Berkeley Parents Network
Google Custom Search
Home Members Post a Msg Reviews Advice Subscribe Help/FAQ What's New

Breech Baby

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Pregnancy & Childbirth > Breech Baby


Questions Related Pages

Vertex/breech twin births

Sept 2006

Hi twin parents, I'm 23 weeks pregnants with twins, and I have a question about OBs. I am currently seeing a doctor at Alta Bates whom I really like, but she says that unless both my twins are vertex (head down), she won't attempt a vaginal delivery. I have heard from two professionals (a doula who has attended multiple twin births and an OB nurse at a hospital in Walnut Creek) that some doctors will allow you to try a vaginal birth as long as twin A (the one positioned to come out first) is vertex. They tell me that this is rarely results in the dreaded vaginal twin A followed by C-section twin B. Frequently the second baby turns by itself once the first one is out, or it can be turned by manual manipulation. If the second baby does not turn, a breech extraction can be performed. I have two questions: Can anyone share their experiences with a vertex/breech twin birth? And does anyone know an OB in or near Berkeley who is comfortable with a vaginal delivery when only the first twin is vertex? Thanks twin mom-to-be


Hi -- I had vertex/vertex twins, and my OB/Gyn Bill Isenberg (at OB/Gyn Partners for Health-- across the street from Summit Hospital) was all for vaginal birth if Twin A was vertex. She was, and remained so until delivery. (I wound up with a c- section after a failed induction, but that's another matter entirely!). I loved Dr. Isenberg, and loved his non-alarmist approach to my pregnancy. He did say that an epidural would be advisable/necessary in case he wound up needing to do a breech extraction of Twin B (even if they are vertex initially, when Twin A is out, there is so much ''extra'' room in there that even a vertex baby can turn breech). Anyhow, if you are thinking of changing OBs at this stage, and your insurance permits, I highly recommend Dr. Isenberg. Jo
You may try Arzou Ashan. While caring for me/my twins a couple years ago, she said she would try to deliver both my twins vaginally and knew of some methods to attempt to turn twin B around. She recommended that I don't ask a doctor to go out of his/her comfort zone, should she not be at the delivery. Dr. Ashan actually didn't deliver my twins, a colleague did, Dr Nan, who massaged my abdomen until my 2nd twin turned around to be delivered. Anon
As a labor and delivery nurse, I have seen successful vaginal births such as yours occur. I would transfer care to a physician who is willing to do a vaginal breech birth or allow your baby to turn, once more room is made by the delivery of baby #1. Dr. Bill Isenberg is well versed in these kind of deliveries and may be the person you need to speak to. Good luck. His office number is (510) 893-1700

OB who will do a vaginal breech delivery

June 2006

I need recommendations for OBs in the area (east bay, sf, etc.) who can still do a vaginal breech delivery. I'm only 34 weeks pregnant but it's getting close and I want to plan ahead as much as possible, just in case. I've read past comments/ recommendations, so please don't email me if you are just going to say that baby's health comes first, etc. I am aware of that but also know that a planned vaginal breech, under the right conditions, is just as safe if not safer than all of the c- sections they are performing ( http://valleybirthnetwork.wordpress.com/2006/05/24/vaginal-delivery-of-breech-baby-safe-under-specific-circumstances/ ). What I need is a competent OB who knows how to do a breech delivery (most OBs nowadays don't know how, so that in itself is a risk). I've been doing everything I can to try and turn the baby, too. Thanks in advance for your help! 2nd time mom


You might want to try Dr. Randy Kunhardt. He has an office in San Pablo (delivers at Doctors Hospital, I think) and in Larkspur (delivers at Marin General). He is very amenable to letting the mother guide the birth and he will talk to you about the options. He will do whatever he can to avoid a c-section without putting you or your baby at risk. I decided to try an external version at 35 weeks, and he did it within 15 minutes of me arriving at the hospital. The only pain I experienced was on the skin on my belly from the pulling. Ouch Kunhardt patient
Last year, I was pregnant with twins, and one was breech. I found out that if a breech baby is over 7 pounds, very few, if any, OB's will attempt a vaginal birth. I also was told that the OB's who are older are more likely to be taught and practiced in the art of breech births. Hilary
Madelyn Kahn--CPMC San Francisco. I am a former patient of Dr. Kahn's. I remember from a past conversation that she said she does deliver breech babies. She is a great OB/GYN too! Good luck! T
Dr Hank Streitfeld (private practice, delivers at Alta Bates but I don't know if elsewhere). I found him through BPN where he had excellent reviews. He is a veteran OB who is trained in and will do breech deliveries. I had twins and he was willing to even deliver a breech twin. Luckily baby b turned around. He won't make any guarantees but if anyone can do it he can. You can read more about him on the BPN site. (510) 644-0110 ~ Another Dr Hank Fan
The only place I know of around here that (at least as of 2-3 years ago) is willing to do vaginal breech delivery is UCSF. I did have a friend of a friend who had a vaginal breech delivery there 2-3 years ago. The baby needed life support for the first day and was in the NICU for about a week. However I don't know if those problems were due to UCSF's level of competence and experience with vaginal breech or other factors

Breech babies -- do the excercies work?

May 2006

I'm 35 weeks pregnant with my first baby and the baby's still laying sideways! I REALLY want to avoid a c- section so I'm trying the excercises my doctor recommended (propping up pelvis, laying on the floor with my rear in the air) and I'm wondering if anyone has actually had them work. Has anyone tried anything else that worked to turn their baby? I'm willing to try anything! Thanks Hoping my baby turns


My 5 month old was a breech baby. On my midwife's suggestion, I tried exercise and accupressure (nothing worked) but finally I had to turn the baby externally ( external version). I was very worried and stressed before, but it took only 5 seconds to turn the baby. The entire process takes longer than this because they monitor the baby before and after. The process wasn't painful at all.

I was very worried because I only read postings from those who had bad experiences with turning. The doctor told me that usually it's easy if the baby is going to turn (1/2 of probability). I highly recommend Dr. Janet Goldman(n) of east bay prenatal.

Just relax and try as much as you can. If nothing works, you can still have your baby safely by C-section. I was so worried because like you I did not want C-section, but anxiety didn't help the baby turn. I've heard that sometimes babies don't turn because their mom is under stress. My labor already started when my advisor signed my ph.D thesis. I delivered my baby early next morning. External version worked


My son was ''footling breech'' at around 33 weeks. OB was a bit alarmed. I did the exercises. He turned a few weeks later, although I can't say that the exercises are what did it. I also saw my very skilled yoga instructors working in the prenatal class with an expectant mom who was trying to get her baby to turn. You might want to check that out if yoga is for you. anon
I had a breech baby up until about 37 weeks...I did ALL the traditional suggestions. I lay on a tilt table upside down for 20 minutes a day (much more comfortable than laying on the floor, gets a better tilt as well - you can use an ironing board tilted on the couch if you can't find a tilt table), I took homeopathic medicine (can't recall what though...got it from my midwife), I went to several sessions with a chiropractor for the ''webster technique'' (went to Elon Bartlett in Berkeley) and went to an acupuncturist as well. Since I was trying anything and everything I'm not sure what did the magic but something worked at the very last minute (my son was born a few days after he flipped into position). Good luck! Amy
I put ice packs on my tummy on top of my sideways baby's head and she turned head- down. Perhaps she would have turned anyway, but it's harmless enough to try. Baby flipper
I guess we'll both see in the next few weeks if these exercises work as my baby is still breech too. However, we had a long talk about this with our midwives yesterday (we're hoping to have a homebirth but can't if it remains breech.) They were saying that besides sitting/laying with my hips higher than my back that there are several other things we can try before trying an external manipulation at 36 weeks. One was simply to think ''head down'' everytime I think of the baby, to imagine in my mind seeing it turn, and for my husband to talk to it near my pelvis instead of up near my chest. They said some people shine a flashlight down near the pelvis because babies can see and react to light now. They also said that in 2-4 weeks (I'm a few weeks behind you) they can recommend some acupuncture and homeopathy that has seemed to work for others, although I don't know the specifics on this yet. Finally, they said that breech births don't have to automatically mean having a c-section, depending on what type of breech it is. They said if the feet are first, that is the more dangerous type of breech, but the butt-first breeches aren't that much more risky than head down, you just have to find a doctor willing to try it. (And they said that's less risky than a c-section which has a 4x higher maternal mortality rate than a vaginal delivery.) Supposedly there's a good one at UCSF, Dr. Pear (not sure of the spelling), an Englishman, who regularly does vaginal breech births with no problems. They say that in most other industrialized countries, the doctors have very good success attending vaginal breech births but the problem here is that doctors are scared of them and don't try them so they don't have experience with them. Good luck! Ann
My daughter was breech & I managed to turn her using the upside-down method. I put headphones on the bottom of my tummy & played soft music & lay on the floor while I have my hips & legs up on the couch. I think my acupuncturist may have also done some treatment (it was 4 years ago!) to help out. At any rate, by her due date she had turned head-down. So it does work sometimes, though I've heard some babies manage to flip back to breech again after turning! Good luck! valerie
best of luck with this! i know it was extremely stressful for my family when we found out i had a breech at the end of 36 weeks. i was at an amazing birth facility that was going to let me attempt the vaginal breech, but when my water broke a week later, and nothing happened for two days, i ended up with surgery.

