Pregnancy App Article: "Moving a breech baby"

Week 35
Moving a breech baby
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Time to turn things around
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If your breech baby doesn’t turn, there are steps you can take to encourage it to budge.

Optimal foetal positioning is based on the theory that a baby’s position in the womb is influenced by the mother’s position and movement during the final weeks of pregnancy. When sitting, you need to try to keep your knees lower than your bottom – so no slumping back in old armchairs. Crouching and swaying on all fours with your bottom in the air is also supposed to help.

Your midwife or consultant may suggest external cephalic version (ECV). This is where a doctor attempts to physically ‘flip’ your baby over by pressing on your abdomen. ECV is usually performed around 37 weeks – although you can have it as late as at the onset of labour. It works for around 50 per cent of babies, but it isn’t an option if yours is a multiple pregnancy or if you have placenta praevia. You will have various ultrasound scans and may be given a drug to relax the muscles in the uterus. A doctor will then attempt to shift your baby by gently pushing on your abdomen to lift your baby out of the pelvis and encourage her to do a ‘forward roll’ so that she is head down. Even if it is successful, there is a chance that your baby might turn back again, which is beyond frustrating, but you can always wait a few days and have another go.

There are a number of less invasive ‘alternative’ treatments for turning babies. Some swear by the Webster Technique, whereby a chiropractor makes a few adjustments to your pelvis, hopefully giving your baby the room it needs to get into the correct position. Others recommend moxibustion - a traditional Chinese technique which involves holding lit sticks, made from a herb called mugwort, above acupuncture points on your feet - while others put their trust in reflexology.

There is also a theory that babies gravitate away from cold, and many a concerned mum has spent an evening or two with a packet of frozen peas on the top of their belly. Some get so desperate they will try almost anything, including visualising their baby with its head engaged and telling him in a firm voice to ‘Turn!’

Others believe that babies turn towards the light – but if the sun doesn’t shine out of your business end, you can always try a torch.

The prize for cheekiest breech baby, though, has to go to the daughter of a Mumsnetter who was in a breech position but then turned halfway through the planned Caesarean. She was sent straight to the naughty step.
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My sister turned her breech baby at 38 weeks. It’s a bit off the wall, but it worked for her. Go into a dark room with a torch, strip naked, kneel on all fours with your bum in the air and shine the torch where you want the baby’s head to end up.
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A friend was giving me fortnightly reflexology sessions and I mentioned the position of the baby to her. After the session I felt a lot of wriggling around, and – hey presto! – at my next check the baby had gone head down.
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I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy watching television in a mirror propped up on my sofa, while kneeling against the sofa with my bum in the air.
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