Q: My best friend is getting ready to have her fourth child. She is just in her 35 week and found out the baby is breech. She sees an ob and has had hospital birth. They are going to try to turn the baby in 2 weeks if it doesn’t turn. What are her options? If she switches to a midwife will they legally be able to try to let her have the baby breech, or wait longer to see of the baby turns. She lives in KC (so could go to a Kansas or Missouri practice). What steps should she take from here to try and have a vaginal birth?

From Danae

A: Hi Danae, I am sure that you and your friend have done a lot of google searches, however, I’ll list a few things that can be done.

Version: This is what your friend is having done. Hands are placed on the belly to try to externally turn the fetus.

Exercises: Your friend can lay on her back with her hips raised in the air. I recommend using a few pillows. Some people used to recommend placing an ironing board on the 2nd to bottom step and laying with head lower than hips. I think using pillows is the better, safer, way to go.

Moxibustion: Research has been done about using this Chinese herb. The results have been positive. Here is a link to the research article:

If these do not work, your friend’s options are very limited. I do not know of too many midwives who would knowingly take on a new patient because of the breech presentation. I think that she should speak with midwives now as frankly and openly as possible about her situation. As for legality, every state has different laws but I don’t think there is a law about breech deliveries be it with an ob or a midwife.

The best hope for a vaginal birth is obviously for the baby to turn.

Good luck!
Hilary Prager

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I recommend visiting www.spinningbabies.com for exercises on turning the baby. External versions are risky and painful and don't mean the baby won't turn back to breech. Also, a breech baby now doesn't mean a breech baby at delivery. I'd urge her to find a midwife who would catch her breech baby at home. I would never sign up for surgery for something like that which is completely within the wide realm of normal.
What is wrong with giving Birth naturally to a Breech Baby - It has been done for donkeys years, and all of a sudden its classed as dangerous. I would leave baby how it is and let it come into the world the way it wants to be born, head or feet first. I think it is sad that people in general think that these things need to be messed around with.
Actually, I'd say the opposite. We do have midwives who do take on willingly breech birth clients. They are very well trained with dozens of breech births under their belt. I'd definitely look into local CPMs in your area and consider strongly homebirth. The midwife will decide if she is a candidate for home breech birth but make sure you find one with dozens of breech birth as her experience!

I have what I call a "game plan" for my clients with breech presentations. To-date, all of them have had their babies turn even as late as 40 1/2 weeks in pregnancy using this game plan. It works! I don't yet know how to use this message board so feel free to email me for a copy of it. Jessica@TrustingOurBodies.com

It is never illegal to have your baby at home or to choose breech birth. It may be illegal for a midwife to practice as a midwife in various settings as defined by your state laws but for the parents it is a fundamental right to choose where to give birth and to choose vaginal over cesarean. To know more about your childbirth rights, see them at www.ChildbirthConnection.com or read an empowering book especially Chapter 15 of Dr. Wagner's Born in the USA.

I hope this helps! All the best,
I would try to relax about it, babies turn even whie in labor. If you want to try a chiropractor: my current bb was sideways until i started going to mine. My previous was double footling breech twins (both were dbl foot) n as long as there was no pulling they came out just fine. No tugging on them when they are part way out either is safest. Standing was very helpful as well. www.moondragon.org has information with pictures of a dr approach to breech and a hands off. also your friend should read breech birth stories so she can learn what is normal including variations. Admittedely, I believe in unassisted homebirth and knowing how Ricki and Abby feel I will refrain from posting links to websites with further IMO valuable information that are strong supporters of UC. If anyone wants the links feel free to send me a message.
If she has had vaginal births with her other babies and this baby is not larger than her largest baby, along with baby either being a complete or frank breech, she should do fine! Basically if first stage of labor goes smoothly, second stage and delivery should be fine also. If first stage is hard, long and drawn out, second stage shouldn't be attempted vaginally... I have caught about 20 breeches and all have been easy and fine!

Margarett the Oklahoma Midwife
I was born a footling breech. I read that putting a radio [playing music]on your belly and moving it to the area you want the baby's head to move has worked for some women. This information seemed to be more anecdotal, but it can't hurt. I also read about a woman who would go to a pool and assume the position she wanted the baby to be in [head underwater] another anecdotal story--but once again, sounds harmless.
An ob's version has the slim chance of dislodging the placenta. There are safer things to do first.
The breech tilt exercise I teach is similiar to the ironing board technique, but a little different. Lying on the floor, with your feet by your butt, thrust your pelvis up about three times in a row, then shove stuff under your butt so you can hold that position for 20 -30 minutes. DO this on an empty stomach & bladder, please! Before meals and bedtime. WHile in this inverted position, rub your belly clockwise or counterclockwise depending baby's position, while talking to your baby. Added stimulus you can use is to put something cold (like a bag of frozen vege's) at the top of your uterus, and shine a light &/or play some nice relazing music down by your crotch.
Most of the time these measures work, if not, as others have mentioned There's the chiropractic Websters technique (for any malpresentation, not just breech!) acupunture & moxibustion, homeopathic Pulsatilla. If all these fail, theres probably a good reason why baby is still breech. I would rather get the baby turned by any of these safe effective means than to deliver a breech at home, but still think that's a better option than a C/S !
My son was breech and I had a scheduled C-section in July '07. With that being said, I went to church one day and there was a couple there that opened a birthing facility in the Philipines. They said they have delivered over 1500 babies and did not perform one C-section. In fact, I spoke with them after church and they said it is actually easier to deliver a breech baby than a head down baby. I still do not understand that, but that is what they said. I just thought it was interesting.
My second daughter (9 mths old) was breech after an ultra-sound tech abused me with a wand during a fetal heart echo at 24 wks and turned her breech. My daughter was frank breech and I tried the ironing board trick, soaking in our large tub and relaxed and pictured her turning around. I waited too long but I also went to a wonderful chiro who was very experienced with the webster technique but sadly I was one of a handful it didn't work on due to my daughter's bottom being fully engaged. If I had access to a pool and a very large swimsuit (ha!) I would have also tried handstands in the water with a helping hand. I have spoken with women that it has worked for.

