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Weird Methods I Tried for Turning a Breech Baby Naturally

Carolyn worked as a technical writer, software user interface designer, and writes about children's lit, the American West, and investing.

A list of silly, ridiculous, weird, and funny methods I tried to turn my breech baby around naturally. Don't try these at home!

A list of silly, ridiculous, weird, and funny methods I tried to turn my breech baby around naturally. Don't try these at home!

A baby in breech position can be a problem during the final trimester of pregnancy, posing issues for a natural vaginal delivery. Complications from the baby's improper positioning can pose damage to the unborn baby.

It's nothing to laugh at. . . but still, this humor piece is my experience as a frustrated expectant mother and should never be taken as medical advice. We were young, poor, and uber-determined to avoid a Cesarean section and decided to try to turn the breech baby naturally. You won't believe the outlandish things we tried!

This humorous article shows how a crazy pregnant mom can do anything she sets her heart on, with a little help from a babbling toddler.

Normal vs. Breech Position

Image of what a "normal" birthing position looks like vs. a breech position.

Image of what a "normal" birthing position looks like vs. a breech position.

My Obstetrician Must Have Seen the Humor. . . But I Was Nine Months Pregnant

A few days before my visit to the obstetrician, I noticed something peculiar going on in my midsection. My stomach started to wobble and undulate like a stormy sea. Baby was inside there doing water aerobics! I didn't think much more of it until my visit to the doctor, which went something like this:

Doctor: So, how are you feeling?

Me: You mean besides having a bowling ball sitting on my pelvis? I'm not running the Boston Marathon anytime soon.

Doctor: Umm, ok then. Let's just take a look to see how things are going. [. . .] Everything looks great; there's a baby inside there for sure!

Me: Great! Can I go to the restroom now?

Doctor: Wait! I think I feel your baby's head, and it's not where it's supposed to be.

Me: Oh? Is that bad?

Doctor: Your baby is breech. Her feet are in your pelvis instead of her head.

Me: So that's why it feels like the baby's been kicking me down there.

Doctor: Yes, she probably has! We're going to have to wait and see if she turns around by next week, or we're going to have to arrange a procedure AT THE HOSPITAL called a version.

Me: Sounds like it might hurt. Does it hurt?

Doctor: (Reluctantly) Why yes, it can be quite painful. . . and If the procedure is successful and nothing goes wrong, then you can have the baby naturally.

Me: What do you mean if? "If" like Cinderella going to the ball "if"?

Doctor: Well, the procedure only has a 40-60% success rate. It's expensive and it's painful, and well, sometimes the baby turns right back into breech position. Babies don't like to be forced, you know. But we can always do it again.

Me: Why can't I just have the baby vaginally with her in breech position?

Doctor: Oh, it's much too dangerous. Too many things could go wrong. Don't worry, though. You can always have a C-section. We'll just check you back next week during your next appointment.

Me: So, is there anything I can do to turn the baby around on my own?

Doctor: Why yes, just get down on the floor on your hands and knees, face down. Place your face and chest on the floor, and keep your bottom in the air for 10 minutes, three times a day.

Me: (Laughing out loud) That's precious! What do I really do?

Doctor: No, I'm serious; that's what you're supposed to do. Gravity will do the work.

Me: Oh. . .

Doctor: It's worth a try. It's a lot cheaper than what they're going to charge you at the hospital.

Me: Thanks a lot!

I left the doctor's appointment feeling anxious and dejected. They really want me to do that?

On the floor of my living room, with my bottom poking into the air, I thought there must be a better way! I sat up slowly, waiting for the blood to rush back into the correct places, and went online to search for some answers. Boy, did I find some weird ones.

Weird Things I Tried to Do to Turn My Breech Baby

  1. Take a Warm Bath With Cold Vegetables. All you need is a tub and some frozen peas. That's what they told me.
  2. Lure the Baby Towards the Light. Use a flashlight to show them the way.
  3. Use a Hot Cigar. Who has a cigar? Does anyone have a cigar?
  4. Have the Father Order the Baby to Come Out. Because everyone thinks that fathers know best, I suppose.
  5. Take a Dive Into the Deep End. Have you ever seen a fully pregnant woman dive headfirst into a pool? Neither have I.

