If the baby is in a heads-down position during the days prior to delivery, he is said to be in a normal birthing position. The baby in a normal delivery marks a grand entry into this world by showing his head first. However, in some cases, the baby might not be in a heads-down position and might be having his buttocks, and feet towards the lowest point in the uterus. This is technically referred to as a breech presentation. Although, a breech baby is not a cause of extreme worry as most breech babies are born healthy, yet special considerations are required to birth a breech baby. In such a case, doctors usually try to bring baby in a heads down position by attempting to change the baby’s position externally. You must have vaguely heard about the inversion technique while giving birth then we is going to give you all the information you need on the process.
Why Does The Baby Go In A Breech Position?
There is no specific reason as to why a baby takes the breech position. A number of factors like multiples, an abnormally shaped uterus or the placenta, more or less fluid around the fetus etc. make the baby shift its position. A baby till about 35 weeks changes positions very frequently, and that is what mother’s perceive as fetal movements, but post that, sometimes, the baby is unable to change its position. This could be because of space and size issues, and that is why external efforts are used to change the baby’s position from breech to normal.
Some studies also connect the metabolic function of the mother to the fetal position, which is related to thyroid disorders. A baby may also take a vreech position if the umbilical cord gets wrapped around her, or the placenta is low lying and blocks the room for the baby’s head. Some experts also believe that having too tight or too lose uterine ligaments and muscles (twisted or torqued)may also be the reason a baby assumes a breech position.
When In Pregnancy A Breech Becomes An Issue?
A baby’s breech position is not an issue till the 30th week or so, and it is not considered an issue. Till about 32-34 weeks, if there are no physical limitations to the womb, breech is not an issue. However after that, it is suggested to encourage a heads down position to facilitate delivery. The journey of breech babies can be somewhat summed like this:
Most babies lie in a transverse lie position (diagonal or sideways) before 24-26 weeks of pregnancy
Most babies turn vertical between 24-29 weeks and some will stay breech
Between 30-32 weeks of gestation, most babies will flip
By 34 weeks of gestation, it is expected that the baby will be in a heads down position
ECV or external cephalic version may be suggested between 36-37 weeks
About 3-4% of full term babies are breech; term is from 37-42 weeks gestation
Who Can Help Changing Breech Position?
Though the technique in which your particular case is to be handled can differ, only allow trained people to take you through it. Here’s whom you can trust:
Doctors: The doctors will handle the situation by offering you a ‘version External Cephalic Version (Version) for Breech Position’. During this they will turn the baby manually with their hands. They will probably give you a drug called Tributaline to relax the uterine walls and prevent the placenta from detaching. They will do this under full medical supervision
Midwives They are trained in flipping the baby through external version. Though, it should be done under strict monitoring and upon the doctor’s advice only
Chiropractors They will suggest you the right pelvic exercises to flip the baby while at the same time maintaining your body balance
What Are The Techniques For Changing The Breech Position?
Well, your baby has the full liberty to spin and roam whichever way it wants to while in your tummy. The baby keeps changing its position when you sit, stand or lie down. Yeah, maybe he enjoys all the spinning but when it’s time for delivery if the baby is not in the right position it can be a hindrance to the natural birth process and force you to do for a c-section against your wishes.
ECV or External Cephalic Version
ECV or External cephalic version is a technique that, under appropriate medical conditions, and assuming you are fit for it, is used to turn a baby from a breech position to a heads-down position before the process of labor begins,
So, this technique of spinning a baby is all about getting your baby in the right position and ready for birth i.e its head coming out first instead of its buttocks – with help of a little bit of stretching and balance.
The Process of Version For Breech Position
First of all, clarify your medical conditions if any with your caregiver. Your doctor will assess your and the baby’s position and decide whether to go for a version or not. If the answer is affirmative, the doctor will administer you a tocolytic medicine like terbutaline and attempt to turn the baby’s position by holding your abdomen and placing one hand on the fetus’s head and the other by the buttock. With this, the doctor will attempt to push and roll the fetus to a head-down position.
You could experience discomfort as the uterine contracts in this procedure. The baby’s heart beat is constantly monitored, and the procedure will be stopped immediately if the heart rate seems to drop.
The caregiver may also try to make the baby’s breech position to change with the below steps:
The caregiver or helper will hold your shoulders as a support
You will be asked to slowly bring your knees towards the edge of the couch. Don’t rush into it, do it slowly
Relax your neck, belly and head. Brace yourself with your forearms
Hold the position ranging from 30 secs to 2 minutes (as long as you are comfortable)
Crawl forward from this position with your hands and knees
Sit up and relax
This is a traditional Chinese medicine wherein a moxa stick is used as an acupuncture. Usually, it is placed between the toes and burned, and ths should encourage your baby to turn position, breech (bottom first) to cephalic (head first). If nothing else, it will certainly make your baby move. Moxibustion is considered safe and does not harm the baby, but you must consult a registered, qualified acupuncturist, before trying it out.
How Can I Tell My Baby Has Changed The Breech Position?
If you are feeling strong kicks near the naval area then you can be sure that the baby has flipped into the right position. Another way of making sure is that you will fell heavier in the pelvis region.
Other Ways To The Flip The Position Of A Breech Position to Normal Position
Mobility: Many moms would agree that walking is an excellent way to flip the baby in the womb. Movement created in the pelvis while walking encourages the baby to be in the upright position by giving it more room to fit
Relaxation: Keeping calm is the key. The baby can very well sense the mother’s body. So if you are tensed, it will become tensed and may even turn to a breech position from a normal position sensing your tensed muscles. So, it is important to stay relaxed
Sound & Light Therapy: It is proved that babies respond to sounds in the womb. Talk to your baby and possibilities are that it will follow your voice and try to go towards it. Play some soothing music and place the recorder between your knees. You can even use a flashlight and flash the light starting from top of your belly to the pelvic region
Hypnosis Therapy Hypnosis therapy can help too
Hot/cold therapy: If you reside in a cold region or it is winters, try placing a warm water bag or bottle on the pelvic region, chances are that the baby will turn its head towards the warm area. The hot water bag will also help relax your muscles. Vice versa, keeping an ice pack on top of your belly will make the baby move away from it and towards the pelvic region
Try a Head stand in the swimming pool
Aroma Therapy: Rub almond oil on the area towards the baby’s back towards the side you want it to turn
If your doctor says your baby is in the breech position and needs spinning. Don’t be afraid, it is a common condition and can be taken care in the easy above mentioned ways.