i did try two versions. they are extremely painful. neither worked. i also tried the acupuncture (moxibustion) which was also unsuccessful. i did end up finding out there was a reason for the breech (bicorunate uterus) which was a little bit of relief for me. but try the exercises! i did more swimming that week that i had in years. just keep in mind there may be a reason for it. i did have a friend who was breech at the same time and her version was successful, so it is definitely something to consider. breech mommy


My first child was breech and I found out around 34 weeks. I layed on an ironing board, did acupunture (moxibustion), and other various things. I considered an external version, but my husband and I were frightened by the possible risks. Ultimately I felt that my daughter was not going to turn and I accepted the reality of a c-section. I realized that her health was most important and a c-section is just as beautiful a birth as a natural birth. I just had my second child via c-section and had a wonderful experience. I healed so incredibly well from both births. I know that sometimes the positions and moxibustion do work; I guess only if your child was meant to turn! Good luck with your birth...it will be beautiful either way! Nicole
I missed the original post, but I wanted to say that I learned my first baby was breech at 34 weeks, and despite my efforts, she never turned. I tried lying on a tilted board head down, moxibustion, accupuncture, frozen packs on the top of my belly, music near my pelvis, and all sorts of combinations of the above. I also tried an external version -- it did not work. I remember that each new person I consulted told me that the baby would definitely turn, which added to my frustration that the baby didn't, so I just wanted to let you know that yours may not, and that it's perfectly fine if s/he doesn't. I had a c- section, which wasn't my first choice, but it turned out fine. Birth is such a small part of bringing a new person into the world. never turned
Oh, how I remember scouring the archives to find out the same answer! I tried everything too, as did many of your other respondents - moxabustion, acupuncture, Webster technique, frozen peas on my belly in the hot bath, yoga, slant board many times a day, meditation, even a musical jam session where we all focused on ''turning'' him and played tunes accordingly (one of the most fun, and probably least effective methods I tried!). I truly felt that moxabustion was the most effective, since I could feel the baby be very active almost immediately when holding the moxa stick to the side of my baby toe nail. It was amazing, but still, baby didn't turn. And then the morning I was scheduled for an ECV, my water broke instead, and within two hours when someone finally examined me I was fully dilated and wanting to push..I had to be rushed into a C- section. I felt very fortunate that I got to experience labor, and it was good for my little one's lungs. I had low-ish amniotic fluid and was being monitored for that towards the end, and am a small person, so maybe that had something to do with it being hard for my stubborn little prince to turn. But, what I want to say most of all is that having a C-section was my worst, worst fear, and it turned out to be truly not scary at all, with pretty easy recovery. It didn't cross my mind to freak out on the operating table as I had feared, and seeing my baby was the most amazing thing. The worst part was not feeling my legs for a few hours afterwards, but I was still breastfeeding immediately after and my baby never left me from the time they wheeled me into the recovery room (this was all at Alta Bates on Ashby). Please try not to stress too much - if your baby doesn't turn, there is probably some good reason for that like the shape of your uterus and cord around his/her neck. One psychodynamic interpretation is that baby is trying to stay close to momma's heart to comfort her (I made sure to try to release my baby from any need to care for me psychologically too, though I didn't buy too much into this interpretation!) But, whatever happens, it will all still be ok! Now I'm pregnant again, so we'll see how this one ends up! -Happy Mom of a Silly Stubborn Baby Who Just Wouldn't Turn, Who Is Now a Silly Stubborn Adorable Toddler

Breech baby at 33 weeks

July 2005

So, I'm at 33 weeks now and my little baby is practically standing up in my belly. My doctor's giving it a 50/50 chance of him turning before 37 weeks, at which time we decide to either turn the baby manually (which I understand is neither pleasant nor particularly effective) or schedule a C. I'd like to hear from other women who were in similar situations. Did you try having your doctor turn the baby--and did you have any luck? Did you try acupuncture? Standing on your head? Doing somersaults in the pool? Sleeping upside-down on an ironing board propped up against the couch? (I've heard it all.) Lisa


My daughter was breech and I tried chinese medicine and two versions but she never turned and I ended up having a C section. (I thought the C section was just fine and the recovery didn't seem bad.) One thing my midwife suggested: after the chinese medicine and first version attempt didn't work out, my midwife scheduled my c-section for 39 weeks (before my water broke). On this date, the doc gave me an epidural, and then tried to do another version attempt on the operating table. It didn't hurt me at all because of the epidural so they could push really, really hard to try to turn her. Had my daughter turned I would have gone home after the epidural wore off and waited for natural labor. She didn't turn, so I had a c- section right then. Good luck! Definitely try the versions... it hurts a little bit but not that bad and they'll stop pushing when you ask them to stop. happy mama
My baby was breech at 37 weeks and I had the external cephalic version procedure at 38 weeks. It was not successful (she had dropped a day or two before) but it was not uncomfortable. It was like a very firm massage, and I experienced slight soreness similar to light bruising afterwards. I was nervous, but the doctor who conducted the procedure told me if it hurt, it was being done wrong and to let him know. An ultrasound and fetal monitor were used throughout the procedure.

I've heard of success with acupuncture, however we had an arduous time getting to that point and decided not to do any procedure off-monitor, given the risk of fetal distress in turning with little room left in the uterus.

I did have a scheduled c-section and my daughter was born with her legs around her ears. It would have been a very difficult birth with greater risk to her and to me.

At the time, I was very disappointed to miss the vaginal birth, but 6 months later, we have a healthy, happy baby and no regrets. Ultimately, the healing process from the c-section wasn't that bad. Good luck, whaever you decide to do! Been There


My son was breech, too, and I had wanted a drug free vaginal delivery. I had one session of acupuncture, followed by moxibustion which I did at home every day. It involved placing an herb between the toes, lighting it, and letting it get a little hot before removing it. I tried talking to the baby, asking him to turn, and I tried gently pushing on him while being in a tilted position. Then, I got really desperate and had the doctor push on him, but he would not budge. By week 37, he still hadn't turned, so we ended with a c-section at 38 weeks. Even though I really wanted a natural birth, I felt that it was overall safer to have the surgery than to risk brain damage (or worse) from hypoxia. I keep wondering if he would have flipped on his own, though,if given enough time, since I've heard they can do that quickly when they're finally ready. Right now I feel like I did most of those things out of sheer desperation, but that it really is up to the baby, and may depend on his physical environment. I know the cord was wrapped around my son's neck when they took him out, so maybe that was why he wouldn't budge when they pushed on him earlier, and maybe that was why he couldn't move on his own. Susan
Hi - I went through your exact situation. My little girl was found to be in a frank breech (legs up, head up) position at 34 weeks or so.

I did it all, acupuncture, chiropractic and the evenutal ''version'' - the doctors turning the baby which was successful, my little one stayed head down until I went into labor. I really, really wanted to avoid a c-section. In the end, she never ended up dropping down properly into my pelvis and I had to have a c-section anyway. I don't know if the version screwed up her natural ability to drop or what.

It's a very stressful situation to go through particularly because there are fewer and fewer doctors that even know how to deliver a breech baby and depending on where you are there might not even be one. Which makes it's particularly nerve racking should you go into labor and move quickly, ie the baby starts to come before you're even in the hospital.

If I had to do it all differently I would have done the acupunture and chiropractic hands down. They both made me healthier and more ready for labor and they made me much more able to move around toward the end of my pregnancy when I was very big and heavy.

I would not have done the version. I would have waited until the last possible moment for her to turn because in retrospect I think she was going to turn, but wanted to do so in her own time. Versions are old mid-wife tricks, and my doctors were totally great. The other draw back for me was that I am RH negative and I needed to get another shot of Rogam (sp?) after the version. In the future I really want to avoid getting that many shots of Rogam because it is a vaccine and it does contain harmful ingredients.

