Breech baby

Mine is not! Any more! But he or she was stubbornly breech until last week, and I’d gotten the direction from my midwife to try everything to get him or her to turn before 34 weeks. I thought I would recap what I did (I didn’t feel the baby turn, so I really don’t know which one of these things worked–maybe a combination?) for anyone else going through this type of situation. I heard a lot of people say that I had plenty of time for baby to turn, but since I am planning an out-of-hospital birth at a birth center, I really felt the desire to eliminate drama around this birth! So, here’s what I tried:

1. Elevating my hips: three times a day, I propped my butt under a stack of 4 throw pillows and lay there for about 10-15 minutes at a time. This is NOT comfortable. The idea is that the baby is supposed to float up into mom’s ribs (lovely!), get uncomfortable, and move down. I felt a lot of rib jamming during these sessions, but I never noticed the baby change positions directly afterward. My breech packet from the birth center recommended doing this on an ironing board that is propped on a couch. I tried that once, but it just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t relax my leg muscles and round ligaments without falling off the board. And the more tense mom is, the less room baby has to turn.

2. Pelvic tilts: essentially the cat/cow pose from yoga, although you aren’t really supposed to do a deep cow when you’re pregnant. I did these after every hip raising session, and a few other times throughout the day just for fun. I never noticed baby moving while doing this, but it did (and still does) help to loosen up my lower back and my tight belly.

3. Acupuncture with moxabustion: This is probably the craziest thing I did, at least for me. I hate hate hate needles, so it took a lot (fear of a c-section, actually) to seek out the services of an acupuncturist. She put needles in my arms and legs. They pinched a little going in, but once they were in I couldn’t really tell they were there (except a few that had a heaviness to the area, which the acupuncturist said was the energy gathering around the needle). Taking them out hurt too, but as long as I kept my eyes closed while they were in, I did ok. I did two sessions of acupuncture and never saw a needle–key to surviving my needle phobia. Anyway, once the needles were in, she did two rounds of moxabustion. It’s supposed to have an extremely high success rate of turning breech babies (75%-90% from what I read) and involves burning a cigar-sized stick of moxa near the outside of the pinky toe. Yes, it is as bizarre as it sounds. It felt like she was holding my feet over hot coals, but the idea is to keep continuous heat on that point to encourage the baby to move. Baby definitely seemed to know something was up when the needles started going in, and I got a lot of movement during the moxabustion too. After the first time, I went home and took a long walk, and by that evening the baby’s head was the lowest it had been to date (by my right hip). By the next day though, it was right back up under my ribs. I didn’t notice major changes after the second acupuncture treatment.

4. Moxabustion at home: you can also do this yourself, sans needles. I did it every evening for 10 minutes on each side. I got less baby movement from doing my own moxabustion than I did from coupling it with the acupuncture.

5. Webster-certified chiropractic: I’ve seen my regular chiropractor throughout my pregnancy, but he is not Webster certified, which led me to seek out another one. The Webster technique works with the ligaments that support the uterus. He stretches my hip and butt muscles and also works on trigger points around the bottom of my uterus. He gave me several stretches to do throughout the day to help loosen up my hip flexors and round ligaments. All of this is supposed to make room for baby to turn and also helps with optimal positioning once baby is head down.

6. Other things: There are a lot of ideas on the internet about how to turn a breech baby, such as playing music and/or shining a light at the bottom of the uterus (didn’t interest our baby), placing a cold compress/ice pack at the top of the uterus to get baby to move away from it (baby didn’t budge), and speaking commandingly to the baby. Both Andy and my dad tried this–I don’t think it had much effect but it did make me laugh!

So that was my breech adventure. I’m glad to be done with that stuff and back to preparing for labor!

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