There are many complications that can occur during pregnancy. You might be in your ninth month of pregnancy thinking that you are safe. But, problems can arise during delivery and during the ninth month of pregnancy like signs of breech baby and preeclampsia.
Breech babies can flip your birth plan upside down and you may not have a choice on how you want to deliver your baby. The most important thing to keep in mind at that time is choosing what is best for you and your baby. No matter how you deliver a baby, the best delivery is the one whose outcome is a healthy mom and baby.
If you are wondering if your baby is breech, you have come to the right place. Here is everything you need to knaow about breech baby.
In this post, the following will be discussed.
- What is breech baby?
- How common is a breech baby?
- What are the types of breech positions?
- How does a breech baby affect my pregnancy?
- Breech Babies Delivery
- Can I deliver vaginally with a breech baby?
- Would I need a C-section if my baby is breech?
- How to tell if your baby is breech?
- Signs of Breech Baby
- Causes of Breech Baby
- How is a breech baby diagnosed?
- When is a breech baby diagnosed?
- How to Treat a Breech Baby
- Risks of Breech Baby
- Will my doctor try to turn my breech baby?
- What are the risks of turning my breech baby?
- Will my breech baby flip on their own?
- How can I flip my baby when it’s breech?
- How can I reduce my risk of having a breech baby?
This is just for educational purposes, it is not medical advice.
What is breech baby?
A breech baby is a baby whose head is upward towards the ribs. It is considered a breech baby if the baby does not flip downward towards the birth canal ( baby’s bottom upward) by 36 weeks of pregnancy.
This happens in three to four percent of pregnancies. Almost twenty-five percent of babies are head up during the 28th week of pregnancy. So, your baby may still have a chance to turn its head down into the vertex position before delivery. If you want it in simple terms, it is a baby positioned incorrectly for labor.
Breech babies are born bottom and feet first, which is very risky. However, doctors now try to turn breeched babies. Babies can also lie horizontally. This baby position is known as the transverse lie. this also is risky.
How common is a breech baby?
There is a little possibility that your baby will stay in a breech position after 37 weeks of pregnancy. 3% to 4% of all full-term pregnancies are breech at the time of birth.
What are the types of breech positions?
1- Frank Breech: A frank breech is the most common breech position. In this position, the baby’s bottom is pointing towards the mom’s birth canal and the feet are straight. The baby’s head is in the upper part of the uterus. Both the baby’s feet and head are near each other. This position is also known as the extended breech position.
2- Complete Breech: In a complete breech position, the baby’s bottom is also facing the mom’s birth canal. Its legs would be bent at the knee and facing toward the birth canal. The baby’s head is in the upper part of the uterus.
3- Incomplete Breech: In an incomplete breech, the baby’s feet or one foot faces downward towards the birth canal, and it would come out first before the baby’s body. This is also known as the footling breech.
How does a breech baby affect my pregnancy?
Breech babies cause no problems during pregnancy, but after birth, they can have lifelong problems. Since vaginal delivery can pose risks. Breech babies may have different problems as a consequence, or sometimes breech babies fail to turn because of certain problems like birth defects.
- If cord prolapse occurs, the baby’s brain will not get enough oxygen throughout the birth, and this causes many problems. Many problems can arise from lack of oxygen especially problems within the brain of the baby. One problem that can arise is autism.
- Structural Problems: Since the baby may get stuck in the birth canal, the baby may get hurt during delivery. For example, the best way for a baby to be delivered is headfirst because the skull is not sensitive. The rest of the body is easily breakable. So delivering the head last can cause muscle coordination problems and spinal cord problems.
- Some believe those who have chromosomal problems are also more likely to be breeched. The baby may have a higher risk for birth defects, but many are born perfectly healthy.
- If a baby is in breech position with one or both legs extended rather than bent at the knees, problems in the hip can occur.
Breech Baby Delivery
Vaginal Breech Birth is risky. Many things can go wrong like the baby’s head getting trapped or extending. Some women may not know that their baby is breech until delivery so vaginal birth would be the only option. An ultrasound should have been done at 36 weeks to confirm that the baby has flipped, but some doctors fail to do this.