Continue reading to see how each of these experiments turned out and find a list of serious doctor-approved suggestions, as well.

Most breech babies will turn to a  head-first position by 36 weeks.

Most breech babies will turn to a head-first position by 36 weeks.

Unprofessional, Bizarre Advice on Turning a Breech Baby

Suggestion #1: Warm Bath With Vegetables

  1. First, fill a bath with warm water. Ok, doesn't sound too bad. . .
  2. Then get a bag of freezer-burned frozen vegetables and place it on the location of the baby's head. (Insert screeching record sound effect here.) Whaaat?!!

Why would this work? The idea is that babies have an aversion to cold, so they will turn away from the cold toward the heat. I have an aversion to the version, so what the heck, I try it. Five minutes later and there are signs frostbite. The baby twitches a bit, but doesn't move. I have an aversion to the cold, too. Who was the sadistic person that thought this one up? Maybe I'll try something else.

Suggestion #2: Go to the Light, Baby, Go to the Light!

Instructions: Get a powerful flashlight and point it toward your crotch, placing the end of the flashlight right against your skin. The idea is to give the baby some light to move towards.

My husband graciously offers to grab the flashlight for me and goes into the garage. He gets the biggest, heaviest Mag flashlight we own—it's about 14 inches long and weighs 4 or 5 pounds. He props my hips up with four pillows, hands me the flashlight, and walks over to the sink in our bathroom to brush his teeth.

Me: "What are you doing?"

Him: "Brushing my teeth? What does it look like I'm doing?"

"Aren't you going to hold the flashlight for me?"

"Sorry, babe, I'm getting ready for church. Can you do it?"

I sigh and do my best to hold the immense and heavy flashlight against my lower pelvis. My toddler son walks into the room.

"Uggh, ughh, uggh!" (He isn't really a talker. But he's saying, "I want that flashlight mom, give me the flashlight.)

Me: "Mommy's using the flashlight right now, honey. You can use it when Mommy's done."

Toddler throws himself to the floor, screaming in self-styled agony. Thump! All that thrashing around causes him to smack his head on the edge of the dresser. Now he's screaming in pain. Poor little guy. If only I could move.

My husband comes over to soothe him.

"So, is it working?"

"No it isn't working" I spit out the answer in a fit of venom. I lay on the bed with an enormous red phallus-like object pointed at the bottom of my pelvis, and we all know what that looks like.

My 10-year-old daughter wanders into the bedroom.

"Uh, mom, what are you doing?"


"No, seriously, what are you doing?"

"I'm holding a flashlight against my stomach."

"But why?"

"We're trying to turn the baby."

"Uh huh. Do you think that's really going to work?" (Did I mention she's gifted?)

"I don't know, it's just one of the things you can try if the baby's breech."

"Oh." She wanders out of the room, muttering something.

My husband comes back into the bedroom, completely dressed and shaved. He is finishing the knot on his tie. "Um, are you about ready to go?"

"NO! I'm not ready to go!" I scream, flinging the 5-pound flashlight in his direction.

"So should I just resign myself to being half an hour late to church again?"

My toddler son wanders over, picks up the flashlight, and walks out of the room. My husband takes one look at me and clears the room quickly.

Clearly, the flashlight idea isn't working.

Suggestion #3: Hot Cigar

One of the websites suggested holding a hot cigar against the appropriate acupressure point until mom starts to feel the burn, then quickly pulling the cigar away.

Um, just NO. Singeing mom with a hot cigar sounds worse than freezing me with frozen peas.

Suggestion #4: Dad Takes Command (Bwahahaha!)

Another suggestion is to have Daddy talk to the baby from "down there."

Instructions: Daddy speaks into mother's pubic area with a cute, sing-songy voice sounding something like this:

"Baby? Are you there? Hello. . . come to daddy!"

"Mommy would be much more comfortable if you would just turn around."

"It's time to be born baby, let's get you in position."

"I'm talking to YOU, baby—get down here right now!"

"I'm counting to three, and if you're not here by three, I'm coming in to get you! Don't make me come in there!"

Yeah, I have other children. I know the power of idle threats. . .

