Heads Up! Breech Babies

Breech Birth is a lost art.

 Optimal Fetal Position (OFP) is a term that is often spoken by Birthworkers as we help to educate and inform our clients. This is something that we are really great about sharing knowledge on, but it never seems more important than when we are faced with a breech birth.

When a pregnant person has learned that their baby is breech it means the baby is in one of the following arrangements:

  • Frank Breech
    The baby’s buttocks are aimed at the birth canal with its legs sticking straight up in front of his or her body and the feet near the head.
  • Complete Breech
    Here, the buttocks are pointing downward with the legs folded at the knees and feet near the buttocks.
  • Footling Breech
    One or both feet are positioned below the buttocks at the inlet of the maternal pelvis. One foot presents in a single footling breech, both in a double footling breech.
  • Incomplete Breech
    One of the baby’s knees is bent and his foot and bottom are closest to the birth canalMost often, if a breech baby is found to be head’s up, or “upside down” prior to 37 weeks, there is time to encourage the little one to turn in order to attempt a vaginal birth. The following techniques are known to encourage babies to turn on their own. If the babes decide they are quite comfy where they are, and aren’t too keen on turning head down, cesarean birth may be required.

How do we fix it?

  • Chiropractic care- Manual manipulation of bones and joints by a Chiropractor. Webster certified is ideal, but all
    Moxibustion is most often done in conjunction with acupuncture

    Chiropractors should have the required knowledge to assist in turning a breech baby

  • Acupuncture- Eastern medicine modality using very thin needles in specific points on the body
  • Massage Therapy- the muscles and ligaments that support the uterus and pelvis can become full of trigger points and tension. A session focused on extinguishing those trigger points and relieving the tension can help provide more room for the baby to turn and restabilize the pelvis in a neutral position
  • Moxibustion- Chinese herbs are burned near specific points to stimulate chi causing the baby to move into position
  • External Cephalic Version (ECV)- a care provider manually manipulates the baby into a head down position by guiding the fetus with their hands around in the abdomen.
  • Breech Tilts- client should lie on the floor with their feet resting on a chair or sofa and lift their bum off the ground while supporting themselves with pillows placed underneath. They should be at about a 45 degree angle and stay in position for a maximum of 15 minutes.

What care providers assist breech deliveries?

These tricky babies already have a mind of their own, and want to do things their own way!
Delivering breech babies vaginally is becoming quite the lost art.
Some Midwives will gladly oblige to attending a breech birth if specific parameters are in place.
Some OB’s will also but it is a very rare occurrence these days.  Here is a great read about a vaginal breech birth story that occurred here in Houston. Most often, a laboring client needs to have had a previous vaginal delivery, no health complications and a pelvis  with “ample room”.
These physicians that deliver breech babes are rare, and likely have been serving the pregnant population for quite some time.If you have any questions about the things mentioned here to encourage your baby to turn, please reach out to me and I will do my best to answer your questions, and point you in the right direction to have the birth you desire.

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