Can I deliver vaginally with a baby breech?
But, as you know, many women today are choosing to deliver babies vaginally even if their babies are breech. There are three things doctors need to keep in mind during a vaginal breech birth.
The first thing is the doctor should use the hands-off-breech method. This method suggests that the doctor should not do any vaginal exams or prevent the mother from sitting on her baby.
The second thing is the knee-elbow position. Mom should get on all fours and move as her body tells her whether it is back and forth or some other way. This would help the baby move down with gravity. The third thing is to leave the cord intact and cut it off after the placenta is out.
Sometimes complications arise, so doctors need to do several maneuvers to help deliver the baby. Some include flexing the knees of the baby, Lovset’s Maneuver, and Mauriceau Smellie Veit Maneuver. Flexing the knees will help deliver the legs of the baby. Lovset’s Maneuver involves rotating the baby’s bottom to deliver the shoulders then the arms. MSV maneuver involves the flexion of the head.
Will I need a C-section if my baby is breech?
This is the recommended way to deliver a breech baby. If you or your doctor choose to deliver the breech baby via c-section, it should be done at 39 weeks of pregnancy. Your baby would be full-term. Incisions in the abdomen and the uterus are made to deliver the baby.
Sometimes, your water may break or you may go into labor before your planned c-section. You should call the hospital or your doctor right away if this happens.
How to tell if your baby is breech?
Signs of breech baby do not confirm your baby is actually breeched. Most likely you wouldn’t even know your baby is breech until your doctor performs an exam.
Only an ultrasound can guarantee your baby is in the correct position and it should be done around 36 weeks of pregnancy. Only through ultrasound can you confirm if the signs of breech baby you had were actually signs.
Did you know that 97-99 percent of breech babies turn head down by labor day? But, always keep in mind that you may have to change your birth plan if the baby does not turn.
Signs of Breech Baby
Some signs of breech baby will be listed, but keep in mind a doctor must perform an ultrasound to detect if your baby is in a breech position or not. Even if it is in a breech position, it may turn naturally as days go by. Here are some symptoms of a breech baby.
- There is a hard spot under your rib cage.
Touch it. If it moves, it is most likely the baby’s bottom and that is a great sign your baby is in the normal position. If it doesn’t move, it may be the head of the baby which is a sign of a breech baby.
- Rib Cage Pressure:
The skull is very hard and may create pressure on the ribs. You may have a hard time breathing with all the pressure placed on the upper portion of your body and on your lungs. When the baby drops, women usually report feeling some kind of relief as if they can breathe better.
- Your baby is high.
If your baby does not drop until the lower pelvic area, it could be a sign of a breech baby. But, keep in mind, that sometimes new mommies don’t notice the drop until right before labor or if the baby is posterior.
- Kicks in the lower abdominal area and punches in the upper abdominal area.
This is a very common and noticeable sign.
- Baby’s hiccups are felt in the upper abdominal area.
You should feel them in the lower pelvic area if in a normal position.
- Your lower pelvic area is squishy rather than hard.
That is because your baby’s head is not in your lower pelvic area. Your doctor would gently place her hand on your lower pelvic area to test if they feel the baby’s head.
Causes of Breech Baby
Many types of research have been done to see why breech babies occur. The cause is actually unknown. Even the reason why in 97 percent of pregnancies the baby turns downward is unknown. But, some believe there are factors that increase the risk of a breech baby.
The risk factors include:
- Consecutive pregnancies.
- Pregnant with multiples.
- Pregnant with problems like placenta previa
- Oligohydramnios: an abnormal amount of amniotic fluid.
- Polyhydramnios: Too much amniotic fluid.
- Women who have had premature births previously.
- It runs in the family.
- The baby’s hips are immature.
- The umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck.
How is a breech baby diagnosed?
Your doctor will touch your stomach to see if she can feel the baby’s head position, and she may also do an ultrasound to confirm that the baby is head down.
When is a breech baby diagnosed?
Breech babies are usually diagnosed at 37 weeks. Your baby should have already moved into a head-down position by then.
