Flipping a Breech: My Experience
This post is not intended as medical advice. I am just a mom and not a medical professional. But I wanted to write this post in order to share my experience flipping my breech baby. I hope that it can help other moms, but only with their health provider’s blessing.
Let me start at the end: I was SUCCESSFUL!!!! My son went head down by my 36 week appointment.
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I found out that my son was head up at my 28 week appointment. The midwife told me not to worry about it yet. She said that it’s ideal if baby is head down by 28 weeks but it’s not a concern till 32 weeks. Well, that answer didn’t sit well with me. I walked out of the office and started crying on my way to the car.
Now, you might be thinking that this is an extreme reaction to a baby being breech at such an early time in the pregnancy and you would be right about that. But there was a reason for this. My first labor ended up in an unplanned C-Section because my eldest son turned into a breech position during labor. (If you want to know more about this experience, click here). I was trying for a VBAC this time, which would not be possible with a breech baby. So after I had a good cry, I started furiously searching the interwebs for ways to flip my baby.
Here are all the things I did to try to flip my son. Since I was doing all of them at the same time, I don’t know if any one thing truly did anything or if it was a combination of things that ultimately led to my success. It’s up to you and your provider to figure out what things you can do in order to help your baby flip.
For anyone who is pregnant, I suggest going to this website: www.spinningbabies.com. It is full of helpful articles with information on baby positions, pregnancy exercises and much more. I spent a lot of time reading through their breech baby exercises. However, I had a lot of trouble doing the exercises.
The primary exercises that they suggest are Breech Tilt and Forward Leaning Inversion. I struggled with both of the exercises because I was constantly nauseous and these exercises require you to be upside down. So instead I tried to do some yoga poses that mimicked the exercises. My staples were Cat-Cow, Downward Dog and Bridge Pose. But there were other exercises that I was able to do on the regular, like the Sidelying Release and PSOAS Muscle Release exercises. I enjoyed doing the PSOAS Release exercises the most because they made my hips feel more open and flexible. I never realized how tight they were until I started doing the exercises.
Hot and Cold Compresses
A very simple thing that you can do at home to complement the exercises from Spinning Babies is using hot and cold compresses to encourage baby to turn. The theory goes that babies prefer to be warm and will try to get away from cold things. So as you’re doing your Breech Tilt, put a nice warm compress at the bottom of your pregnant belly and an ice pack on the top. This should annoy the baby enough to want to get away from the cold and turn the head down towards the warmth.
These are a great find, since you can use them both hot and cold.
It’s a safe practice and can be done multiple times a day. I would not recommend keeping the cold on for more than 15 minutes though because it just doesn’t feel good. But it should not harm you or the baby.
In my experience, this definitely facilitated movement from my little guy. He was not into the cold pack on his head and did a lot of maneuvering to get away from it. So I know it did help facilitate his movement.
As I mentioned before in my post 8 Ways to Help Ease Your Pregnancy Pains and Discomforts, I visited my chiropractor starting fairly early in my pregnancy. I went to him every week in order to keep my body aligned and help alleviate back and hip pain.
Chiropractic care won’t help you flip your breech baby per se. But it will fix alignment issues you may have going on in your pelvis. Once your pelvis is aligned, it may open up the space for your baby to move into a head down position.
And as I mentioned in my post before, make sure to go to a chiropractor who specializes in the Webster technique. Your body requires different care during pregnancy and should only be cared for by professionals who specialize in working with pregnant women.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Even though I was going to a chiropractor starting at week 20 and started doing my exercises in week 28, by week 34 my baby was still breech. As you can imagine, I was starting to get even more anxious and frustrated by this development. So I went on to try Moxibustion.
If you’re anything like me, you have no idea what I’m talking about at the moment. I’ve never heard of moxibustion before I started doing my research on flipping a breech. Moxibustion is a technique in Chinese medicine, where you burn mugwort next to your pinky toes. You typically do it for about 2 weeks. The optimal time is considered to be around 34 weeks. The idea is that the heat is supposed to stimulate the Bladder 67 point and help baby move into the correct position.
Moxibustion can be performed at home with Moxa Sticks that can easily be purchased on Amazon. They look like cigars and smell even worse. I personally suggest doing this outside or at least in a room that has good ventilation because the Moxa sticks stink.
The procedure is very simple. You get 2 moxa sticks, light them, place them next to your pinky toes so you can feel the heat but don’t burn the skin, settle in, and sit for about 20 minutes. I did it once a day but the typical recommendation is to do it twice per day.
I don’t know if it was a coincidence or if it really were the Moxa sticks, but I felt my baby flip after the first session. But since I couldn’t know for sure if the baby flipped, I continued using them till my week 36 appointment, where my OB confirmed that baby was, indeed, head down.
If you don’t want to do Moxibustion at home for whatever reason, I suggest you find an acupuncturist and have them perform an acupuncture treatment along with moxibustion. I will give fair warning that acupuncture is much more painful during pregnancy than it would be otherwise. Usually pain in acupuncture signals blockage in the meridians and there seems to be no shortage of blockage during pregnancy. At least, I found the treatment to be very painful. But it does increase your chances of flipping your baby.
What Else Can Be Done?
As a last resort your provider may offer an ECV (External Cephalic Version) in which your OB will manually turn the baby. But you need to discuss this with your provider in order to understand all the risks and benefits of the procedure.
At the end of the day, if baby doesn’t turn, there must be a good reason for it. That reason may not be evident until you give birth but it’s there.
I hope these tips are helpful to you and lead you to success, as they have led me.
Please, share your experiences with trying to flip your breech baby in the comments. I’d love to hear how it went for you.
Quote of the Day
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. – John Quincy Adams
Mental Health Tip of the Day
Knowing that your baby is breech may cause you a lot of anxiety. It may grow as weeks pass and there is no change in your baby’s position. But you have to remain positive and work on distracting yourself. Take a nice relaxing bath, read a book, get a mani/pedi. Do anything that can help you get your mind off your baby’s position.