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What Would You Do If Your Baby Was Breech?

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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 /

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