I'm not sure I would have ''scheduled'' a c-section just because if it's your first baby, the odds weigh heavily on you having a long labor and delivery in which case you can make it to the hospital and allow your baby to go through some labor. There are many benefits for the baby and you in going through labor. But time is of the essence when your baby is breech. So long labors aren't beneficial for a breech baby. hope that helps. from breech to c-section


From all of the research that I have read, the success of having the OB/GYN turn the baby is less than the success attributed to acupuncture- go figure! My bet is for the acupuncture, less stressful for both of you, and if it does not work, you can still try to have the M.D.s do it. I do not know about the other methods you have described. Good Luck and best wishes for a healthy baby, however he decides to come out. c-section mommy
Dear Breech, My daughter was breech and I opted not not have her verted. I was afraid of the pain and just ''knew'' she'd turn on her own once I stopped working and had some time to relax. I did try acupuncture and moxie(?) - which didn't work for me. I ended up having a CSect. In retrospect, I wish I had tried to have her turned. I was able to have a VBAC with my second. I thought the vaginal birth, tho painful, was a fabulous experience. I am so glad I got to push my baby out rather than have her ''delivered''. Personally, I think it's worth it to try everything you can to avoid a CSect (it's also harder to get your stomach muscles back after being cut). If your baby turns back up, at least you'll have tried everything possible. Good Luck and I wish you a Wonderful Birth Experience no matter what you decide.
My first baby was breech and I tried almost everything. Accupuncture, standing on my head, sommersaults in the pool, lying almost upside down, etc. I decided against the manual turning because I kind of figured that there must be some reason she was moving so much and not turning. Turns out there was! When they did a detailed ultrasound they found that the cord was wrapped around her neck and if she turned she'd have strangled herself. So, c-section it was and it was totally fine and actually a very positive experience. There really were a lot of benefits to have a c-section and my recovery was not too much worse than some of my friends who delivered vaginally but had tears and burst blood vessels. Hope this helped! Lynn
In the last trimester of my first pregnancy my yoga enthusiast brother in law suggested I do a modified shoulder stand against the wall, with help from another adult to get in position, in order to turn a breech baby. The first time I got in this position, I felt the baby turn. It was incredible. Good luck to you. sarah
I had a baby almost exactly a year ago (7/29/2004). He was breech right up to about 38 weeks. We found out about the breech at about 37 weeks, and promptly scheduled a version (manually turning the baby from outside). But I scheduled the version for about 10 days later, at really the latest possible time recommended (if you wait too long the baby is too big to turn).

I then spent in the intervening time trying to get the baby to turn via other methods. I had acupuncture (Laural Brody, since retired, sorry). I also laid upside down on a slanted board, with a bag of cold peas on my tummy (where the head is, to get the guy to turn around), a radio between my legs (they say they will turn to hear the music), and moxibustion burning on my little toes. And did I feel a bit ridiculous? Yes. Also, it is damn hard to get in and out of that position when you are 9 months pregnant. It was physically impossible for me to put the moxibustion on my toes myself; my husband had to do it. So, I did this almost every night for a little over a week. The day that I went in for my version, the baby had not turned. But, .., when the doctor came in to do the version, he barely had to touch me. He felt for the baby's position, then gave one little nudge, and whoosh, he was turned around. Really, it did not hurt at all, and it was over in about 15 seconds. I was still waiting for it to start, when the doctor told me the baby was already turned around. Everyone there -- my midwife, the nurse, and the doctor, were all amazed at how easy it was. (FYI, this was at Alta Bates and the doctor was someone I never saw before or since who was with East Bay Perinatal, I believe. The midwives and nurses say he has magic hands for these versions. Sorry I cannot remember his name.) So, my personal theory is that all the other stuff I did, while it did not actually make the baby turn, laid the groundwork, as it were, so that the version was quick, simple and completely painless. The baby stayed turned, and was born vaginally about 2 weeks later. Viola. Do not be scared.

Chances are the baby will turn, either on its own, or with a version. Worse case scenario, you will have a c-section. But both you and your baby will be well, which is what is important. Kim


My baby was also breech. My doc said to go ahead and try every wive's tale there is and to definitely do acupuncture (which successfully induced baby #1). The acupuncture (by Carla Dalton in Berkeley) caused lots of activity but the baby did not turn. We also tried the doc doing a version (think I am spelling that right) which was horribly painful and did not work. I know lots of women for whom it has, however. When we finally did the C, she was totally stuck and they had to practically wrestle her out. So basically nothing would have worked and it was not any failing of the things we tried. So I would say go ahead and try everything--it is worth a shot. If the baby is able to turn than one of those methods may work. And also remember that that baby may turn on its own. Good luck! Elizabeth
Hi, My daughter is now 3 months old, and when I was 36 weeks we found out she was breech. I reluctantly made an appointment for a version a week later and in the mean time tried EVERY other means of turning a breech baby including all the ones you mentioned. Well... she wasn't about to budge and I did go in for the version. No, it wasn't fun, but I have to believe that it was more fun than recovering from a c-section at least. Mine was successful and she stayed down, although she was a difficult labor and delivery because she was face-up. My friend also had a breech baby and just tried standing on her head in the pool and then coming up for air quickly. That worked for her so it's obvious that every pregnancy is different. Good luck, CB
I would try ''asking'' the baby to turn mentally/emotionally. If that didn't work, I'd try moxibustion (something an acupuncturist can do). If neither of those approaches worked, I would try every other thing in the book! There are numerous websites with suggestions (just google ''how to turn a breech baby''). If nothing works, start looking for a midwife who has experience with breech deliveries. Many do, and breech vaginal birth can be quite safe. Suprisingly, obstetricians routinely delivered breech babies vaginally until the 1970s, when C-sections became more ''convenient.'' Have faith, statistically, your baby should turn around the closer it gets to being full term. At this point in pregnancy, about 25% of babies are breech, while only 3-4% remain breech at full term. Someone who knows about breech babies
My daughter was breech and I tried it all. In the end nothing worked and I had a planned C-section. I was very disapointed when I found out, but in the end I had a healthy baby and was happy. I don't know what the statistics are on success with accumpuncture, ironing board, upside down pool posture (which was not easy) but I did try it all. Best of luck. Gina
I also had a footling breech, except we discovered it at 39 weeks. It sounds like you still have time for that baby to move. First we tried Acupuncture, the chinese doctor did moxabustion on my pinky toes. It felt like the baby was trying to move, but he didn't have room. The dr. showed my husband how to do it, and we did several more sessions unsuccessfully. We also tried tilting and handstands in the swimming pool. Unfortunately, my midwife gave me only two days to try getting the baby to move on our own before gettting the baby manually turned by a doctor at Alta Bates. When we got to the hospital, the admitting nurse asked us if we wanted to stay and be induced if the process did work. I refused, because I really wanted to go into labor on my own if we could get the baby to turn. Then the doctor came in and told me that it doesn't work very often, and it could be traumatic for the baby and did I want to schedule a c section instead of taking that risk. I felt like we had to try, and if I had to stay and have a c section then that's what had to happen. But if there was still a chance to have a vaginal birth- I wanted it. Well, it worked. It was painful, but not like childbirth. It caused the baby to drop the next day and I went into labor immediately. I went on to have a natural childbirth. I'm glad that I chose to have the external version and didn't schedule a c. michelle@variablemedia.com
Hi, I, too, had a breech baby, and she never did end up turning. (I attempted a breech vaginal delivery at UCSF but ended up with a c-section). We tried EVERYTHING, from home remedies to alternative treatments to an eventual external version, but nothing worked. My advice, though, is to try all that stuff NOW, while your baby is still small enough that it has room to wiggle and move. We kept being reassured that most babies move on their own, and by the time the doctors took it seriously, she was too big to budge. If you decide to have an external version there is some risk to the procedure, and there's an outside chance that something will go wrong and you'll have to have a c-section right then. Therefore, doctors want to wait until the baby is full-term-ish (I think I had mine at 37 or 38 weeks). But the flip side (excuse the pun) is that by that time the baby is big and doesn't have much room to move. My personal theory is that there are two kinds of breeches: one kind where the baby flips and wiggles all over the place, which may make it easier for them to turn, and the second kind, which my daughter was, that stays put in a breech position and never budges. Who knows why, but my daughter liked being head up, and that was that. Anyhow, I'm sorry I'm not offering much useful advice, but I wanted you to know that you're not alone, I swear breech babies occur more than the official statistics, and I urge you to start all those turning techniques ASAP, while the baby is small. Good luck! BreechMama
My baby was breech. I think the doctor know it at my 34/35 week appointment. At the 35/36 week appt, she did an ultrasound to confirm. I was then scheduled at 37 weeks to do an external version. I was freaked out and did some research. I did moxibustion (burning chinese herbs on the acupressure/acupuncture point for moving baby) and laid with my head down and hips up. Nothing helped. I found a great journal article on the internet to give me confidence that the external version will not hurt my baby. So, I felt better about the procedure. My amazing OB, Ahsan, came into the room and moved my baby with no problems. It was scary! However, I know that this does not work for everyone. Trust your ob. The worst case scenario is that you have a C-section and thankfully we have great medicine in this area and you and the baby will be healthy. Good Luck!! Karen
I was in a similar situation with my daughter. We attempted the external version which unfortunately did not work. They tried several times and it was intense. The baby was really stuck up under my rib cage. I tried acupuncture, moxa, yoga and even the flashlight trick to get the baby to ''follow the light'' down. We wound up having a c-section which was really actually great. Recovery was quick. Good luck - try anything and everything, as you never know what might work for you. And if nothing works, have faith that the baby is in that particular position for a reason and the c-section will go just fine! JenB
My baby was also breech, born last year on July 1st by c- section. I tried everything you mentioned: acupuncture, moxa, inverted positions (even with a headset with music playing at the bottom of my belly, I read that the baby will turn towards the music), handstands and sumersaults in a pool, and I had two attempts at external versions. He would not turn. The only thing I did not try was a chiropractor. Since then I've heard there are some that do special treatments to help a breech baby turn, so you might look into that. I do know at least two other women who had external versions that were successful, so don't rule that out, either. It is a bit uncomfortable, but I didn't think it was that bad, and was able to breathe through the pain, which only lasted for a couple of minutes. The thing that makes me upset is that hospitals won't even attempt to do a vaginal breech birth nowadays due to liabilities issues. I do know a woman who was able to deliver a breech baby vaginally at UCSF, and apparently if you get the right OB there, they will attempt it. But it is a lost art, and most OB students and residents aren't even taught how to do it. There is an interesting article about it in a past Mothering Magazine issue (the one that came out exactly when I was going through this) by Ina May Gaskin (she wrote Spiritual Midwifery). Well, blessings to you for a safe and healthy birth, no matter what happens! Erin

Any success using a chiropractor to turn a breech?

August 2003

I'm 34 weeks pregnant and have just learned my baby's breech. I'd like to try everything I can to turn it while there's still time! (I can have an external version at 37 weeks, but I'd rather try other things first.)

I just looked at the recommendations on the website for turning a breech and noticed a few people mentioned chiropractors as being effective, but there were no names or details given. Has anyone had success with chiropractic techniques or have a person to recommend? I've never seen a chiropractor and have no idea what to look for.

Also, any other advice or success stories (acupuncture? weird upside down exercises?) are very welcome. Thank you! Wishing for Upside Down


At 37 weeks, my first baby was breech. My pediatrician had been watching her for a couple weeks before and told me that she would probably turn, but at 37 weeks she thought she was too big to turn. We scheduled an external version for that Monday (38 weeks). Over the weekend, I did the inversion exercises and tried moxibustion (burning Chinese herbs). I didn't really believe it would help... but something must have worked because when I went into the hospital for the version that Monday, the baby had turned!

(At 34 weeks, you still have plenty of time for your baby to turn on her own. As a matter of fact, if you do the exercises too soon, the baby can turn and then turn back while she is still small enough to have room to move.) a new believer


My baby was breech and I had a version that worked out wonderfully because my baby stayed put. Timing is the key though, so in case you run out of time, or the other ways don't work, I wanted you to know that a version is not all that bad. It was painful (to the point of tears) for the time it took to do the turn and that was about 3 min. I think. I walked out of the hospital without being sore and with a feeling inside that was very different from when I went in an hour earlier. My baby was finally in the right position! good luck. angela
I would be scared to death of having a chiropractor ''manipulate'' me and possibly causing my placenta to abrupt. And, know that my second child was breech and then not, breech and then not, and then ''unbreeched'' himself, permanently, at about 37 weeks. I would be inclined to follow the advice of a good and trustworthy obstetrician. Good luck Uncomfortable with chiropractics
My cousin had her breech baby turned by her OB and ended up having a nightmare labor -- he was too big for her pelvis. (I do not know the exact term for what happened to her but her pelvis separated & she was in a wheelchair for a month). In retrospect, the OB thought that *may* have been why he was breech. Both are well now. Random occurance probably. Good luck.
When my baby was breech at week 34 my midwife recommended a treatment called moxibustion, an acupuncture-based traditional Chinese remedy. A recent study in the Journal of American Medicine Association found that 75% of breech-positioned fetuses turned with moxibustion, compared to 50% without. Basicially, it involves someone holding a burning cigar of mugwort (''moxa''), very near to a certain point on the side of your pinkie toes. The heat has a similar effect to acupuncture needles, but much, much gentler (needles are used at this pressure point to speed along a difficult labor).
I went to Marti Lee Kennedy, a wonderful acupuncturist who specializes in women's health issues. She has many other glowing recommendations on this site and I will add mine to the chorus. She gave me the first treatment and showed my husband how to do it so we could do the rest at home. It takes about 45 min per treatment and makes your house smell like a marijuana farm, but about an hour after the third treatment I felt my daughter do a somersalt! We were able to have a very smooth delivery. I wholeheartedly recommend giving Marti a call: 510- 843-5000, at 2615 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley (near Alta Bates). Tara
Hi, I had a Frank Breech baby. She was the right side down by 32 weeks and suddendly turned breech. I tried everything. I did exercises sticking my abdomen up whilst lying on a pillow. I went to have a moxa stick done on my toes with an accupuncturist. I had a version at 37 weeks. Nothing worked! If the baby wants to turn it will on its own, in fact, even during labour. But if it does not like mine, she will decide the fate of her birth not you. I do not mean to sound negative, just realistic. Try everything, and who knows. You may be lucky. But my word of advice is do not get stressed over it. I went into panic mode, seeing it was my first baby and I was adamant on having a natural, drug free vaginal birth. It was not meant to be. She broke my waters 10 days early, even one week before the scheduled c-section, and that was the end of that. Out she came and it went very well. It was not bad at all. I was out and about that same week, with minor pains on my abdomen, but fine. So, good luck, and I hope your baby turns. Otherwise, remember the most important thing is that the baby comes out healthy and that mommy is fine. anon
My daughter was breech at 34 weeks. I tried acupuncture. I also tried putting a cold compress (like a bag of frozen peas) on the lump at the top that is the baby's head. The theory is that the baby will move to get away from the cold. Sorry to say, nothing worked for me. My doctor turned her at 36 weeks - successfully! Then I ended up with a c-section anyway due to other factors. So, try anything but remember you are NOT in control of your baby's birth. It's more important that you and your baby are healthy than that he/she comes out head first. patricia
I was in your same position 8 months ago. I also posted to this list and got a lot of wonderful suggestions and I tried them all (upside down on the ironing board, leaning forward on a birthing ball, chiropractor, acupunture, etc.) I also had three attempted versions at Alta Bates as I was determined to do absolutely everything I could to get my baby to turn and at least have a chance at a vaginal delivery. In my case it did not work out (my baby was a footling breech and also had the cord wrapped around his neck making it difficult for him to turn), but I do want to share with you that of all the things I tried, Moxibustion (the acupunture technique) was the most sucessful. We went to Dr. Marti Kennedy on Ashby Ave. (recommend to us by my OB Lisa Keller) and she showed us how to do it at home, which we did for two weeks. Several times while doing it my baby tried to turn himself around and got half way before turning back. This was the same amount they were able to get him turned during the versions before he couldn't turn anymore. So I would highly recommend giving moxibustion a try.

Lastly, while I hope your baby turns and you get a chance at the birth experience you want, I want to add that though I was dreading and terrified to have a c-section, we made the most of it and I ended up thinking it was great and that my child birth experience was the greatest ever and not diminished at all. Once you see your baby nothing else matters (such as how he came out). And because it was scheduled and I did not labor, I was relatively rested after the surgery and could enjoy him more that first day. Other benefits -- no tearing, no streching, no urine leakage, etc. And in my case, it was the safest way for him to be born. Mom of healthy 7-month-old

Editor Note: 7 other people reported that chiropractors and/or acupuncturists can turn a breech baby but did not have personal experience.


Getting a breech baby to turn

Dec 2002

I am 34 weeks pregnant with my first child and my baby has settled into a head up position which, as far as I can tell, he has maintained for the last three or four weeks.

I am trying several home techniques to encourage him to turn (laying with my torso propped above my head, headphones on lower abdomen, etc.), but if those are unsuccessful by 35 weeks my OB is recommending I go to an accupunturist for ''moxibustion.'' Does anyone have any experience with moxibustion for turning a breech baby and was it successful?

Also, if that does not work, the next step might be for my OB to try to do an ''external version.'' However, one acquaintance told me that it was extremely painful, did not work, and she wished she had not done it and just had the caesarian. Any other experiences or advice out there? Thanks.


My son was breech at 37 weeks, and I was sent home over the weekend to see if he turned himself, with the plan being to do a version on the following Monday if he did not. I tried many of the ''home remedy'' approaches: lying on my back with my feet over my head, playing classical music and putting the head phones near my legs and shining a flashlight in that area as well. The one I am convinced worked, since I felt a lot of movement from my son during and after, was sitting in a warm tub and holding a pack of frozen peas on my stomach in the area I believed his head to be. Whatever it was, something did the trick, as I went in for my version and he had already turned! So best of luck, Claire
I had a baby that was breech in the final two months of my pregnancy. I tried all kinds of alternative and conventional ways to get her to turn -- everything from standing on my head in a swimming pool, to rubbing a certain pressure point on my foot, to an external version. I had the version at 36 weeks. For me it wasn't really painful but the doctor was unable to dislodge her from the breech position. Had he been more successful and actually had been able to turn her, I suspect it would have been a lot more uncomfortable.

