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Rotating a breech baby to the head-first position
by Bryce Hansen
When you enter your third trimester, you're most likely due for another doctor's appointment, one in which your doctor will assess the position your baby is in. Although most babies are observed to be head first at this point, it's possible that your little one may be buttocks or feet first.
This is referred to as a breech position. In such a situation, your physician may recommend a Cesarean section to deliver your baby safely. However, if you're keen on a vaginal birth - which many women are - there are a few things that can be tried to rotate your little one.
Wait and see
First, most healthcare providers will want to wait and see if your baby's position changes - you've still got around three months to go! During this time, it's possible that he or she will rotate, especially as he or she continues to grow.
If this isn't the case and, as you near your due date, your little one is still stubbornly trying to come into the world feet first, there are a few interventions on the table.
Consider an ECV
One option is to have an external cephalic version (ECV). This is a procedure that is performed by a doctor who attempts to turn your baby to the favored position around the 37th week of pregnancy. Your clinician will do this by applying pressure to your belly.
Yes, this procedure is known to be uncomfortable, but if your heart is set on having a vaginal birth, this may be a good option for you. However, it's important to be aware that there is a possibility of complications, although severe ones are relatively rare.
If you do decide to have an ECV, your doctor will perform it in a hospital where he or she has the resources to address any complications that occur. To ensure that your baby is safe, your doctor will monitor his or her heart rate before and after the procedure.
Why it may not work
It's possible that an ECV won't work, because your little one may just not want to budge or may rotate back to a breech position after being successfully turned. There is also evidence suggesting that first-time moms are less likely to have a successful ECV, compared to women who have been pregnant before. If this happens to you, you can discuss with your healthcare provider what your other options are, and if you can safely delivery vaginally.
Take advantage of your good old friend gravity
Another way that you can try getting your little one to rotate is to let gravity help. For instance, lying flat on your back and raising your pelvis nine to 12 inches off the floor for 15 minutes may be beneficial. When trying this method, make sure that your partner or someone you trust is around to help you if you feel lightheaded from the position. Also, if you experience any discomfort or pain, you should stop immediately and talk to your doctor.
Do you know of any woman who had an ECV? Was it successful? Do you think it's a good option for expectant moms whose little ones are breech? Leave your answers in the comments section!