What does it mean if my baby is breech?

By around your eighth month of pregnancy, there’s not much room for your babe to be performing the flips, yoga poses and karate moves they’ve been practicing over the last few months. At some point, they use the room they’ve got by turning their head down and settling into the position they’ll eventually be delivered in. On occasion, however, they’ll settle into the breech position, which means feet first. 

There are a few different types of breech positions. One is a “Frank Breech,” aka bottom first with feet up near the head. “Complete Breech,” is bottom first but legs crossed, and “Footling Breech,” when one or both feet are set up to exit first. 

By the beginning of your third trimester, your doctor may be able to determine the position of your babe by feeling your belly. Your baby could be breech at this point and may turn around.

If by around week 37, your baby is still breech, your caregiver can try to turn them around with an external cephalic version (ECV), a process where  your doctor or an experienced practitioner applies pressure to your abs and manually moves the baby into a head-down position. The success rate is about 58%, but it’s not without its risks. In very few cases, an ECV can result in the placenta separating from the uterus, which would mean your baby had to be born ASAP. It could also cause a drop in your baby’s heart rate. Also women who are carrying twins or are high risk for a variety of reasons would not be eligible for the procedure.

Just because you are breech doesn’t 100% mean you have to have a C-section. It’s traditionally thought of as the safest way to deliver breech babies, though more studies are emerging questioning this status-quo.  There are a few non-medical methods you can try. Do some pelvic raises on your back to see if gravity can take hold, or look into acupuncture or even hypnosis! Just make sure to do your research for skilled practitioners who are trained in this type of work.