Breech Presentation

Using Music
We know that babies can hear sounds outside the womb, so many women have used music or taped recordings of their voice to try to get their baby to move towards the "noise!" Headphones placed on the lower part of your abdomen, playing either music or your voice, has encouraged babies to move towards the sounds and out of the breech position.

There are also homeopathic remedies that women have found to very successful in breech situations. Contact your local holistic practitioner about the use of Moxibustion or Pulsatilla in turning breech babies naturally.

Vaginal delivery versus cesarean for breech birth?
Sometimes doctors do not know if a vaginal delivery is possible for a breech birth until a woman is in labor. However, the following are necessary factors in order for a vaginal birth to be attempted:

  • The baby is full-term and in the frank breech presentation.
  • The baby does not show signs of distress as its heart rate is closely monitered.
  • The process of labor is smooth and steady; the cervix is widening and the baby is moving down.
  • The doctor estimates that the baby is not too big or the mother's pelvis too narrow for the baby to pass safely through the birth canal.
  • Anesthesia is available and a cesarean delivery can be performed on short notice.

What are the risks and complications of a vaginal delivery?
In a breech birth, the baby's head is the last part to emerge, and it may be harder to ease it through the birth canal. Sometimes forceps are used to guide the baby's head out. Another potential problem is cord prolapse in which the umbilical cord can get squeezed as the baby moves toward the birth canal, slowing the baby's supply of oxygen and blood.

If a vaginal delivery is attempted, electronic fetal monitoring will be used to monitor the baby's heartbeat throughout labor. A cesarean delivery may be considered if there are any signs that the baby may be in distress.

When is a cesarean delivery used with a breech presentation?
Breech babies who are premature are often delivered by cesarean birth. Premature babies are small and fragile, and because the head is relatively larger, their bodies don't stretch the cervix as wide as full-term babies do during birth. This means that there may be less room for the head to emerge.

Reprinted with permission from American Pregnancy Association.