Suggestion #5: Dive in the Deep End

The best suggestion I saw, by far, was to go swimming and dive into the water. The idea is that the impact of the water will push the baby in the right direction.

Seems plausible, though I haven't tried it yet. Maybe that's why I still think it might work. And who knows? Maybe child number three will be a swimmer!

I'll try anything once or twice. . . except for that cigar thing.

More Professional Suggestions for Turning a Breech Baby

Here's a list of the more serious suggestions I tried, including my doctor's advice and suggestions from reputable sources. Keep in mind that even these professional methods may not work.

  • Open your pelvis. Whatever you are doing (sleeping, sitting, standing, etc.) stop for a moment to relax and reposition your body to allow for a wide-open pelvis. For example, sit up straight keeping both feet on the floor and make sure your knees don't come higher than your hips.
  • Do gentle yoga positions for 10 minutes, three times a day. As my doctor told me: Get down on the floor on your hands and knees, place your face and chest on the floor, and keep your bottom in the air for 10 minutes. You could also try the cat-cow position, the bridge, or the child's pose.
  • Side sleep with a pillow. Many healthcare providers say that sleeping on either your left or right side, with a large pillow between your legs, is the best position to create room for your baby to turn.
  • Take long walks. Walking briskly for at least a mile every day can help move the baby into the proper position. Take regular 20 to 25-minute walks.
  • Swim. The activity of swimming and the buoyancy of the water can help flip that baby.
  • Try prenatal massage. Find a massage therapist who is prenatal-certified.

Final Solutions

If none of these tricks and contortions work, there's no reason to despair. Your doctor will be able to help you.

  • External cephalic version (ECV). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests that ECV may help after 36 weeks. This is when the doctor uses their hands to pressure the baby into the proper position, but the procedure does have several risks and should only be attempted by a doctor who knows how to do it.
  • Schedule a cesarean or breech birth.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2008 Carolyn Augustine


Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on December 06, 2010:

My second baby girl took that breech position and I thought normal delivery was impossible. I was bundled by my tummy with a big cloth belt after each pre-natal checkup but the baby kept on returning to that breech.

But when my labor pains started, my doctor "timed" my labor intervals and with a big push from me and with both his hands on my bulge, he gave it a good turn around and lo and behold! My baby was out! It was risky, I was operated on after 1 month from delivery for blood clots that affected my appendix. It was removed along with the mass of blackened fat clots around my womb.

Kamran100 on June 30, 2010:

baby name is "jite"...hahahah

jite from delhi on May 02, 2010:

Wannabweatern ,You are a very good writer.It is very interesting.i am saying interesting bcoz ,today everything is fine.please tell what's the name of baby.

The Lion Queen on May 02, 2010:

Well I'm VERY late to this hub, but new to hubpages, that's my excuse. I'm an L&D RN, when performed correctly, and consistently, there's been reasonable success with turning breech babies with acupuncture. CHEAPER than a version, less painful, less risk. Great writing, BTW.

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on April 15, 2010:

That was then...Somehow during that pregnancy I was very active. This time (baby number 4) I've slowed down quite a bit. The hands-knees thing WAS uncomfortable.

LondonGirl from London on April 12, 2010:

Ouch, ouch! I'm impressed you could do any of that stuff - when i was 9 months pregnant, I couldn't have done the hands-knees thing, i reckon (-:

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on February 19, 2010:

Thanks Dixie W and Dewey, I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Dixie, did your baby turn on his or her own, or did you go swimming, too? That was actually very effective for me.

Dewey, life and flashlights have never been the same after three children. They have a way of disappearing here too. But then if I could hide away all the things I wish my children would leave alone, I'd have to build a secret wing in my house! Oh, and I'm so glad to give you something to laugh about. Glad you liked it.

Dewey Cheatem on February 18, 2010:

I also enjoyed this Hub. Your sense of humor had me sitting here reading and outright laughing. Especially funny to me was your toddler son wanting the flashlight right then and now. I have to hide flashlights around this house so when I actually need one the batteries haven't been drained from kids leaving them on after playing with them.

Good luck to your family.