I ended up having a c-section as she was still breech when I went into labor at 39 weeks. My c-section was horribly painful and really limited my activities in the first two weeks or so after the operation (I was fully recovered by about 6 weeks). If I were you, I would try everything you can including a version. I would rather have had the discomfort of a version than the pain of a c-section. Jenn


I had an external version performed succesfully at 37 weeks, and I would recommend for anyone. It was performed by my OB at SF Kaiser and she claimed to have a very high success rate. It was only a little uncomfortable for me, and I believe that is because I had read about how much it would hurt, so I was prepared for a really painful procedure. I was given something to relax me and the baby and I were both monitored the whole time. She stayed head down and we had a wonderful (vaginal) birth 2 weeks later. It is in my opinion a procedure that it definitely worth a try. Best of luck, Patty
I too had a breech baby and tried everything, EVERYTHING, to make her turn. The moxibustion made me quite high and relaxed, but didn't do a thing for my baby. The chiropractor realigned my pelvis so I was feeling straighter and taller, but still no movement. Standing on my head in a swimming pool gave me only nausea. And finally, the last hope was an external version - a terribly painful, extremely jarring experience, expensive and completely uncalled for during my 9 months of blissful pregnancy. I was bruised and feared for my baby's health. After all that, I went with the most ''natural'' way she wanted to come out -- I had a Cesarean and my baby turned out healthy, beautiful and happy. The healing takes about 2 weeks and the scarring will diminish. Don't do it
Our daughter who just turned 11 months old was frank breech. We tried everything - pelvic lifts, moxibustion, pulsatilla, acupuncture, and headstands in the swimming pool... unsuccessfully. We had a manual version at 37 and 39 weeks because she reverted after the first version. It was momentarily painful but luckily she turned quickly and on the first try both times. My personal feeling is that it's best to try everything starting with the least invasive and gradually moving to the more invasive with a c-section being a last resort. Acupuncture and moxibustion are painless and potentially effective... what's there to lose? As for a version vs. a c-section, I would opt for version in a second. Healing from the surgery of a c-section is no picnic and certainly takes a lot longer than the 3 - 20 second attempts at a manual external version! CA
To Whitney, who has questions about turning a breech presentation baby: From what I've read, ''moxabustion'' involves burning herbs on the skin of the abdomen. I have no idea why that would necessarily be a solution to your problem and it sounds risky in general. Having had two breech presentation babies, I can speak to the issue of external versions. They ARE EXTREMELY PAINFUL, and yes, often don't work. Mine didn't. C- sections are far less painful than having someone physically try to force a baby to turn by pushing and shoving on your abdomen. In my case, I have a minor uterine anomaly called a ''horn'' which narrows the area at the top of the uterus and basically wedged the baby's head into place (this was discovered when the C- section was performed. Your problem may or may not be similar, but having a C-section isn't the end of the world. Good luck. Anonymous
My now 2-year-old daughter was breech and I did have a successful external version. Before the procedure, I had heard how painful it could be and was very fearful. Plus, the whole hospital experience was pretty anxiety-inducing (I don't know if it's true in every case, but I had to check in to the hospital in case the attempt caused fetal distress or preterm labor).

In the end, however, I felt *nothing* apart from the pressure of my ob's hands and my baby turned head down very quickly. I think the whole thing lasted less than five minutes. It is disconcerting to watch the ob actually manipulate the baby in your belly but I was given a mild sedative (my husband was more freaked out than I was!). My baby was pretty big, too (over 9 lbs at birth) so I don't think size was a factor. I went on to have a quick and relatively easy birth a few weeks later.

Anyway, I think the experience varies greatly from person to person. Hope this helps. Holly H


I had a successful external version with my second son, but in rather extraordinary circumstances (see details below if you want the whole story since once I got writing I enjoyed it!)

Yes, the version procedure was painful, but it worked! and the pain was similar to normal labor just that the MD was moving things around instead of the uterine muscles! (I was very anxious about the pain before my first baby but had gotten through it even with a very long 4 hour pushing period to pop out a 9.5 pounder and so I was not as fearful on the second baby). The version allowed me to have natural childbirth which was really important to me so I would recommend it if you were psyching yourself up for natural child birth anyway and if you have a MD/midwife you trust.

The whole story: I was planning a home birth with very experienced midwives and I also had parallel care throughout my pregnancy with a back up OB-/GYN who knows my midwives. The baby was head up and head down and transverse at various times in the weeks prior to due date - he was smaller than my first boy and apparently had plenty of room to move around. My last OB/GYN exam before the due date the baby was head down again (a Tuesday) and we were optimistic. However, the morning my water broke (early that Friday am)I could tell the baby had moved into a transverse position again (my midwives had taught me to recognize the body parts and figure out where the baby was). I called the midwives who did not quite trust my judgement, but they came to the house anyway and did confirm the baby had moved sideways. The midwives spoke to the MD by phone and he was willing to try the version even though my water had broken which leaves less room for the baby and more friction in the uterus.

Once at the hospital we signed all the cesearean permissions and had to do the procedure in the operating room, which for me was anxiety producing since I really wanted to do the home birth or at least a non-intervention natural child birth. (I believe that a version has the risk of causing the baby distress so they might have to do an emerg. c-section even if you are not yet due and I was already in labor anyway.)

The MD requested a wide bed for the procedure so I could move around better (i.e. not the operating room-type narrow gurneys but a recovery room bed.) He used ultrasound and a pelvic exam to see where the baby was, then pushed the outside of my abdomen to push the baby's head down. The procedure was very quick but yes, painful. Deep breathing and squeezing my husband's hand got me through it. A few tears after to release the tension. My midwife was also with me throughout which helped a great deal in my understanding the procedure, the options and the risks. I was lucky she was present because she has such a good working relationship with the MD - many hospitals are very hostile to the homebirth midwives and had my MD been unavailable I would have ended up with the emergency MD, no version and a C-section I'm sure.

To top off the story - after the version the midwife trick to keep the baby from turning again was to tuck a rolled up towel under the girdle the hospital gives you for the heart monitor so the baby was held head down against one side of my uterus and could not move back up. We then decided to go home! and proceed with the home birth. The hospital was against my leaving and delayed releasing me for an hour and made me sign various papers. Although my water had broken the contractions were not coming very often and the MD did not object because he knew I had had a successful natural birth the first time (though at with a home-to-hospital transport at 10 centimeters due to meconium in the water!).

We drove home with me huffing and puffing through the pains and two hours later had a 7 pound baby at home in the living room! The baby's umbilical cord had a true knot in it so the conclusion was yes, he had a lot of room to move around in there for he had twisted himself at some point in the pregnancy right through the cord to form the knot!

Apparently we were the talk of the town among midwives who had never heard of a hospital-to-home transport! (We also called the hospital to let the nurses know that all went well since their concern about us leaving was well-intentioned though I did not appreciate the pressure tactics.)

Anyway, regardless of the home birth aspects it was not your typical version since most MD's would probably not do the procedure after the water is broken. Although our experience was very unusual I feel our success was testimony to being clear about your goals, being calm through fear and pain, trusting your health care professionals and knowing your rights. Thanks for reading and Good luck with whatever you choose! Margi


Both of my babies were breech near the end of each pregnancy. With the first the manual version performed by my OB was unsuccessful, not to mention painful enough to leave bruises across the top of my belly. We scheduled a c-section and all went well. Throughout my second pregnancy my healthcare provider ( a different person ) looked for the baby's position from 28 weeks and scheduled a version with a doctor who she knew to have a particularly good success rate. It seems as though the skill of the doc made the difference as the second baby turned easily and much less painfully, and stayed down to be delivered v-bac. The successful turn was at Summit, but I don't remember the doc's name. I would call and ask the nurses in that department and then attempt to schedule with the most successful one. Another breech Mama
There's a great osteopath on Solano Avenue named Catherine Henderson who, with the most gentle of touch, caused my breech baby to turn when attempts with other methods had failed. (Catherine is also very skilled with working with babies who have had a difficult birth and many other problems). Alexandra

Need an OB who can turn a breech

Nov 2001

I am pregnant with my first baby. We are 34 weeks pregnant (in the 35th week), and Baby is in the breech position. I have tried pretty much every technique to help Baby turn. While I am aware that Baby may still turn on his/her own, I am also preparing for a birth where Baby may remain in this position. Until now I've been planning a home birth, but I now realize we may need to birth in a hospital. I would like recommendations for OBs anywhere in the Bay Area who are experienced at doing external versions and vaginal breech births. I realize that because of liability concerns most OBs are no longer trained in attending vaginal breech births, and that most doctors would prefer to do a c-section with a first time mom's birth because of an"untested pelvis". I KNOW, however, that there are some doctors out there who might work with me to try a vaginal birth (if Baby is in the frank position). Please share any recommendations you have! Thanks! Catherine


My baby was breech up until about the point yours is, and then he flipped for good. I was very concerned, and I had been looking into the possibility of a vaginal breech birth. Even though at that point I really wanted a "natural birth" (I was exercising, doing prenatal yoga, doing all the reading and prepping for a drug-free vaginal birth), I decided that if everything I did didn't work, I'd just go with the cesarean. Part of my rationale was that because it just isn't done very much any more, whoever I found to do the delivery wouldn't be as practiced at it as is desirable. And I was ultimately more concerned about birth injuries to the baby resulting from a vaginal breech birth than I was about my own recovery from a cesarean. It helped me to reexamine my desires and priorities with regard to the birth, and I came to realize that I wasn't as "in control" as I thought I was, and that a healthy baby was my highest priority. In the end, this was useful, because I wound up having an emergency cesarean (for other reasons). But the birth wasn't a traumatizing experience for me because I had accepted that possibility and was ready for it. And I have to say, nearly all of my fears about an abdominal birth were unfounded--it wasn't bad. And the best thing is, my baby is okay. I know this may not be a popular statement, but cesarean births (judiciously prescribed) aren't as bad as you might think. The last thing I can recommend... have you thought of trying acupuncture? I saw Marti Lee Kennedy during my pregnancy, and she was wonderful. Even if the acupuncture doesn't help, you may find it relaxing and helpful for other pregnancy concerns. Kristine
Laura Stachel delivered my twins, the second one was breech. Aaron Chinn in her practice is one of the few OB's left in town who has been trained to do breech deliveries, and he delivered my breech twin. I understand that most ob-gyn's do not have he training to do breech deliveries and he was the most experienced MD in Berkeley at that time (1995). There are some good videos out there of breech deliveries, so you'll know what to expect.
To the woman whose baby is in breech position - have you gone to an acupuncturist for the very specific treatment for turning babies? It's an herb that is burned and placed at particular points - sounds kooky but is remarkably effective (two of my friends' babies turned within a week of the treatment; one the next day) - I wish I could remember the name of it, but acupuncturists know it. Hope that is helpful. Janeleslie
UCSF is the place. Try calling the FOG group. (That's Faculty OB/Gyn group). They can talk with you about doing a version. Also, call the main hosp # and ask which medical group Paer Sander, MD is in, if he is still at UCSF. I may be a little off on his name but that's close. I know several women who have had breech births there and have been satisfied with the hospital experience, while they too had been planning home births. Good luck! Shari
You may want to contact Dr. Kent Farney at 510 522 3700 who is affiliated with Alameda Hospital and Marin General. I had also planned on a homebirth but ending up delivering in hospital. Dr. Farney was my OB/GYN, I attended him in addition to my midwives. I am not sure of his experience with breech births but he is worth checking out. I also know of someone who had a home breech birth which was also premature but everything was fine. My experience delivering at Alameda Hospital with Dr. Farney was great, I can't say enough good things about the staff and hospital. Mary
I don't know a local OB, but would like to offer some encouragement - if the baby doesn't turn, and chooses to be born breech, staying upright for the delivery is very important - it helps to speed up the birth; gravity helps the contractions to be fully effective; and the pelvis can open freely in this position...also contractions are less painful when you're in an upright position. these books may help: "Active Birth" by Janet Balaskas "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May Gaskin and any writings by Michel Odent. If I were to have another child, here in the states, I would consider going over to Ina May Gaskin's community (The Farm), where you can stay for a few weeks over the birth. However, hopefully there is someone sympathetic locally... One of my children (born in England) weighed 10lbs 13oz, and with a birth in a standing position, all went fine. Here in the US I have been devastated to hear of so many C-sections (and routine epidurals...which perhaps contribute to that). Wishing you good luck and I hope you find birth assistants who will allow you the freedom to give birth as you want to... Janice
My 21/2 year old son was breech. The doctor who helped us was named Lisa Keller and she was amazing. She first sent us to an accupuncturist (I was pleasantly surprised she suggested this) but since we were so near our due date, we didn't have enough time... he got half way around! In any case, we felt that if it requried a fetal heart monitor during the external version, perhaps it was too stressful fo the baby and we would pass this option on. Dr. Keller was completely open to our views and said she would do the version at a fraction of the pressure normally done and the minute I said "ouch", she would stop. SHe was successful! It was not a comfortable experience but it was fast and simple.. She was great. Slykahn
I was in the same position as you - breech until the 39th week, tried everything to turn my baby - and my OB and I had an agreement that, were she the one to attend my birth, she would attempt a vaginal delivery. She did, however, have me do pelvis catscan (ct pelvimetry) first to make sure my pelvis was "big enough" and, as it turned out, it wasn't. In any case, she succeeded on the second try to turn my baby with an external version. Her name is Lisa Keller and she is fantastic, in my opinion, and I have no hesitation in recommending her. The number at her office is 843-7722, but I know she is very popular and thus very busy so I don't know if you would be able to see her. I ended up having a cesarean anyway and would also recommend preparing yourself for that possibility because I believe that my baby had her own reason for needing to come out that way no matter what I did, and believe me, I did everything. Good luck and call or write back if you would like to talk further ( Melissa at 336-2562). M.McM
I highly recommend Dr. Patty Robertson at UCSF Medical Center. Her specialty is high risk pregnancies. If I could deliver twins vaginally, where one was a full breech extraction, so can you. My doula was present with me throughout the birth, and I could not have asked for a safer, more caring environment.
I don't want to seem like the harbinger of doom or pessimistic, but when my daughter was born last September, my midwife had a client due around the same time and who had a baby in a breech presentation that just would not turn. My understanding is that most Bay Area hospitals are not willing to do a vaginal breech, for the same reasons that they are not too keen on vbacs. (I delivered my baby, naturally, as a vbac) I skimmed briefly over the responses and noticed that some of them came from women with five year old and two year olds- a lot has changed form then till now, many practices err on the conservative side, mainly due to malpractice insurance. I think UCSF is one of the only hospitals that will accept vaginal breeches. Others might allow a trial of labor, I am not sure here and might be talking out of my hat. I just called my midwife who told me that Patricia Robertson is the doctor to call at UCSF, meaning that she is someone who might agree to one. Apparently a study just came out a few weeks ago stating that while delivering breech presentations by cesarean section might have not so great on outcome for the mother, breech babies delivered vaginally had more problems. As compared to what, I don't know, and as far as what problems the mother experiences I don't know specifically either- emotionally, physical healing time are probably some factors. Anyway, the study did state that those that were the most experienced in delivering breeches vaginally had the most success, so those birth centers in Europe that deliver breeches frequently had fewer problems. So the study has done to vaginal breech deliveries what a study on pitocin and vabacs did for vbacs- make more conventional doctors shy away from the procedure and follow the path of the familiar and invasive. So as far as a vaginal birth in a hospital, my midwife told me that there are a couple of factors dictating that outcome- firstly you will have to have a CT to measure your pelvis size; then an ultrasound to measure the size of the baby. The baby would have to have a flexed head and weigh less than eight pounds and you would have to be willing to have an epidural during labor. There is no compromise with the epidural, it is for if they have to do manipulations during labor or have to rush off and do a c-section. Of course the best outcome would be for the baby to turn, things you can do to try to turn the baby (forgive me if you have heard some or all of these) a version, shine a bright flashlight down by your pubic bone, place headphones and play music down by your pelvic bone, find a swimming pool and walk on your hands, there are homeopathic remedies, and lastly a chiropractor who can do Webster's Chiropractic technique for baby turning. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me and I can pass along my midwife's name and number. Sonya
For the woman seeking information about vaginal breech birth: I recommend you call Dr. Russell Laros at UCSF Medical Center. I am a doula who had clients with a breech baby and they felt very well-cared for by Dr. Laros. Adele
I have been reading with interest the postings regarding vaginal breech birth. I attempted to do it through Kaiser 2 years ago, without success, and since then Kaiser has stopped offering it entirely. I'm glad there are still practitioners out there willing to do it, but I just thought I would put in my two cents. I was very committed to natural childbirth and my baby was small - I had a CT scan beforehand where I was told I was a good candidate for it. I had had an external version (a very unpleasant procedure) and it was unsuccessful. She was my first baby, and I was told labor might be long - I was unprepared for what happened. I labored for 3 days and nights with almost no progress - finally the 3rd night I agreed to a drug cocktail to stop the contractions and to knock me out so I could get rest. When I awoke over 16 hours later, I labored hard for another whole night, and finally got to 3.5 centimeters. I could not imagine being in transition for another 12 hours or so - I had a cesarean finally and my baby was fine. I had a lot of trouble with my milk supply at first, and it the pediatrician suspected it may have had something to do with my exhaustion. Recovery was very tough, because I had worn myself down so much. Anyway, I thought I would share the details because had I known how long my labor was going to be I would not have attempted it. I was told it was because a baby in the breech position does not put enough pressure on the cervix for it to open quickly. Also, I was 37 years old at the time - perhaps age had something to do with it. I am expecting my second child in a few weeks, and sure enough, this one is breech as well. If the version does not work, I will definitely opt for another c-section.
Regarding this subject and a recent message, I just wanna say that unlike the woman that had a three days labor to deliver her breech baby, I labored for less than 3 hours! My baby was breech too. I attempted the external version, and many other alternatives to turn her, since I really wanted to deliver vaginally and without drugs, but nothing worked. Instead of scheduling a c-section, I decided to wait for labor, hoping that my baby could turn during labor. After waiting for a week after the due date, my doctor recommended a c-section. We then scheduled the c-section for a Friday, 7:00 AM. Surprisingly, my labor started at 3:15 in that morning, and I arrived in the hospital at 5:30 AM, completely dilated and effaced. My baby was still breech and they had to give me drugs to slow down the contractions, since I started pushing but hadnīt had a CT scan and they didnīt want to risk a vaginal birth. I ended up having an emergency c-section, and my baby was born at 6:15 AM. So, giving my experience, I have to disagree with the information that says that a baby in the breech position does not put enough pressure on the cervix for it to open quickly. Oh yes, Sarah is my first baby. So, labor isnīt always necessarily long for first moms too... I would like to finish by saying that although I had to deliver through a c-section, I was not disappointed with my birth experience, mainly because I had the opportunity to experience labor. I would definitely wait again! Good luck! Leonora

Turning a footling breech

May 2001

Hi Does anyone have information, advice or experiences to share re turning a footling breech baby, either by an external version, or other methods? Thanks.


