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
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
“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
• 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
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:
~ 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)
~ The Society of Homeopaths.
Tel: 01604 621 400 - www.homeopathy-soh.org
~ British Chiropractic
Association - Tel:0118 950 5950 - www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk