How to Turn a Breech Baby – Any Suggestions?

by jessicaturner on May 9, 2011

I went in for my 32-week appointment and learned that Adeline had turned – the wrong way! She is now head up! She had been head down for forever.

Because I have an anterior placenta, I can’t feel her little parts as easily as I could with Elias, so I had no idea.

We are praying every day that she turns because I do NOT want a c-section.

My sister is a mom and baby nurse and asked the doctor she works with how likely it was that Adeline would turn on her own – he said five percent. But he said that it was 70 percent likely that they could turn her manually since she is my second child.

I would rather she turn on her own and have researched some options. Some seem kind of silly, but I am willing to try anything:

  • Shining a light down by my pelvic bone
  • Playing music or having Matthew talk to her at my pelvic bone
  • Putting something cold (ie a bag of peas) at the top of my uterus
  • Crawl around for 15-20 minutes on all fours – I think Elias will be a fan of this

I also watched this video, which shows some of the aforementioned suggestions. Many commenters said that their babies turned after doing the exercises for a week or two.

Was your baby breech? Did you try to turn him or her? Would love your suggestions!



{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

kelly May 9, 2011 at 5:34 am

shining a flashlight worked for me. baby #3 was breech until 35 weeks. i faithfully shined the light on my every day for several weeks, one day i felt him move and was convinced he had flipped. sure enough, when i went to the doctor the next time he was head down and ready to go.

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Jen May 9, 2011 at 5:35 am

Don’t worry :) 8 weeks is plenty of time for her to turn back around all on her lonesome. But I would go with the all fours thing. When Cora was breach (at about the same point on the time line) that’s what I was told. Thankfully, I never had to have her turned.

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Shannon Hartman May 9, 2011 at 6:26 am

my first baby was breech. We tried some homeopathic things like Moxa and Pulsatilla. (we laughed so hard using the moxa!) Then we did a version at the hospital. Those things didn’t work for us but afterward it was found out that I had low amniotic fluid and the position of the placenta and length of cord would have prevented it. I am very glad I tried them anyway. Check out the homeopathic things. :) Praying she’ll turn soon!

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Becca May 9, 2011 at 6:46 am

You may have already found it, but check out spinningbabies.com
I’m 32 weeks, and at my appt. on Friday I was told our baby girl is head down, but that there IS still time for her to flip (and hopefully back again). I hope she turns around for you!!

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jessicaturner May 10, 2011 at 6:25 am

No, I have to check this out!

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Sara May 9, 2011 at 6:53 am

yes, my first and only was breach. I think he turned at 37 weeks to head up. Even my doctor wasn’t aware until my water broke and we arrived at the hospital. So I had an immediate c/s because most of my amniotic fluid was gone! I just wanted you to know I will pray she turns & my c/s wasn’t so bad, but I get why you wouldn’t want one! I hope these exercises work! What about acupuncture?

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Amber May 9, 2011 at 6:55 am

My baby was breech my entire pregnancy. At around week 34 he flipped from head up to transverse breech!! I had very low amniotic fluid and a non-common placenta placement so we didn’t try to have him turned at the hospital. He was born at 36 weeks and 4 days. The doctor advised against it because of the low fluid and he was having heart decels when I contracted. I know you don’t want a c-section and I will be praying you have the birth you desire. But c-sections aren’t all that bad. I was scared about it at first, but the most important thing was getting my baby out okay.

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Ginny May 9, 2011 at 7:41 am

My third child turned breach at 39 weeks. I didn’t want a c-section either. My doctor performed an external version and he was born three days later. My friends had me terrified of the version with all their stories of terrible pain. I started crying when the doctor came in to do the version and told her why. She told me if I had any pain from it, then she was doing something wrong. It was completely painless. If anything, it tickled. My third child weighed a pound less than my first two, so he had more room to flip around. Hugs and prayers for you, Jessica!

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Val May 9, 2011 at 8:45 am

My little girl turned on her own around 33 weeks… wishing you the same luck, Jess!

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The Mommy May 9, 2011 at 9:00 am

I hope that Adeline will turn before delivery and I’ll be praying that happens. I had (undiagnosed) vasa previa with my first child and had to have a crash c-section. The one thing that I was adamant about throughout my entire first pregnancy was NO c-section. I had it under general anesthesia and completely missed the birth of my first child, but there are so many things that are worse than having to have a c-section…just to keep things in perspective. :-)
(My second daughter was born by VBAC)

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Desiree May 9, 2011 at 9:07 am

My second was like this until the next apt for you 36ish weeks. My dr. suggested being on all fours and arching my back & then doing the opposite. I didn’t do it regularly, but even doing it a little my son turned. Good luck!

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Andrea Reyes May 9, 2011 at 9:21 am

My second flipped transverse 4 days before my scheduled induction. I did A LOT of the exercises, and I played music, shined the light on my belly, for those 4 days and by the time I went to the hospital for my ECV, he had turned, so they went ahead with the induction. GL and I’ll be praying for you that she turns!

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Jenn May 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

Oh the stress of a breech baby! My second was breech from about 32 weeks on. I did handstands in the pool :) I felt somewhat ridiculous but it worked, of course a week later she flipped back, I did eveything on the list, lying inverted on the ironing board on the couch made my heartburn so bad I wanted to cry, I did downward dogs, hands and knees, acupuncture. Around 36wks when they booked me for a manual turning at the hospital I started really stressing then I found a chiropractor in my area that does the webster technique, it was a really gentle hip adjustment and within 24hrs she flipped never to flip back again. I continued with the treatments just to keep my pelvis a “welcoming place”. I hope she co-operates and flips for you! I understand the stress completely, and in my opinion breach babies aren’t very comfortable either when they can get a foot on your bladder!

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Angela May 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

Jessica,

I don’t know much about breach babies but I know a lot about C-sections. I went through labor without pain medicine for three days just because I didn’t want a c-section with my first baby before finally having to succumb to the doctor’s recommendations. If she turns, she turns, don’t stress about the c-section. It is the same outcome. Healthy and happy baby, healthy and happy mom. Those are the most important things. I really didn’t think it was so bad. I was up cleaning our hospital room the next day before we had visitors. Everyone is different but I think it has a lot to do with your attitude! Obviously it is not your first preference but it really won’t matter much after you see that precious girl for the first time.

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jessicaturner May 10, 2011 at 6:24 am

I know. That still doesn’t have to make it my preference. :)

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alison May 9, 2011 at 11:01 am

have you heard of the webster method? chiropractors swear by it. It doesn’t involve manually turning the baby. I think it just opens up your pelvis to encourage her to move. http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/chiropracticcare.html

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Melissa May 9, 2011 at 11:35 am

I went to a chiropractor that specialized in the Webster Technique. Basically she just puts pressure on your round ligaments to stretch them. For me it worked after the second session. I am sure it doesn’t work for everyone, but the research I found on the technique said that it works much more often than having the baby turned by a doctor.

If it doesn’t work, C-sections aren’t as bad as you might think. Good Luck

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Erin R. May 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I haven’t tried it, but I’ve been told that accupuncture works.

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Lindsay May 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm

My first baby was breech so we tried an external version at the hospital at 37 weeks. Sadly, it didn’t work, but I’m glad we at least tried. Those things are a bit scary, however. There are LOTS of doctors in the room when they do it – so that alone scared me. But hey – SO worth it if it actually works. If anything, it may put you into labor and you just have your babe right then (that’s what happened to me)! C-sections aren’t the end of the world as many people think. I’ve had four – my 4th is 5 weeks old – and to be honest, it gets easier each time around. So don’t fret – either way you’ll have a precious baby out of everything you’re going through :-)

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Cara May 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Oh bummer! The good news is she still has plenty of time to turn back around…sounds like you’re getting some good techniques:)
I too definitely didn’t want a C-section…wanted to do everything natural with no pain meds, but I also knew that if I did, it would be okay and she would be here, no matter how she got here:)

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jessicaturner May 10, 2011 at 6:23 am

exactly. :)

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Sara G. May 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I do not have experience with a breech baby, but I did need to have a C-section for other reasons. Everything turned out ok! I know that so many moms don’t plan to have a C-section, but the recovery can still go smoothly. I wish you and Adeline all the best!

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Heather b May 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

i watched my best friend have an external version!! I’d rather have a c section than have that done to my body!! It was the craziest thing ever and her baby ended up turning back breech the next day! Hopefully she will turn in her own! She still has time! My daughter turned head down around 36 weeks!!! So theres still time!!!

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jessicaturner May 10, 2011 at 6:23 am

Thanks for the encouragment about the turning at 36 weeks.

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Kelly May 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

My second was Frank Breech (bottom down) at 30 weeks and she never turned back right. I tried everything I could and nothing worked. I eventually had to go to the hospital for the doctor to try and turn her by pushing on my stomach. This actually worked for 2 of my friends but not for me because she had already dropped. I would still suggest it though if your doctor thinks it’s a good idea.

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Rachel May 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Jess — we got Nathaniel to turn by having a chiropractor do the Webster technique. This was after doing handstands in the swimming pool, which my midwife suggested :-) — didn’t work for me, but that method DID work for another mom I know!

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jessicaturner May 10, 2011 at 6:22 am

I remember that now! Handstands worked for my friend Ann too.

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natalie May 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm

my little guy was breech for a couple months before delivery. he wouldn’t turn no matter what i tried…& i tried everything. ended up having a c-section…but it wasn’t a big deal. it was actually pretty easy. my second was side-to-side for the longest time, but decided to turn a week before i delivered…& i had a v-bac with her. both were wonderful experiences that i wouldn’t trade for the world.

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Steph May 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm

If it helps you, my son was breech and he decided to turn one week before he was born. He made me worry up until the last minute, hopefully your girl won’t make you wait that long.

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Kristin May 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm

My first baby was breech and we tried everything. I was determined not to have a c-section so at 37 weeks I went to the hospital and my doctor tried an ECV (external version). I will admit it was painful, but it worked! Hopefully the little one I am carrying now doesn’t do the same thing!

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Bethany May 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Bummer! My daughter (now 5 months old) was breach. I found at around 34 weeks. (She had always been head down previously. At our 20 week appointment, she had her head so far down and engaged in my pelvis that they were concerned about premature delivery). Thankfully, I delivered at 40 weeks 4 days, but had to have a c-section. She is my first baby. I was very disappointed and shocked to learn that she was breach. I tried everything I could after researching online. I went to a chiropractor for weeks for him to do the Webster technique. I used cold packs, music/talking at my pelvis, inverted myself off the couch, etc. I seriously tried everything! There were a few times when she’d almost flip herself around (especially after some chiropractic sessions and once at night when I had my hips propped up on pillows). Because of that, my doctor allowed me to go into labor naturally hoping that the contractions would help her to flip to a head down position. I was nervous about the external version procedure so we opted not to do that. The risks made me too nervous. I did not want to have a c-section at all especially since she is my first child. However, in the end, we know that everything happened the way it should. God is in control. We are thankful that she’s healthy and happy, and the c-section wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I’m still not 100% back to my normal self yet, but each day gets better, and her sweet smiling face makes everything better. Best of luck to you! I’m very excited for your family.

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LauraP May 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I didn’t have a breach baby, but I did have a c-section with my first, for other reasons. It sure wasn’t my first choice (especially since my sister in law seems to be a superwoman who has her babies early, without drugs, and very vast….I admittedly am a bit jealous of that!).

BUT, I do know that the recovery really wasn’t that bad, and they give you good drugs (even if you breastfeed) and I now have an adorable 2.5 year old!

Hoping to have a VBAC with # 2 – due in a few weeks – but it’s not looking that way. So, I guess it’s a c-section for #2 as well! If you do have to have a c-section, I should be able to give you some tips on recovery with a newborn AND a toddler! :)

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Kim May 9, 2011 at 4:26 pm

After two vaginal deliveries, I learned that my 3rd baby was breech at 36 weeks. The OB turned him at 37 weeks and he stayed until I went into labor at 38 weeks and two days. It was definitely worth having him turned not to have a csection with two siblings already at home.

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jenn May 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

hi! My first and third were both breech up until 38 weeks! I did all of the methods listed in your post. One that I did (that I hated but I think worked) was propping a ironing board (folded up of course) on the couch, and then lying on my back on it with my head at the bottom, feet up in the air. I did this for about 10 mins at a time a few times a day. Made me a bit nauseous but i think it worked! the other hting that helped was sleeping with headphones taped to my pelvis with nice, calm music. The babies both gravitated towards it. I also tried the flashlight thing. Who knows, just try it all! I ended up having 2 c-sections (out of 4 births) and I can tell you that it’s not the worst thing that oculd happen. Best wishes!

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jenn May 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

the c-sections were not the breech babies, btw!

