Have been told your baby is breech and now you are wondering what that means or if there is anything you can do to help?
Pregnant people whose baby has a breech presentation typically means baby is in utero with their feet or bottom down towards the cervix. Ideally, for a vaginal delivery, baby is head down next to the cervix. There are a few different types of breech presentations. The first is the feet and/or bum down, as I previously mentioned. Other breech presentations are only bum down, which is considered frank breech, or with a foot down, which is considered footling breech. Check out the images to better understand.
Babies in utero often move and do somersaults throughout pregnancy as they have plenty of room, but as the pregnancy progresses that space decreases as baby grows. Their ability to do somersaults begins to be limited. When 35 weeks gestation comes along most birth providers like to see baby starting to position themselves head down in preparation for birth. If baby hasn’t turned head down that doesn’t automatically mean baby won’t, but that is a good timeframe to start looking at helping baby move head down.
There are several reasons why you may have a breech presentation. Those may include: physiological, structural and even emotional components. Structurally, imbalances within the mother’s pelvis may prevent baby from moving head down. These imbalances can affect the soft tissue, muscles, ligaments, and organs, like the uterus. Now imbalances are part of life and unavoidable. However, how well our bodies are able to adapt to these is really going to shift how well our body functions. A few ways we can limit imbalances during pregnancy are: not crossing our legs, not sitting on our wallets/phones in back pockets, and avoiding repetitive one-sided movements (like carrying kids on one side, carrying heavy bags only on one shoulder).
*Non-Pregnant Uterus Shown
The further along you get, the less room baby has to turn, so getting baby into that ideal birthing position as soon as possible is best. There are a few different ways providers suggest to help baby move head down, but as a prenatal chiropractor, my favorite is chiropractic care through the specific technique of Webster Technique. The Webster Technique is unique to chiropractic to help create as much room in the pelvis to allow baby the room they need to move into the correct position. The Webster Technique was created specifically to help pregnant moms balance their pelvis and create as much room as possible for baby to be able to move head down. When the pelvis is not balanced it will add more stress and strain to those soft tissues, as mentioned above, which creates stress and tension on baby which makes it more challenging for baby to move head down. Once the pelvis is balanced, the uterus and surrounding ligaments and muscles relax, giving baby that little extra room they need to move. Check out the above picture to get a better understanding of pelvic position.
Some other options to encourage baby to get head down are:
Spinning Babies- This home program is made for you to be able to easily do exercises at home to encourage baby to get into the head down position.
Acupuncture- Many pregnant moms have great results working with a prenatal acupuncturist to help get baby into the correct position.
Massage Therapy- Making sure the muscles are relaxed and not stressed or putting extra tension on the pelvis and baby will also help baby to move easier.
De-stressing/yoga- prenatal yoga or finding something that is relaxing to help manage the mental and emotional stress of this process can be very beneficial. Baby feels all the emotions mom is feeling, so limiting any extra stress can help.
ECV- This procedure may be recommended by your birth provider to manually turn your baby from breech to head down while still in the uterus. Many women choose to try chiropractic, body work, and/or home activities before an EVC. An ECV also needs to be done by a trained professional, usually a Midwife or OB, and baby needs to be monitored throughout the process.
These are just some common and useful tips to help baby prepare for birth in the head down position. We do need to remember that even though we can encourage and coax baby to get into optimal position with head down that there may be limiting factors preventing baby to move and flip head down. It is important to remember that you and your baby are in this dance of pregnancy and birth together and that your body was designed to do this.
If you are looking for a prenatal chiropractor near you, please use the Find A Chiropractor tool at the ICPA 4 Kids website.
This blog post was created in collaboration with Dr. Emma Swartling of Lumos Chiropractic.