Tales From the Nursery

Tales From the Nursery: The Toddler Years

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What Would You Do If Your Baby Was Breech?

I’m not sure what I’d do if my baby was breech.  It’s actually something I was concerned about during this pregnancy.  Baby boy was still sitting in my pelvis (and on my bladder) as we entered the third trimester.  Around 30 weeks or so he had not turned yet and I was starting to get nervous.  Rissa turned by the time I had my 20 week ultrasound and stayed that way until she came out.  Thankfully he has turned, but if he hadn’t I don’t know what I would have done.

There are so few doctors that are comfortable delivering a breech positioned baby so it often means an automatic c-section.  Since I prefer natural, unmedicated birth and do not want a c-section if I can help it… the prospect of needing one due to my son’s position was enough to make me a little antsy.  A nurse I spoke with informed me of some “exercises” I could do to try and encourage him to turn and I’d read a little about chiropractors being able to help stimulate a turn…. as well as OBs trying to make babies turn.

But what if no one can make the baby turn?

I was prepared to pursue ways of making him move if needed.  Until I read Kimberly Van Der Beek’s vaginal breech home birth story, I never would have considered finding a doctor who might be able to deliver him as is… the thought just never crossed my mind.

Now, I’ve read a few responses to her breech home birth – some very negative (calling her selfish and saying it was risky) – but my favorite response was written by Gina of The Feminist Breeder.  I think she is on target when she says doctors nowadays aren’t trained to deliver a breech baby which is why they avoid doing it.  It’s not that it can’t be done, but they need to know what they are doing.  And they need to know if the baby and mother are a good candidate for it.

Until I read Van Der Beek’s story I had no clue there was more than one type of breech position.  That, apparently, can make a difference when determining if it is safe to birth a breech baby vaginally or not.  According to Kimberly’s story, a frank breech is a good candidate for vaginal birth.

Type of breech positions:

  • Frank breech—the baby’s buttocks are down and the legs extend straight up in front of the body with the feet up near the head
  • Complete breech—the baby’s buttocks are down with the legs bent at the knees and the feet near the buttocks
  • Footling breech—one or both of the baby’s feet are down

The whole thing got me thinking, even if my baby boy is no longer in a breech position.  I feel pretty strongly about offering birthing options and choices and allowing women to be making decisions about their experience.  Offering information, education and options makes a big difference, I think, and may encourage more women to opt for a natural birth.  So why has the art of safely delivering a breech baby vaginally all but disappeared?

What would you do if you found out your baby wasn’t turning in time before delivery?


Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Comments ( 11 )

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  1. Headant November 8, 2012 Reply

    My husband and I were both breech–back in the days when doctors knew how to deliver breech babies. My sister’s first was breech, so she had a c-section when they couldn’t turn him.

    Thus, I was terrified of both my kids being breech. Neither was, thankfully; but C’s head was sideways, I think.
    Headant recently posted..Transitioning into Winter Clothing #CookiesKids #CBiasheadant

    • Darcy November 10, 2012 Reply

      Oh wow! Both you and hubby? I was reading that subsequent babies have a higher chance of being breech than first ones – cuz we are all stretched out? It sounded weird to me.DarcyZalewski

  2. Mindy Grant November 8, 2012 Reply

    I am only 14 weeks along, but this has already been on my mind a lot. I want a natural, unmedicated birth as well, and really hope that everything goes smoothly for that. This is my first pregnancy, so I really don’t know what to expect! I watched a documentary on Netflix a couple months ago called “Pregnant in America”, and they said the same exact thing, that doctors just don’t know how to deliver breech babies anymore, and that it IS possible, if they are trained correctly. It’s a very interesting show, if you care to watch it. Glad to hear your baby has turned!

    • Darcy November 10, 2012 Reply

      Ooh I need to watch that one and totally mess with hubby’s recommendations lol I know malpractice suits have something to do with it but it still seems wrong to meDarcyZalewski

  3. Nadine November 8, 2012 Reply

    Ive thought about this too! I’d probably try to find an OB who would do breech delivery, if all methods of turning have failed. I delivered my first baby naturally with no pain meds and it is important to me as well to avoid certain things. You’ve inspired me to check if there are any doctors skilled in this around me. If I can not find one, I would not attempt a home birth breech delivery, because the home birth climate in my area is iffy and I don’t trust it. I would have a c/s then… I know there are a few hospitals here with VBAC friendly doctors and I have had a successful vaginal delivery, so I’m not concerned about having to have all c/s afterwards.

    • Darcy November 10, 2012 Reply

      I’m not aware of any doctors in my area that would deliver a planned breech but I def would have tried all the turning tricks!DarcyZalewski

  4. Martina November 8, 2012 Reply

    My baby Was breech at 38 weeks and I dint want a CSS tion so my doctor performed a manual turning of the baby ( forget scientific term). Not sure how many dr’s still do this. It was a tiny bit uncomfortable but it worked for me.

  5. Amy Miller November 8, 2012 Reply

    Chiropractic care can do wonders to turn breech babies. As can the exercises you mentioned.

    • Darcy November 10, 2012 Reply

      That’s great to hear – did you do them know someone who did? I don’t know anyone personally who’s had to get baby turned.DarcyZalewski

  6. Danielle @ We Have It All November 8, 2012 Reply

    My 3rd baby (out of 5) was breech, one leg up and one leg down. It happened during the last month of pregnancy. My Dr. gave me no choice, either baby flips or I get a c-sect. Of course I ended up getting an emergency c-sect. (a whole other story). Dr’s just do not know what they are doing when it comes to breech deliveries. I wish I had known ahead of time so I could have found a different dr. I have recently heard of a couple of friends who used acupressure and acupuncture to help baby flip – and it worked! It took about a day or so, but it worked!
    Danielle @ We Have It All recently posted..Win the Montalban 3 Child Bike Trailer/Jogger Giveaway from Via Velo – Ends 12/3We_HaveItAll

    • Darcy November 10, 2012 Reply

      Oh no so that baby was really into gymnastics. Sorry about the section :(DarcyZalewski

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