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Renee May 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Will be praying that she turns on her own. My mom’s last baby (#6….I can’t even imagine as three is plenty for me!) was footling breech…..12lbs, 7oz…..born in a doctor’s office. It was very scary as they weren’t sure if he was going to make it but he just finished his freshman year of college and is skinny as a pole! Every baby and every delivery is a miracle. I think sometimes these things help us remember that and see just how much we take for granted. I’ll keep praying for you all. Hang in there….the end is in sight! :)

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Shana Harder May 10, 2011 at 12:04 am

I haven’t had personal experience with this, but I have a chiropractor that specializes in prenatal chiropractic and she turns babies all the time using the Webster technique. My advice would be to find a prenatal chiropractor near you.

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Felicia May 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I remember going through this with Davis! Luckily, he turned. I also did the crawling on all 4 thing as well as music down low (belly buds). A labor and delivery nurse told me to stand the ironing board up on the couch and lie on it. I never attempted it because it seemed tricky. You would definitely need help! Keep us posted!

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Katie May 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Good luck, I sure do hope she moves for you! I tried everything – but an inversion because my Dr. said that would compromise my vascular system too much, but mine never did :( and I ended up with a C section. Not the route I planned or wanted to go but a healthy happy baby is the end result everyone wanted and that’s what we ended up with. Sometimes they are just stubborn!

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Katherine May 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Chew on ice!!

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Traci May 11, 2011 at 9:59 am

Hey friend! Dr. Walkerwicz at Green Hills Chiropractic is certified in the Webster technique. I saw her for prenatal adjustments and loved her! They also have massage therapists on site.. maybe there are some acupressure points? I also have a friend who went to East Nashville Acupuncture for her breach baby. Praying Adeline turns on her own!!!

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Ange May 12, 2011 at 4:27 am

I have 7 children & our last baby was an undetected breach. The doctors couldnt decide if she was breach or not. ( i knew she was) & they didnt bother to do an ultrasound to double check her position & as a result I gave birth naturally to a breach baby after a quick 50min labour & had no problem at all.. Everyone is different though, but i am personally glad they didnt check, otherwise I’m sure i would’ve been booked in for a c-section. I hope she turns for you. Good luck :)

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Christy S. May 13, 2011 at 12:45 am

shining a flashlight and playing music worked for me. within a week or so of doing these things, my daughter turned on her own! admittedly, i felt a bit ridiculous propping my bottom up with pillows and shining a light on my nether region, but as silly as it sounded, it worked.

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Samantha @ Mama Notes May 13, 2011 at 1:44 am

Oh! My boy was transverse and I did flips and handstands in the pool and went to the chiropractor. It worked! Good luck!

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Sarah May 14, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Please check out spinningbabies.com! I think someone already mentioned it but I just wanted to second it. I am a nurse and aspiring midwife and the midwives I know all say that these techniques really work. She’s got research posted on the site, too. I think there are lots of helpful tips on there for getting baby into the best position for birth :-)

Best wishes! Praying that Adeline decides to turn soon and stay that way!

Sarah

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Janene May 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm

My third pregnancy we found out at 32 weeks that our baby was breech–after trying some of the above mentioned we finally went in to have the Dr. try through a version. It didn’t work due to my fluid being low–needless to say, she is our final baby and I did have to have a c-section. I hope something works for you!!

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Laura Anne May 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm

My friend’s baby was lying breech until about 38 weeks(!) and turned on their own. They actually spent time sort of on all fours, but I think there was an armchair/beanbag/pilates ball involved!

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blogaroni &dees May 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

With our first, we were planning a natural birth but ended up having a c-section. I’m so glad we did–the cord was wrapped around her neck twice and our dr never knew.

I had such a great experience that I had elective c-sections with #2 and #3! All three of them were transverse breach.

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Jennifer May 16, 2011 at 9:44 am

Look into a chiropractor who uses the Webster technique. Also look into acupuncture! They are both pretty successful methods! Good luck!

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Laura May 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I have been following you through Bloom and our pregnancies have been oddly alike! When you announced you were pregnant while beginning Sabbath, I had also just found out! We have an almost 3 year old son. I was unbelieveably sick for 15 weeks in the beginning, and now my baby is breech as well!!! I have been doing everything to coax this baby the other way. Thank you for your posts! I do not want a Csection either if we can avoid it, so I will be researching and trying all the things you mentioned as well. I will certainly remember to pray for you and your little one as we lift ours up too! Thank you for this post!

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Amy May 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

My 1st baby flipped constantly – she was breech & I was going to have the external version. I did the light shining, some pelvic exercises, and a whole lot of prayer. :) She turned around 37 1/2 weeks or so. That was very entertaining to watch. (My sister was/is my midwife (a CNM), so she was very helpful.)

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