How to Treat a Breech Baby
There are three ways to treat a breech baby, and they include:
- Attempt to move your unborn child head-first inside your uterus via a doctor.
- Consider having a C-section.
- Arrange a vaginal breech birth.
Complications of Breech Baby
There are no complications for a breech baby before it is born. It is actually perfectly healthy in the womb of a woman. But, there will be problems when delivering the baby.
The baby needs to be face down with the chin towards the chest to be able to be delivered vaginally without complications. When the baby is in a breech position, the baby’s head may get stuck (fatal head entrapment) and the oxygen may stop moving through the umbilical cord if it gets stuck.
Sometimes something called cord prolapse can occur. Cord prolapse occurs when the umbilical cord drops below the baby and gets compressed. This would lead to an emergency and is a big complication
Will my doctor try to turn my breech baby?
Yes, a breeched baby can be turned. Here are several ways that breech babies can be turned into the vertex position.
- External Cephalic Version – This is done in a clinic or hospital by a professional doctor and may take only five minutes to be done. The doctor monitors the baby’s vital signs and uses an ultrasound to guide his/her hands in a way to turn the baby into the right position.
The vital signs of the baby will be taken before, during, and after an ECV. But, this is very painful and you may be given an epidural if you want it. This does not always succeed, unfortunately. It has a success rate of about 50 percent, and sometimes babies flip back to the breech position.This would be done between 35-38 weeks of pregnancy.
- Forward-Leaning Position Inversion – Sometimes, the doctor tries to create some room in the uterus. This allows the baby to have space to turn around.
- Chiropractics – A chiropractor can help align the pelvic in order to make enough space for the baby to turn naturally. A chiropractor cannot turn the baby, but he/she can help the baby turn on its own. They align the pelvic in a way to help the body decrease the stress on the uterus and increase the connection between the brain of the mom and her uterus. This is also known as the Webster Technique.
- Breech Tilt – A pelvic tilt is the same as a breech tilt. Lay down on the floor. You raise your hips upward with legs bent at the knee and feet on the ground.
What are the risks of turning my breech baby?
The risks of an turning a baby include the following:
- Preterm delivery.
- Premature amniotic sac rupture.
- Either you or your child lose blood.
- Your baby may stay in breech position
Will my breech baby flip on their own?
Yes, it is possible. Most babies flip by 37 weeks.
How can I flip my baby if it’s breech?
- Sleeping in a certain position: You should sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees and ankles. This will give the baby enough room to turn. Sleep on the left side and allow your abdomen to touch the bed.
- Walking: Walking may help the baby turn. Walk every day for about an hour. The gravity will help the baby turn and move downward into the pelvic area.
- Temperature: Put something cold on your tummy so you baby can flip.
- Music: Try to connect with your baby. Massage your tummy gently and try to relax, listen to music and meditate. These may help!
- Bridge Position: Lie down. Bend your legs and put your feet flat on the ground. Raise your hips. Keep this position for ten minutes. Do it more than once a day.
- Child’s Pose: Get in the child’s pose and stay like that for ten minutes.
How can I reduce the chance of having a breech baby?
You can not do anything to decrease the risk of having a breech baby.
Do birth defects cause breech position?
Yes, there is a link between birth defects and babies staying in breech position.
How does labor start if your baby is breech?
It was just like any normal pregnancy. However, you may not enter labor if your dotor plans a c-section.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I see my doctor?
You should see a healthcare provider if you have the following.
- Painful Cramps
- Vaginal Bleeding
- Any Concerns
What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?
Ask your doctor the following:
- How can I tell if my baby is breech?
- Is my baby doing okay?
- What are the risks of an ECV?
- What are some ways for delivery if my baby stays breached?
- What are the risks to my baby and me if they are born vaginally breeched?
If you think something is wrong, trust yourself and look for the signs of breech baby. Ask your doctor about any concerns you may have! Leave a comment why you think you have signs of breech baby, and I will give you my opinion! Let’s support one another. How did you turn your baby from breech position to a normal head-down position?