My Baby is Breech; How Can I Get Her to Turn?

Your caregiver will diagnose breech presentation with an ultrasound. Image by jeinny

Your caregiver will diagnose breech presentation with an ultrasound. Image by jeinny

You’ve kept all your prenatal appointments, eaten right, developed a birth plan, and reached your third trimester of pregnancy. You are 34 weeks gestation.

When you see your midwife she tells you that the baby should be head down by now – but she isn’t. Ultrasound confirms the diagnosis: Breech presentation!

Your baby’s butt is in your pelvis, the most common type of breech. Rarely, the baby’s feet will present first. Sometimes a baby’s knees are bent with feet crossed, other times, her legs are straight up, with her little feet beside her face!

Breech Birth and Vaginal Delivery

Many professionals prefer a cesarean birth when your baby presents as breech, because of potential complications.

Doctors also will attempt a version, a procedure to turn the baby head down, if it seems reasonable to do so, before labor starts. A nurse will give you a sedative, and monitor your baby’s position, the whereabouts of the umbilical cord and the baby’s heartrate under ultrasound during the version, which you can expect to be uncomfortable. If the version is successful, doctors may induce labor right away; baby may not stay head down otherwise.

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If all that seems too much, take heart. You can have a vaginal birth even with a breech baby, although it is easier if it’s not your first baby.

Why Is My Baby Breech?

Although most babies will settle into a head-down position by 34 weeks gestation, a few don’t turn because of characteristics of the mother’s pelvis or the placement of the placenta. Breech presentation is also more common in twin pregnancies. A baby could even refuse to turn because of a short or tangled cord!

Although mothers are not to blame, there is a stereotype of very busy women who aren’t focusing enough energy and attention on their pregnancy. Very few mothers fall into this category – even when you are extremely busy, it’s hard to forget you’re pregnant!

Click to Read Page Two: Mom and Baby Communicate During Pregnancy

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