Dixie W from Odessa, Texas on February 17, 2010:

My daughter was breech for eight and a half months and the worst aspect of that was she kicked me in the bladder each and every time she kicked. Had to carry extra clothes everywhere. When she turned she didn't go the short route but the long one all the way around. I was sleeping (2a.m.) and she woke me. Kind of funny now but wasn't then. Dixie W

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on February 05, 2010:

Thank you John, I'm glad you enjoyed the humor. I like your profile pic too!

John Harper from Malaga, Spain on February 05, 2010:

This is a very humorous hub, loved it, and glad it all turned out fine!


Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on January 28, 2010:

Thank you denraya. Baby not only turned out fine, but is now a thriving and mischievous toddler. Still, sometimes she seems to enjoy being upside down. I think the version procedure sounded extremely uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the baby. The big issue for me was that if the baby didn't turn around, the doc said I would have to get a C-Section. That was a really big deal for me because I was footing all of the costs for that pregnancy. Many midwives disagree with doctors about this--it is a controversial topic. Everything turned out great though, and the flips in the swimming pool helped me to avoid a C-Section.

denraya from GA on January 27, 2010:

Completely hillarious...glad your baby turned out fine...they tried to stick a probe in my mom just before I was born...she had the foresight (like you) not to let them touch her...sometimes I think doctor's are just in there playing around

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on January 21, 2010:

Carolina, thanks. It was grotesquely comical at the time, and I still look back and have a laugh. But isn't it a sad statement about healthcare? At least I didn't try voodoo. Though I might have, if I thought it would work.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on January 20, 2010:

This was an interesting and amusing post!

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on November 04, 2009:

Thanks. That's a pricey way to pay for writer's block, though. I assume that's the kind of blockage you meant.

abcd1111 from Glen Ellyn, IL (Chicago suburb) on November 04, 2009:

Congrats on turning and delivering your baby! This was nicely written and simply amusing. Keep it up!

If you find yourself getting blocked, just have another baby.

Thanks for the fun.

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on October 22, 2009:

Elayne, she turned on her own after I went swimming! I was overjoyed. The baby is now actually 15 months old. I wrote most of my pregnancy stuff close to when I joined HP. Thanks for the very flattering compliment. The only books I have published are a cookbook I did for my grandmother and some technical manuals I wrote before 1999 when I worked at Intel for 5 years. I'd love to publish, though. It is a worthy dream.

Elayne from Rocky Mountains on October 22, 2009:

Loved your hub - so did the baby come out alright or did you have to C-section? I hope you write books because you are a natural.

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on October 20, 2009:

There's something perversely satisfying to know that my pain and suffering could be so hysterically funny. But it is. I always have a laugh when I look at this. After I went swimming and tried all those other strange things, the baby turned on her on. I am so thankful to have avoided a C-section. We didn't have maternity insurance at the time. My baby is now a toddler and she is oddly attracted to frozen vegetables and flashlights.

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on October 20, 2009:

Oh thank you for sharing that.!!!I have tears running down my face from laughing. You must be what we British would call a real good sport. I can remember feeling like a hippopotamus before my daughter was born . You did well to even TRY some of the suggestions. I wish you well

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on October 03, 2009:

Thanks OTmommy, I was very very fortunate not to experience the version procedure at the hospital. That procedure can cause harm to the baby in rare instances, and babies frequently turn around after the procedure is performed. If I have any more children (it's not in the stars), I will probably use a midwife.

OTmommy from Southern USA on October 02, 2009:

Cute story! Glad you didn't need any extra procedures. It does seem that anything done during the last month of pregnancy is difficult, much less some of things you were asked to do to help the baby turn.

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on September 03, 2009:

I'm glad I jogged your memory and look forward to reading your hub, RN! In my case, I'm so grateful we finally got her turned around and was able to deliver without a c-section, and it wasn't too bad of a delivery. Did you have to drive through the blizzard to get to the hospital? I am intrigued!

