HOW TO HAVE A NORMAL BREECH BIRTH
Breech position accounts for approximately 3-4% of all pregnancies.
In an ideal situation a baby is in a head down, anterior position for birth. This position allows for the easiest passage down the birth path for baby. It is how nature intended and most babies naturally gravitate to the ideal position.
Some reasons a baby is in breech position at term:-
(a) Anatomical this is rare but there may be an issue with Mum’s pelvis
(b) Multiple pregnancy twins, triplets
(c) Placenta praevia where the placenta presents first
(d) Amniotic fluid too much or too little
My observations, over many years, lead me to believe the main reason baby is breech is undiagnosed, unrecognised FEAR! If a woman is increasingly fearful, this causes her uterine muscles to tighten and there is less space for baby. Some theorise that the baby may also be wanting to get closer to Mum’s heart beat as he senses her fear.
The position of the baby is irrelevant until 37-38 wks. of pregnancy. The midwife should be able to feel this at a routine visit and palpation. It is also important to ask the woman how her baby is positioned? Women know. It can also be confirmed by ultrasound.
A baby in a breech position becomes an ‘issue’ for some hospitals/caregivers at around 37-38wks. as most babies have naturally corrected into a head down position by this time. However, it does not and should not be regarded as an ‘issue’.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Medical intervention for turning a breech baby involve an ECV (external cephalic version). Not all obstetricians are skilled in this procedure. Some older and more skilled obstetricians will attempt an ECV in clinic/rooms. Others will attempt in a Delivery Suite, under ultrasound and often with drugs given to ‘relax’ Mum. However I have successfully used hypnosis to relax a woman in this situation, therefore avoiding drugs for Mum and baby.
Natural interventions should include:
- doing nothing and trusting that this is the best position for this particular baby (for whatever reason), and knowing that some baby’s will turn in labour
- acupuncture has great results with turning baby
- encourage Mum to spend as much time in all-four’s position, crawling around floor etc. and less time lying on back
- chiropractic (webster technique)
- Homeopathic – Pulsatilla
Most effective method of turning a baby, and the least invasive is using hypnosis. This is especially useful for those women who have hidden fears. In some cases baby is in a breech position because of the tension that the mother holds in the lower area of her body. It has been observed that anxious and fearful women have a higher incidence of breech presentation than do others, due to activating sympathetic mechanisms that result in tightening of the lower uterine segment. ( Ref. Dr. Christiane Northrup, MD, her book ‘Women’s bodies, Women’s Wisdom’).
Hypnosis releases fears and anxieties from the sub-conscious mind.
Every woman should have the option of having an enjoyable, safe breech vaginal birth. Unfortunately these days there are not many obstetricians who have the skills, knowledge or confidence in supporting this. If baby is in a favourable breech position, i.e. frank breech where bottom presenting, this is the best option. Some hospitals/caregivers call a normal vaginal breech birth an epidural and forceps to the aftercoming head. This is not ‘normal’.
A doula can help a woman shop around for an obstetrician/midwife/hospital who will support ‘normal’ vaginal breech birthing. I supported a woman recently who birthed beautifully on a mat on the floor, surrounded by candles, music and a wonderful belief from her support team that she would birth her breech baby, normally and she did!
Top 5 tips to ensure an enjoyable birth no matter the position of baby:
- Shop around for caregiver, place to birth, early in pregnancy.
- Employ a doula research shows having a doula will reduce the need for medical intervention by 70%
- Book into a prenatal course that empowers a birthing woman and her partner, e.g. Inside Birth® – Inside to Outside – learn how to change your thoughts to create a beautiful birthing experience for you and baby.
- Hypnosis eliminates fears, anxieties and explores the mind/body/baby connection, and is a powerful tool throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond. So find a hypnotherapist who understands labour and birthing.
- If baby is breech, stay calm, talk to your baby and tell him to turn. If other natural methods have not been successful, then accept the breech birth and find a caregiver/doula who will support you in what you want.