I had an external version performed to turn my baby, who was also breech (though I don't know if she was a footling breech). The version was unsuccessful, though I am glad I tried it. I believe the average success rate is about 50%, although it gets lower as you get closer to your due date (I don't remember the magic number -- I seem to remember it was at about 37 or 38 weeks that you see a dramatic decrease in the success rate). Also, if the baby has "dropped" into the pelvis, it is less likely to work (obviously). Basically, your doctor and another will massage the heck out of your stomach. The nurse who prepped me for it said, "now, some women find this uncomfortable." That was the understatement of the year. But it was certainly bearable. If you decide to do it, have someone there whose hand you can squeeze to help relieve the pain. I also used the focal point and breathing exercises I had learned in childbirth classes, which also seemed to help. You should also be aware that you'll be very, very sore for a few days afterwards. I think I must have had some tremendous internal bruising. I felt like I had met a couple of thugs in a dark alley. It was excrutiating every time the baby kicked for the next two or three days. But again, I felt that it was worth a try. Good luck! Sarah
I have some experience in this area. Both of my babies turned breech. The second baby turned back on his own, but my first child had to be turned externally. My babies were not 'footling' breech, they were both 'transverse sly' (which means they are spine down), but the experience of turning a baby externally is the same either way.

I had never heard of a baby being turned externally since this was my first pregnancy, so at the time, I knew nothing about it. I did ask the doctor if it would hurt. And her answer was, "Well, not as bad as us cutting you open to get the baby out." To which my answer was, "Go for it!"

In any case, there were three adults (a doctor, a nurse and a midwife) turning the baby while they watched the ultrasound monitor to make sure she didn't get the cord wrapped around her neck, etc. It was painful for a few minutes, but it was over very soon. I'm glad I did it because she stayed turned and I was able to deliver her vaginally a few days later.

Then, 11 1/2 months later when I was in labor with my son, the same thing happened and I was ready to have them turn him again, when he miraculously turned back around on his own when they stopped the pitocin. The reason I mention the second time is for this reason: Even though it was painful, I decided to go ahead and have him turned because even though I knew how much it was going to hurt, it was worth it to me to go through 5 - 10 minutes of pain versus being forced to have a C-Section.

All that to say, it hurts quite a bit for a few short minutes, but it may allow you to deliver vaginally if the baby decides to stay put after being moved. I hope this helps. Feel free to email me if you have any more questions. April


I am willing to discuss my experiences (privately) with external version (I tried it twice) and alternative methods for turning a breech baby. Mine would not turn but I would do it all again... Sandra
We discovered that our baby was a footling breech around 37 weeks. My dr. made an appointment for the external version and I immediately called my accupuncturist. I went in for treatment 2 times before the version appointment. The day of the appointment I went in and she had turned. The next day, the ultrasound showed she'd turned breech again. So I did more accupuncture and lo and behold, at the next version appointment she was head down, where she stayed until birth. The Alta Bates nurses all agreed that it was the accupuncture (I'd even stood on my hands in the YMCA pool, not a pretty sight to say the least) that made her turn and I'd have to agree. No needles used, rather my practitioner (and later my hubby) burned moxie sticks near certain points on my body (little toe, hands and lower legs). Doesn't hurt and it worked! I'd be happy to recommend my accupuncturist if you need a name. Good luck Lucinda
- Ten years ago my nurse practitioner was unhappy with the feel of my 8 month pregnancy; I was sent for an immediate ultrasound. The baby was footling breech and (as it was apparently easy to see) a girl.

I had external version by a well-respected, experienced OB-Gyn (Kanwit). It was extremely uncomfortable and did not work. The baby would only turn part way and then would shift back when pressure was released. I was pretty callously informed I would have to have a C-section.

I did not spend any further time looking into version, but I did some research on footling breeches. Their delivery outcomes were actually pretty normal when the condition was recognized in advance and with an experienced practitioner. However, no hospital in the Bay Area (I tried as far as Stanford) would let me deliver; from this I concluded the odds of finding a doctor who had actually delivered a footling breech were pretty damn small.

The C-section was terrifying but completely uneventful. I made Kanwit verify she was still breech before I would let them give me the spinal (I am terrified of needles.) The down foot was apparently very easy to feel in a pelvic!

My beautiful daughter had a full head of black hair, lungs like a stevedore ---and an umbilical cord wrapped three times around her neck. Trying a normal delivery would have been a disaster. Per Kanwit, the cord wrapped around her neck was probably what kept her from turning.

Although I only had the one section, I have to say that compared to friends who had them after going into labor, recovery was much better. You're prepared (if not ready), not exhausted, your systems start functioning again more quickly so they let you do neat things like eat and get out of bed. Faced with similar circumstances I think I would prefer to just have the C-section and not bother with version. HOWEVER, ultrasound technology has gotten so much better they may be able to visualize the cord now, which would have removed this risk factor; if they can, I might be willing to try external version. I would not try any method without monitoring, as you want to avoid going into labor as long as possible. Chris
PS She's dishwater blonde now but the lungs remain!


I don't know what you mean exactly by footling breech, but my baby was still breech at 37 weeks. I had started with Brian Barlay Acupuncturist (510 540 0544, 1720 Bancroft Way) at 35 weeks with a treatment that had a high success in China. He's had some success with it. It didn't work with me, nor did the special tea he prepared. I ended up at Alta Bates where the baby was turned. It was over in a few minutes, the preparations took longer than the actual turning. It wasn't painful for me. The baby stayed head down (I went to a step class right after and kept walking the rest of the day). Anneke

Moxibustion and acupuncture for turning a breech?

1999

I have heard that moxibustion and acupuncture are useful for turning a breech baby. How exactly does one do moxibustion or where can I read about it? Any recommended acupuncturists with experience turning a breech baby? And what is the best time during pregnancy to attempt moxibustion and/or acupuncture? I am now almost 33 weeks pregnant and my midwife has encouraged me to try to turn the baby (though she had only some excercises to try which I've started). Thank you!


I am 37 weeks pregnant, and just found out that my second baby is in a complete breech position. My first baby was breech, and although I tried several different methods to turn him (including an external version attempt), I ended up having a planned c-section. He was over 11 pounds, so there was evidently not enough room for him to change position.

This baby is much smaller, they think, so I am more hopeful that I can get the baby to turn. Does anyone know of any techniques that might be helpful? I know about moxibustion, lying upside-down, and shining a light near the pubic bone, as well as external version at the hospital, but I am hoping someone knows something (or someone) that might help. Thanks!


Moxibustion (http//www.onhealth.com/alternative/briefs/item,33397.asp ) and acupuncture are widely accepted methods of turning a breech baby. I began acupuncture treatment by Laurel Brody LAc (El Cerrito - 524-5995, she's great and supportive!) in my 30th week and treated myself with moxibustion (provided by Laurel) at the request of my OB. The moxibustion is placed on the outside of the little toe and lit on one end. You can feel the heat, which is sometimes intense, and the smoke has a tendency to induce headaches. I suggest doing the treatments in an open space, preferably outside.

There are numerous other exercises and methods used as an alternative to the ECV. Links to these options can be reviewed at http//pregnancy.about.com/health/pregnancy/msubbreech.htm

In my research regarding breech presentation, I found the most widely reported, effective method of turning the baby was found through chiropractic treatment. I cannot personally attest to this, but it may be worth looking in to.

Although the treatments were not effective in turning our son, if you are willing to wait it out, the baby will often turn once contractions begin. Your midwife will undoubtedly be able to provide the best recommendations for your situation. If this is not a first child, most OBs/midwives will consider breech delivery. Some will attempt this with a first child, but not many. Best of luck! J. H.