Barbara Bethard from Tucson, Az on September 03, 2009:

oh my this one is fantastic!! our baby girl (now 26) was double footling breech and dorcacephalic and I am CPD cervical pelvic disproportionate...I was so pissed at the OB...wasn't it his fault after all? hes the one who diagnosed it! that i refused to let him set the c section date :) and Katie Baby...yes she is katherine Elizabeth...came in a blizzard on 022783/rather I went into labor and the MD took her out on 022783... :( but she was worth it! and now your Evie is too isn't she!!! hey wannabwestern ok with you if I write out my story on a hubpage? stirred some memories :)

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on August 28, 2009:

Thank you!

LVM on August 27, 2009:

I enjoyed reading the hub, humorous yet informative. Thanks for a great hub.

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on August 17, 2009:

Well, I suppose there are illegal ways to do it your way, but I think the obnoxious pain and suffering are nature's insurance policy against, you know, getting tired of the little person when they arrive. LOL!

Cheers, and thanks.

Davinagirl3 on August 17, 2009:

Wonderful hub. Isn't pregnancy interesting? I wish I could just get a baby. I want to have another one, but AM NOT looking forward to the pregnancy "thing".

LondonGirl from London on January 10, 2009:

ouch! you are a very funny writer.

RUTHIE17 on June 05, 2008:

Great Hub! Love your writing style. Chuckled all the way through it!

Best of luck with your new little one--hope everything stays where it's supposed to!

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on June 03, 2008:

Thanks, MasonsMom. I'm hoping the baby stays in head-down position now. We are self-paying for our delivery and I have a toddler at home. A C-Section would drastically complicate my life. We are counting our blessings that the baby turned last week.

MasonsMom from U.S.A. on June 03, 2008:

Although I'm not a nurse, I work at a women's hospital in the Labor & Delivery dept. External versions are semi-common around there. I had no idea they even did such a thing until I started working there. Many times it works, so don't lose faith! Best of luck to you!

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on June 03, 2008:

Thanks, glassvisage and Misha! I was ecstatic to learn I didn't need the expensive and uncomfortable procedure! Your well-wishes mean a lot!

glassvisage from Northern California on June 03, 2008:

Thanks for keeping us up-to-date... such an interesting situation that I knew nothing about but now do!

Misha from DC Area on May 31, 2008:

Wow! These are good news! Conratulations - and we keep fingers crossed for you! :)

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on May 31, 2008:

The baby turned! I am really relieved! No VERSION at the hospital, and for now, no c-section! Just wanted to share my good news with anyone reading the comments!

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on May 28, 2008:

Thanks, Zsuzsy,

I haven't tried head-stands, but I'm hoping my friend will allow me to use her pool. I think I would try that while in the water. Friday I'll find out if all these crazy schemes have helped the baby to turn.

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on May 27, 2008:

Good luck to you wannabwestern! You have the right attitude. You haven't tried head-stands have you? (I had a portugese neighbor and she kept suggesting headstands to my other neighbor to turn the baby. It wasn't quite what Jess wanted to do either but she tried anyway, just in case) I have a feeling that the baby would have turned anyway but ....

Great hub regards Zsuzsy

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on May 26, 2008:

Thanks all! I am keeping positive and doing everything I can to help the situation along. :)

William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on May 26, 2008:

I knew there was an advantage in being of the male species! Well said, wannabwestern, and good luck.

In The Doghouse from California on May 26, 2008:


Oh my goodness! I hope that baby gets headed in the right direction soon! Good luck...

kerryg from USA on May 26, 2008:

This is hilarious. Good luck with getting that baby turned!

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on May 26, 2008:

Annette, I didn't try the cigar thing, but I did try the frozen vegetables and the flashlight trick. They seemed less complicated than doing the yoga thing on the floor. I'm looking forward to going swimming sometime this week! With the high cost of health care, I'm willing to try some different things if it means avoiding time at the hospital.

Ann Martin on May 26, 2008:

absolutley hilarious. I can't believe you actually tried those things out!

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on May 25, 2008:

Thank you for your positive comments, Misha and jacobworld! Humor is the ONLY way to deal with pregnancy.

Jakub Wawrzyniak from Ireland on May 25, 2008:

good reading mate . Great fun

Misha from DC Area on May 25, 2008:

LOL and ouch for you at the same time! I commend you for keeping sense of humor in such a difficult situation, this is definitely fun reading.

I hope your baby turns before it's time to get out. Good luck! :)