I trusted my OB who had a version performed on her 3rd pregnancy and she was confident with the procedure as she had done many of them in her years of practice. At 37 wks I went in and was set up in the bed with a sono machine to guide the Dr and with IV's incase something went wrong I was able to go in for an emergency section even though my OB had never seen that before in her practice. After 10 minutes she was going to give up because my daughter was getting stuck 1/2 way around but then the resident instructed my OB to push up the bottome of my belly to get my daughters bottom up while she pushed on the top part of my belly to get her head down. It was wild and it worked! It was uncomfortable but no pain relief was needed - I just put a cold towel on my face and let them work their magic. I really wanted to avoid a c-section for me and my daughter so a few minutes of discomfort was totally do-able.

My husbands co-worker trained in Africa and they perform versions all the time and earlier in the pregnancy so the baby isn't as large but the lawyers have scared the OB's in this country so they will not touch you until 37 weeks.

I ended up having another vaginal birth at 41 weeks and couldn't have been happier!

Good luck to your friend. It's great you are arming her with any information you can!!
I did all the exercises and everything else (except Version). None of them worked for me, but Moxa totally did. In 3 days, my son was turned around. He flipped at 37 weeks.
I so agree, this is what has been working for my clients:

MIRROR NEURONS, the Mother Infant Connection: Pre-Cursor to language!

This past year my parents and I have been working extensively with Mirror Neurons.

I have both parents visualizing baby with the back along the left side, and head down during the last months of the pregnancy. Other than my one C-Section which turned breech in the last week, this has been the case!
That's over 100 births baby in correct position!

However many infants are born with the cord around the neck perhaps one or more times. It's not usually an issue with the midwifery care, as they simply slip it over baby's head and the birth continues. However, in hospital births with OB's and MD's they tend to clamp and cut instantly. This isn’t to baby's best interest or mom, as the placenta now retains much of baby's blood, baby doesn't get it, and it can cause the need for infant resuscitation as baby is now without it's oxygen back pack (the placenta) allowing baby to slowly breath on it's own after the birth, and causes the diagnosis of "low blood volume" in the infants chart.

So, using the concept of Mirror Neurons , I've been having my mom's see (visualize) baby - back along the left side, head down, and the cord "floating freely away from baby"

FIRST ONE IS IN! Worked perfectly....mom was delighted, (and the last ten have been the same NO CORD around anything)

The doctor cut the cord instantly, as was his way, nonetheless, the MIRROR NEURONS worked perfectly.


Have mom and dad visualize the cord floating freely away from the infant during the birth, then the cord doesn't get tangled. Through the last weeks of the pregnancy before the infant drops into the pelvis this is optimum. All mom does is hold an inner picture for more than 15 seconds of baby doing this.

The Mirror Neurons are at their highest level during birth and the weeks following as it's baby's key to survival knowing what it's mother is doing. This is in fact, how your infant has been learning all through the pregnancy and just how it will learn from mother over the next weeks, months and right up until about 2 years old. Then the mirror neurons begin to drop back, as language becomes the new communication.

My next 5 infants - the moms are doing the same, outcomes have been exactly as visualized!

OH and mom used the mirror neurons, sending pictures to the new born for quick latching on and nursing...he got it right away! It's good training for mom because this is exactly how her little one is going to learn her moods, and how to mirror them. It's how he'll learn how to comfort himself and how to ask for what he needs. It's the pre-cursor to language and baby's know just how to use it!

PS: If you want to have some fun with this, try it out on your animals. When our cat is talking and chatting around I just hold an inner vision of her 'curled up asleep" a few minutes later, that's just what she does.
Works even faster with our dogs! Trick is to hold the solid image of the doing what you want them to do.

Don't distract yourself or suddenly substitute images of them chasing and playing if you want them to sleep!
yes, works for kids too....now here's the thing, when you are trying to sit down to a hot meal, don't think about the foods, keep seeing baby ASLEEP!

Mirror neurons, mom is eating, me first!



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