It’s possible to deliver a breech baby vaginally, although most doctors advise against it. The breech position refers to the baby’s position in the uterus when its bottom or feet are facing forward. When giving birth vaginally, the infant should be oriented so that the head comes out first. By the time they’re 36 weeks old, most breech babies have turned to face the mother.
If you want expert care before, during, and after your pregnancy, you can always count on renowned obstetrics clinics in Weston and Pembroke Pines. That said, let’s discuss the breech baby position in more detail.
Potential Causes of a Breech Baby
Depending on the baby’s exact position in the uterus, breech pregnancies can be classified as either frank, complete, or footling breech. In a breech pregnancy, the baby’s bottom faces the birth canal instead of the baby’s head.
While the specific causes of a breech baby are unknown, the American Pregnancy Association lists a number of potential reasons, including but not limited to the following:
- Several past pregnancies
- Past premature birth
- Too little or too much amniotic fluid in the uterus
- Unusual uterus shape
- Present uterine growths such as fibroids
- Placenta previa
- Pregnancies with multiples
To prepare for birth, a baby will often turn head-down in a healthy pregnancy. It is not until 35 or 36 weeks that baby may be noted to have a breech position. Before 35 weeks of pregnancy, it’s not unusual for newborns to be lying on their sides or even their bellies. However, as the baby grows and space becomes more limited, it becomes more challenging for the baby to spin and achieve the optimal position.
If your baby is in a breech position, your physician can feel it through your tummy. Additionally, an ultrasound will be performed both in the doctor’s office and the hospital to verify that the baby is breech before you give birth.
Different Types of Breech Positions
During pregnancy, your unborn child may assume any number of possible postures. Your infant should be laid head down to your back, with their chin tucked in against their chest.
Multiple birth positions are possible for a breech baby:
- Frank breech: the buttocks face the vaginal canal, with legs extended in front of the body and feet close to the head.
- Complete breech: the baby’s buttocks are pointed downward, and the hips and knees are bent.
- Footling breech: the breech position where the baby’s feet are pointing downward and will be delivered first.
- Transverse lie: a baby is lying across the uterus instead of head-down, causing shoulder-first vaginal entry.
Effects of Breech Position on Pregnancy and Delivery
Generally speaking, your pregnancy will be unaffected. Although the risk of some birth abnormalities is slightly higher for breech babies, the vast majority of breech births end up being perfectly healthy. You may notice subtle changes in your baby’s movements. The kicks from your unborn child will be lower in your abdomen. A firm mass may be palpable under your rib cage as this is the baby’s head.
A breech baby may throw a wrench into your preparations for natural childbirth. A normal vaginal birth might be difficult or even life-threatening when the infant is in the breech position. Your doctor may feel confident performing a vaginal breech delivery, but they will likely still prescribe a Cesarean section.
Is It Possible to Turn Breech Pregnancy?
You may need to discuss a C-section with your doctor, but there are still options for trying to turn your child. While the likelihood of turning success depends on the specific causes of a breech baby and whether it’s a complete, footling, or a frank breech, there is no harm in trying a safe procedure.
- External version (EV): during an EV, the doctor will try to turn the baby into the proper position by placing their hands inside your abdomen and moving the baby about.
- Essential oils: some expectant moms say they were able to get their babies to turn by rubbing an essential oil like peppermint on their bellies. This practice requires a doctor’s approval, as not all essential oils are safe for pregnant women.
- Inversion: inverting the pregnant woman’s body is another common practice to help a breech baby turn. Some women like to utilize the stairs, while others prefer to stand on their hands in the pool.
Some mothers will attempt to turn their infants from a posterior to an anterior position at home. There is some anecdotal evidence that they help, but no hard data supports that claim.
- Lie on the floor with flat feet and bent legs.
- Bring your pelvis and hips up to form a “bridge.”
- Stay in this pose for 15 minutes a couple of times daily.
- Relax for about 15 minutes in the child’s pose.
- Your uterus and pelvic muscles may feel more at ease.
- You can also move by rocking back and forth on your knees and hands or circling your pelvis.
- To help your baby turn, listen to music with a speaker or headphones placed near your lower abdomen.
- Try putting a cold compress on your tummy right above where your baby’s head will be.
- After that, put something warm against your lower abdomen.
If your baby is in the breech position, it is out of your hands. A breech position is not a reflection of the mother’s competence.
When to Seek Medical Help
Your doctor will likely be the one to inform you of the breech position of your baby. Have an open conversation with them about your fears and hopes for the breech birth of your baby. This should include the pros and cons of a C-section, what to expect during surgery, and how to get ready.
If you’re pregnant and suffer any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Severe contractions or cramps
The news that your unborn child is breech may cause you to worry about the upcoming delivery. It is only logical to be curious. Here are some examples of questions you might have for your doctor:
- How do I know whether my child is breech?
- Is it safe to turn my baby, and what are the potential risks?
- What birth options do I have if my baby stays in the breech position?
- If my baby is breech, what dangers do I and my child face?
Schedule Your Appointment!
You’re welcome to contact Advance OBGYN Institute for any questions and concerns you may have about your own or your baby’s health. Our facility is carefully designed to meet the unique healthcare needs of women, and we do so with compassion, respect, and competence. Furthermore, our commitment to providing you with the highest quality obstetrical care will ensure that you are constantly surrounded by the most qualified professionals in the field. We will keep tabs on how far along you are during your pregnancy to ensure you get the best treatment possible.