your baby has not turned for some reason and remains in a breech position. However, there are some factors which may make breech positioning more likely including:
- location of the uterine & abnormalities
- labour starts prematurely
- if the edge of your placenta is close to or covering your cervix (placenta praevia)
- multiple pregnancy
Is it possible to turn my baby from breech position?
If you baby is still breech at your 36-week appointment, you’ll usually be offered a technique called ECV (external cephalic version). This is where an obstetrician will attempt to turn your baby by applying gentle but firm pressure to your belly to massage your baby into a head-down position. You might be offered a drug to relax your uterus. Some babies move easily, while others move only part way and then slip back. Some seem to have moved but then move back. An EVC is successful for approximately 50% of women, and it is typically more successful if you have previously had a natural, vaginal birth. Risks are low, with studies suggesting a small increased chance at 0.5% of emergency caesarean in the 24 hours following a successful ECV.
There are a number of other options that you could consider using to help turn your baby from the breech position including:
- Moxibustion – a traditional Chinese technique. Moxa (sticks of dried herb) are used to heat specific energy points on your little toes which triggers hormone changes relaxing the muscles in your uterus to allow extra ‘give’ and increase baby’s activity, encouraging them to turn. Research suggests moxibustion is about 66% successful.
- Acupuncture – TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners advocate the benefits of acupuncture to turn your baby, although there are no studies which support this.
- Yoga – it is thought that putting yourself into a forwards and open position may give your baby more space to turn.
- Hypnotherapy – one study took one hundred pregnant women whose foetuses were in breech position at 37-40 weeks’ gestation and were matched with a control group. 81% of breech babies were successful conversions to a vertex position compared with 48% in the control group.
How can Hypnotherapy help to turn a breech baby?
In terms of using Hypnotherapy to turn a breech baby, we recommend one session after 37 weeks.
With hypnosis most babies tend to turn within 12 hours of the session (and sometimes within the session itself) unless there is an obstruction preventing them from turning.
During the session, we will explore any fears about birth or parenthood that may be creating anxiety and tension as well as exploring any other current stresses that may be preventing baby turning into optimal position. We will help to de-hypnotize and reframe any negative thoughts. We will also explore the client’s schema “Birth is …. Being a parent is ….”
It is important that mum sees both the anterior left (LOA) and anterior right (ROA) visually to see the optimum position. She should also look at breech position pictures so that she can visualise the turn happening during trance
We will recommend spending time in the ‘polar bear’ position or the ‘hands and knees’ position (if more comfortable) for 20 minutes twice a day if possible. This will encourage a ‘cradle’ towards the front of the abdomen (rather than the mother’s spine presenting a cradle which can encourage non-optimal positions).
PLEASE NOTE: ANY time in these positions is better than none.
To discourage the spine becoming a cradle, we recommend using upright chairs/birthing balls as much as possible rather than slouching on sofas as an example.
Using a V-style cushion at night, leaning your abdomen into it (ie. almost on top of the cushion) can also discourage non-optimal positions.
We will encourage you to listen to a recorded ‘breech turn’ mp3 on a daily basis.
Call Jo on 07904 500307 or book your session via our web-site