Thursday, March 19, 2009

Turning a breech baby

What if the baby is in a breech position? This is the baby in the postion where the bum in heading down towards the pelvis and the head is up.

Obviously this is not going to be a good position for baby or Mum. Trying to push the largest part of the body out first is not the way to go... So what can we do to turn the child?

There is a technique used by the gynaecologists/obstetricians that is pretty hectic for the child, called external cephalic version. This is when the doctor forces the baby around by pushing on the mother's belly. This technique is usually reserved until 34 weeks of the pregnancy onwards. This is performed in the hospital with a team on standby.

Another technique is the 'Webster technique' peformed by chiropractors. The idea is to help the pelvis open up (by working on the back of the pelvis) and avoid any torsion/ unequal movement from side to side, that may cause the baby to avoid lying in the head-down position.

But what can we do at home?
The idea here is to get the heaviest part of the baby - i.e. bum, to be nearer the upper part of the mother's body. Apparently, drinking a glass of juice before doing the exercises (but not so much to cause a full stomach) can increase the baby's movements. The baby likes the sugar high!

Exercises include:
  • lying on back with pillows under bum, therefore allowing the baby's bum to go towards to the diaphragm. Lie here for a long as you can at a time. If you get light-headed or get palpatations, stop.
  • on all fours doing 'cat stretch' - meaning arching back up, and then lowering buttocks towards heels and arms reaching out forwards. Again, the mother's chest will be lower than the pelvis.
  • kneel at the top of steps/stairs, slowly walk your top body down 2-3 steps and hold for 10 mins. In this position your upper body is lower than your pelvis
  • Swimming on front- frontcrawl and breastroke. Avoiding doing frog's legs for the days that the baby is still in breech position. Only do frog's legs once baby is in the right position and you want the child to head further into the pelvis.

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