I read somewhere that swimming helps turn a breech baby. Can't hurt, in any event. Good luck! Julie
I went to a GREAT acupuncturist for pre-term labor when I was pregnant. Her name is Laurel Brody and she practices in El Cerrito and Sabastapol. I think she is only in El Cerrito 2 days a week now. The majority of her patients are women and most are pregnant women. She worked as a dula before she became an acupuncturist. I would very highly recommend her. I don't have her number on hand but she is listed. Good Luck! Royce
I also know that chiropractic is effective at turning a breech baby. You should go as soon as you can and it can take a couple of weeks for the baby to turn. You will probably have to go at least 3 times each week. Moshe
My husband, Brian Barlay, is an acupuncturist and he has used moxibustion to turn breech babies around. His office is in Berkeley and his phone number is 510.540.0544. I'm sure he would be happy to answer any questions you have. Good Luck! Leah
I'm not sure what moxibustion is, but maybe my experience will my breech baby will help (?). Our doula recommended that I do some exercises which were awkward with my big belly, and only caused by back to hurt more. We had the version (getting baby manually turned around) during my 34th week, and we were blessed that she stayed put. However, I stopped going to prenatal yoga (we did a lot of dipping moves there), and I didn't do anything too athletic for fear she'd pop back around.

My doctor got up on the hospital bed with me, and with one fist on the top of my belly, and the other on the bottom, turned our baby around within a few minutes (she used an ultrasound screen to see where the umbilical cord was).

As far as when is the best time to turn a baby, she said that the baby was small enough at that time in the pregnancy to move her (bigger babies don't always turn because there is less room, and boys are not always successful because they are about 1 pound heavier). Also, she said that there was ample amniotic fluid to do the turn. If your other methods don't work, you may want to also consider a version. It was so worth the try, and it was only painful for a few minutes. I wish you all the luck for a baby that turns around, whichever method you use. Angela


I have a sister-in-law who is studying to be a chiropractor. I remember having a conversation with her a while ago where she told me about a new technique (or maybe it was a study of a technique already in use) where the chiropractor could do some sort of manipulation that would cause the baby to turn. I don't know anything else about it. I don't even know if it is something that I would consider doing myself. BUT if you are interested you could probably call around to find a chiropractor who has experience working with pregnant women to find out about it.
In addition to the methods you mentioned, I also tried lying upside down with headphones on the lower part of my abdomen(the theory is that the baby will turn around to hear the music.) But then, I too had a cesarean.
Call Dr. Lisa Keller at 843-7722. She turned my baby at 42 weeks and 8+ lbs via an external version. She has the best hands in the business!
I was carrying a baby in an "unstable transverse lie" and they scheduled a version, but my family practice doctor suggested I just try acupuncture first. I am pretty agnostic about alternative medicines generally, but for what its worth, I had the acupuncture on friday, then went in for the OB version consult on Monday, and at the ultrasound in his office the OB told me the baby had turned on her own. The acupuncturist was Peter van Arsdale, in Berkeley. Good luck, Allison

Any advice about turning a footling breech?

1998

Hi Does anyone have information, advice or experiences to share re turning a footling breech baby, either by an external version, or other methods? Thanks. Lindy


I had an external version performed to turn my baby, who was also breech (though I don't know if she was a footling breech). The version was unsuccessful, though I am glad I tried it. I believe the average success rate is about 50%, although it gets lower as you get closer to your due date (I don't remember the magic number -- I seem to remember it was at about 37 or 38 weeks that you see a dramatic decrease in the success rate). Also, if the baby has "dropped" into the pelvis, it is less likely to work (obviously). Basically, your doctor and another will massage the heck out of your stomach. The nurse who prepped me for it said, "now, some women find this uncomfortable." That was the understatement of the year. But it was certainly bearable. If you decide to do it, have someone there whose hand you can squeeze to help relieve the pain. I also used the focal point and breathing exercises I had learned in childbirth classes, which also seemed to help. You should also be aware that you'll be very, very sore for a few days afterwards. I think I must have had some tremendous internal bruising. I felt like I had met a couple of thugs in a dark alley. It was excrutiating every time the baby kicked for the next two or three days. But again, I felt that it was worth a try. Good luck! Sarah
I have some experience in this area. Both of my babies turned breech. The second baby turned back on his own, but my first child had to be turned externally. My babies were not 'footling' breech, they were both 'transverse sly' (which means they are spine down), but the experience of turning a baby externally is the same either way.

I had never heard of a baby being turned externally since this was my first pregnancy, so at the time, I knew nothing about it. I did ask the doctor if it would hurt. And her answer was, "Well, not as bad as us cutting you open to get the baby out." To which my answer was, "Go for it!"

In any case, there were three adults (a doctor, a nurse and a midwife) turning the baby while they watched the ultrasound monitor to make sure she didn't get the cord wrapped around her neck, etc. It was painful for a few minutes, but it was over very soon. I'm glad I did it because she stayed turned and I was able to deliver her vaginally a few days later.

Then, 11 1/2 months later when I was in labor with my son, the same thing happened and I was ready to have them turn him again, when he miraculously turned back around on his own when they stopped the pitocin. The reason I mention the second time is for this reason: Even though it was painful, I decided to go ahead and have him turned because even though I knew how much it was going to hurt, it was worth it to me to go through 5 - 10 minutes of pain versus being forced to have a C-Section.

All that to say, it hurts quite a bit for a few short minutes, but it may allow you to deliver vaginally if the baby decides to stay put after being moved. I hope this helps. April


I am willing to discuss my experiences (privately) with external version (I tried it twice) and alternative methods for turning a breech baby. Mine would not turn but I would do it all again... Sandra
We discovered that our baby was a footling breech around 37 weeks. My dr. made an appointment for the external version and I immediately called my accupuncturist. I went in for treatment 2 times before the version appointment. The day of the appointment I went in and she had turned. The next day, the ultrasound showed she'd turned breech again. So I did more accupuncture and lo and behold, at the next version appointment she was head down, where she stayed until birth. The Alta Bates nurses all agreed that it was the accupuncture (I'd even stood on my hands in the YMCA pool, not a pretty sight to say the least) that made her turn and I'd have to agree. No needles used, rather my practitioner (and later my hubby) burned moxie sticks near certain points on my body (little toe, hands and lower legs). Doesn't hurt and it worked! I'd be happy to recommend my accupuncturist if you need a name. Good luck Lucinda
Ten years ago my nurse practitioner was unhappy with the feel of my 8 month pregnancy; I was sent for an immediate ultrasound. The baby was footling breech and (as it was apparently easy to see) a girl.

I had external version by a well-respected, experienced OB-Gyn (Kanwit). It was extremely uncomfortable and did not work. The baby would only turn part way and then would shift back when pressure was released. I was pretty callously informed I would have to have a C-section.

I did not spend any further time looking into version, but I did some research on footling breeches. Their delivery outcomes were actually pretty normal when the condition was recognized in advance and with an experienced practitioner. However, no hospital in the Bay Area (I tried as far as Stanford) would let me deliver; from this I concluded the odds of finding a doctor who had actually delivered a footling breech were pretty damn small.

The C-section was terrifying but completely uneventful. I made Kanwit verify she was still breech before I would let them give me the spinal (I am terrified of needles.) The down foot was apparently very easy to feel in a pelvic!

My beautiful daughter had a full head of black hair, lungs like a stevedore ---and an umbilical cord wrapped three times around her neck. Trying a normal delivery would have been a disaster. Per Kanwit, the cord wrapped around her neck was probably what kept her from turning.

Although I only had the one section, I have to say that compared to friends who had them after going into labor, recovery was much better. You're prepared (if not ready), not exhausted, your systems start functioning again more quickly so they let you do neat things like eat and get out of bed. Faced with similar circumstances I think I would prefer to just have the C-section and not bother with version. HOWEVER, ultrasound technology has gotten so much better they may be able to visualize the cord now, which would have removed this risk factor; if they can, I might be willing to try external version. I would not try any method without monitoring, as you want to avoid going into labor as long as possible. Chris

PS She's dishwater blonde now but the lungs remain!


I don't know what you mean exactly by footling breech, but my baby was still breech at 37 weeks. I had started with Brian Barlay Acupuncturist (510 540 0544, 1720 Bancroft Way) at 35 weeks with a treatment that had a high success in China. He's had some success with it. It didn't work with me, nor did the special tea he prepared. I ended up at Alta Bates where the baby was turned. It was over in a few minutes, the preparations took longer than the actual turning. It wasn't painful for me. The baby stayed head down (I went to a step class right after and kept walking the rest of the day). Anneke
Home   |   Post a Message  |   Subscribe  |   Help   |   Search  |   Contact Us    

this page was last updated: May 2, 2012


BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website! Read more, and see how you can help: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org

The opinions and statements expressed on this website are those of parents who subscribe to the Berkeley Parents Network.
Please see Disclaimer & Usage for information about using content on this website.    Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network