Breech presentation

 

Breech presentation (bottom-first position) occurs if your baby cannot settle easily into a head-first position. If your baby is still breech after about 32 weeks of pregnancy, your options include vaginal breech birth, external cephalic version (ECV), in which the doctor attempts to turn your baby, or you may be advised to have a Caesarean if a normal birth is not possible.

There are natural ways to encourage a breech baby to turn:

Moxibustion

Moxibustion is the application of heat to an acupuncture point on your little toes, which links by internal energy lines to your uterus. The heat, from sticks of compressed, dried herb (moxa) stimulates energy which triggers hormone changes, slightly relaxing your uterus and
increasing your babys heart rate, helping him to turn to head-first. The procedure is best done at around 34-35 weeks and research shows it to be 65% successful. You can
do the procedure at home but please seek professional advice first.

Moxibustion is contraindicated if you are expecting twins or your baby is big, if you have vaginal bleeding, threatened premature labour, high blood pressure, diabetes or other major medical condition. If you have been told by your midwife or doctor that ECV is not appropriate, it is also not safe to try moxibustion. If you have had a previous Caesarean, moxibustion should not be performed because the scar on your uterus is a weak point.

You can purchase moxa sticks at www.acumedic.com but make sure you get moxa sticks specifically to turn breech babies (some types of moxa sticks are not suitable).

Homeopathic remedies

Pulsatilla is suitable for mothers in whom things keep changing (including your babys position). If your mood is up and down or you keep changing your mind about what you want, pulsatilla may work for you. It is the homeopathic remedy most commonly used to turn breech babies.

Natrum mur. is thought to regulate fluid balance and is useful for mothers who have problems in which something appears to be stuck in this case, your baby is stuck in the breech presentation.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic can be effective if you have lower back problems, or previous injury or surgery which could affect the size,shape or angle of your bony pelvis, preventing your baby from settling into the head-first position. Some chiropractors use the Webster technique to manipulate your spine and related muscles to free up some space for your babys head and allow him to turn. Avoid chiropractic if you are taking anticoagulants or aspirin.

Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis can help you to relax - if you are anxious about your baby being breech your abdominal muscles will be tense, affecting his chances of turning to a better position for the birth.

Even if your baby fails to turn to head first, the hypnosis can assist in preparing you mentally and physically for the labour and birth by relaxing you and helping you to remain in control.

Yoga positions

Resting on all-fours with your head down and bottom up may help, although research findings are inconclusive. Your elbows and forearms should be flat on the floor; your bottom above the level of your head - do this for 15 minutes twice a day. Use lots of padding under your knees and elbows, and empty your bladder before getting into position. Get up slowly afterwards, as you can feel rather dizzy. Do not try this if you have any medical condition or pregnancy complication, are expecting twins or need a Caesarean for another reason.

Precautions to complementary therapies if your baby is breech

  • Please inform your midwife if you are considering using complementary therapies to turn your breech baby.
  • Do not use more than one method at a time
  • Ensure your baby is still breech before you start any of the treatments. If you think your baby has turned, or if you have any concerns please speak to your midwife
  • Do not take raspberry leaf tea in pregnancy if your baby is breech
  • Do not use clary sage oil or other natural ways to try to start labour.
Expectancy is the definitive source of information on the safety of complementary therapies in pregnancy and childbirth, and offers advice and general information online and by telephone, and individual consultations and treatments in person. For further information, go to www.expectancy.co.uk.