Weed Wanderings herbal eZine with Susun Weed

May 2005

Childbearing & Mothering ...
FEET FIRST - Breech babies
Alternative turning techniques
by Karen Pereczes


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.

Elaine 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.

“Homeopathy 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 active.

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.

Mind 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 lavender bath.

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.

Further Information:
~ Karen Pereczes - Freelance Writer - Website: www.impish.uwclub.net
~ Christian Ashdown Lic. Ac. M.B.Ac.C, Registered UK Acupuncturist - 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

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Susun Weed is one of America's best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women's health. Her four best-selling books--recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians--are used and cherished by millions of women globally. Topics include childbearing, breast health, menopause, wellbeing, and more.

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