Your doctor or midwife will check your baby's presentation around the 34th week of pregnancy. If she's breech, and you have your heart set on a vaginal birth, don't freak out — talk to your provider about trying these techniques to try and turn your baby head first before scheduling a C-section.
Visualization and music
Visualization is a great labor technique that can also work wonders when trying to turn a breech baby. Paula Greer, CNM, MSN of Baltimore Women's Health Associates explains, "Mom can pick a quiet spot to envision a 'movie' of her baby doing a somersault and moving down, head-first, into the birth canal."
You can also try turning up the music on your iPod and placing the headphones near the lower segment of your uterus — the goal being the baby will respond to the music and want to turn down so he can hear it better.
Swimming and headstands
Swimming is a great exercise during pregnancy, and Greer says it has particular benefits when trying to turn your baby. "I recommend swimming since doing laps can sometimes help a baby turn on his or her own," she says. "An effective movement called the breech tilt exercise can be done while Mom is in the pool and involves her doing a handstand or headstand."
Acupuncture and moxabustion
Acupuncturist Kelly LeGendre explains, "The treatment involves using moxabustion — stimulation of an acupuncture point with heat that is produced from burning the herb artemisia vulgaris (commonly known as mugwort) on a point that is located at the outer edge of the nail on the pinky toe. Moxabustion may also be combined with acupuncture and the two together have been proven to decrease the need for cesarean delivery."
If you try the holistic techniques without any luck, Greer has the next step. "Skilled OB/GYN providers may also offer a procedure called external cephalic version, which involves attempting to rotate the baby under ultrasound guidance in a hospital setting," she explains. "It's usually done around 36 to 37 weeks so the baby is closer to term in case of labor begins from the procedure. Both mom and baby are closely monitored during the procedure."
Whether you try the holistic or medical route to try and turn your breech baby, there are no guarantees she'll turn.
"We all hope for a baby and mom who are healthy, so if your baby is breech and doesn’t turn despite using all these measures, there may be another reason," says Greer. "For example, the shape of Mom’s pelvis, the size of the baby or the umbilical cord may prevent the possibility of him or her turning."
You can find out well before labor day if your doctor or midwife is skilled at attempting vaginal breech deliveries. If they aren't, you'll likely be scheduled for a C-section.