FEET FIRST - Breech babies
alternative turning techniques
by Karen Pereczes
Most babies are born headfirst, but at the end of pregnancy
around 3 to 4% are found to be in the breech position. A
baby is breech when the bottom, foot or feet - instead of
the head - are presenting in the lower part of the uterus.
Your midwife or doctor can usually tell if your baby is
breech by feeling your bump.
Before 37 weeks, there is a good chance that baby will
turn spontaneously without any assistance. Although some
babies do turn themselves after this time, (even during
labour!), it is less likely.
I am a mother who gave birth to her first child at home
in water with no complications. During my second pregnancy,
at around 36 weeks, my baby was in the breech position.
I sought the advice of a registered Acupuncturist, who not
only successfully turned my baby - but the head engaged,
too! This meant I could labour in a water pool at home as
I wanted, which wouldn’t have been encouraged if my
baby were breech.
John, a midwife with 27 years of experience, says: “If
a baby is breech, especially if it is a first baby, there
is a lot of pressure to have a caesarean section because
of the risks involved in a normal delivery. This makes it
important to try to turn the baby. I believe that alternative
methods actually have a better success rate than ECV (external
cephalic version), where the baby is forced to turn under
controlled conditions in hospital.”
Here are some useful, alternative techniques you can try
that will encourage your baby to turn naturally…
The Chinese Way - The ancient Chinese art of Acupuncture
is an effective healing system, stimulating points on connecting
lines of energy that flow through the body. “What
most people know of Acupuncture is that it involves needles,”
says Acupuncturist, Christian Ashdown. “For turning
breech babies we also use a herb called Moxa, which is traditionally
harvested, dried in sunlight and stored.”
There is an Acupuncture point on the outside of your little
toenail, the Zhiyin, on the bladder and kidney meridian
which is the water element representing the beginning of
things. This point is stimulated for twenty minutes on each
foot, by burning a small piece of Moxa (the size of a grain
of rice), which gives an intense, sharp heat. The procedure
is repeated twice a day for a maximum of five days.
“Often you don’t feel it turn, as it can happen
at night” Says Christian. I have personally had some
experience of this, as I have successfully used this technique.
I did not feel my baby turn and was surprised (and relieved!)
when my midwife confirmed that not only had my baby turned,
but also the head was engaged!
The ideal time to use this technique is between 30 and
36 weeks into your pregnancy. It is less effective if you
are more than 36 weeks pregnant.
Homeopathy - Homeopathy is ideal for use
during pregnancy, being a gentle yet highly effective system
of medicine that has been in use for nearly two hundred
years. It is a holistic treatment that takes into account
a patient’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual
and general well-being.
is a way of treating like with like, using very small healthy
doses of a substance that produce a range of symptoms”,
says Registered Homeopath Judith Williams. “Giving
someone a remedy that matches their symptoms will help their
body to cure.”
The remedy that is universally prescribed to help turn
a breech baby is Pulsatilla, in 30C potency – one
dose every two hours for up to six doses. This can be purchased
from some high street chemists and most whole-food shops,
but it is recommended that you consult a Registered Homeopath
for the treatment to be fully effective.
Chiropractic - This treatment consists
of a variety of specific manipulative techniques designed
to improve the function of the joints.
One of the many pregnancy-adjusting techniques is called
the Webster Breech Protocol, designed especially to turn
breech babies by re-aligning the pelvis. If the mother’s
sacrum is twisted, gravity cannot affect the baby. As the
muscles in the uterus then relax, the baby is able to respond
to gravity again and turns head down. The treatment is usually
every 2 to 3 days for two weeks.
This is a highly effective technique. The baby may move
with such vigour into the vertex position that the mother
can usually tell exactly when the baby turned.
Try The Following Exercises -
• Walking - Walking creates movement
in the pelvis, providing more room for baby to turn.
• All fours - Crawling around on her hands and knees
for 10 minutes a day can also help.
• Breech tilt - The mother should not attempt this if
she has high blood pressure. Get her to lie on her back with
a pillow under her head, and 2 or 3 pillows under her hips.
The pelvis needs to be raised 9 to 12 inches above the head.
This should be done on an empty stomach and while baby is
Sound and Vision - It is well documented
that babies can hear in uteri. Perhaps your baby has turned
to be closer to the sound of your voice or heartbeat. Try
playing soothing music to your baby, placing the earphones
on your lower abdomen. Or ask your partner or a friend to
talk to your baby close to the bottom of your belly.
Water Works - It is said that immersing
yourself in water increases your amniotic fluid, helping
your baby to turn. Fill your bath with warm water and relax,
using some of the visualisation techniques in this feature.
Or try a visit to your nearest swimming pool. Simply playing,
turning somersaults and swimming can all encourage your
baby to turn.
Power - Do not underestimate the power of the mind!
Make yourself comfortable, either sitting up or lying down,
in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Create
an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity - perhaps by using
essential oils, lighting candles or soaking in a relaxing
Relaxing your body completely, pay particular attention
to your breathing rhythm - breathing deeply and slowly from
the belly. Count down slowly from ten to one, becoming more
relaxed with each count. When you feel deeply relaxed, visualise
your baby turning a somersault. Use your powers of imagination
to the full!
Prepare Yourself - Ask yourself if you
are ready to welcome your baby into the world. Talk to your
baby, explaining why you want him or her to turn. As your
due date approaches, it is only natural to experience some
fears regarding the birth and becoming a mother. Perhaps
you are feeling nervous, or under stress from outside influences.
If you find it difficult to talk about it, you may find
it useful to write your feelings down.
At the end of the day, it might be that your baby prefers
to lie in the breech position. After successful turning,
some babies have even been known to flip back to breech!
Don’t worry if this is the case. The most important
thing is that you discuss all options available with your
midwife or obstetrician to reach an informed decision that
is right for both you and your baby.
~ Karen Pereczes - Freelance Writer - Website: www.impish.uwclub.net
~ Christian Ashdown Lic. Ac. M.B.Ac.C,
Registered Acupuncturist in the UK - Tel: (01834) 871 117
~ British Acupuncture Council - Tel:
020 8735 0400 - www.acupuncture.org.uk
~ Judith Williams R S Hom, Registered
Homeopath. Tel: (01834) 844 467
~ The Society of Homeopaths. Tel:
01604 621 400 - www.homeopathy-soh.org
~ British Chiropractic Association
- Tel:0118 950 5950 - www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk