Turn a Breech Baby Naturally (Moms, Don't Try This at Home)

Updated on April 27, 2018
wannabwestern profile image

Carolyn worked as a technical writer, software user interface designer, and as a gig writer wayyyy before it was hip.

Summary

A baby in breech position can be a problem during the third trimester of pregnancy, posing issues with a natural vaginal delivery. Complications from the baby's improper positioning can pose damage to the unborn baby. 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 an external version and 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 Baby Position

Normally, babies are in a head-down position during childbirth.
Normally, babies are in a head-down position during childbirth. | Source

Baby in Breech Position

Baby shown in breech position.
Baby shown in breech position. | Source

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

Last week, a few days before my visit to the obstetrician, I noticed something peculiar going on in my stomach. 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 at your stomach to see how things are going.

(I lift up my shirt for the medical exam)

Doctor: Everything looks great, there's a baby inside there for sure!

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

Doctor: Wait! What's this? I think I feel your baby's head....Uh oh! 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?

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 apppointment.

Me: Worry? Why worry? 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 leave the doctor's appointment feeling anxious and dejected. They really want me to do that?

There on the floor of my living room, with my bottom poking into the air, I think, there MUST be a better way! I sit up slowly, waiting for the blood to rush back into the correct places, and go online to search for some answers.

On the midwives' web site, here are some of the suggestions I read:

A pleasant, warm bath AND a bag of frozen vegetables might shock the baby into turning naturally. But what about mom?
A pleasant, warm bath AND a bag of frozen vegetables might shock the baby into turning naturally. But what about mom? | Source

Sit In a Bathtub of Warm Water

Suggestion #1: Sit in a bathtub of warm water...

Ok, doesn't sound too bad...

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?!!

Babies have an aversion to the 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 my skin is developing a case of 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 that one up? Maybe I'll try something else.

A recommended "natural" solution to my  unborn baby's acrobatics is to hold a flashlight "down there" and call her name. Yeah, right.
A recommended "natural" solution to my unborn baby's acrobatics is to hold a flashlight "down there" and call her name. Yeah, right. | Source

My husband wants you to know that I used "A LITTLE" poetic license while writing this hub. But he did make me hold the flashlight myself.

Go to the light, baby, go to the light!

Suggestion #2: Go to the light, baby, go to the light!

Get a powerful flashlight, and point it toward your pelvis, placing the end of the light right against your skin. I've just finished my bath and have toweled off. 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. We figure that it might help to have "gravity do the work" again, so my husband props my hips up onto 4 pillows, all stacked together, hands me the flashlight, and walks over to the sink in our bathroom to brush his teeth.

"What are you doing?"

"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 one of those ancient, older-than-time-put-out-woman sighs, 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.

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

Toddler boy 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.

"OH"

"...Well, ok, I need to finish getting ready for church now. Maybe you need to hold it a little lower"

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 back into the bedroom.

"Uh, mom, what are you doing?"

"Nevermind."

"No, seriously, what are you doing?"

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

"Oh....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."

My daughter gets a dark, clouded look on her face. "What does breech mean?"

"It means the baby's head is where her feet should be."

"Oh." She wanders out 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 to his father, picks up the flashlight, and walks out the room with it. My husband takes one look at me and clears the room quickly.

Clearly the flashlight idea isn't working.

More Bizarre Natural Suggestions

Suggestion #3: Hot Cigar

Back on the midwives' website, I read a few more suggestions. One is to hold a hot cigar against the appropriate acupressure point until mom starts to feel the burning sensation, then quickly pull 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 (Ba ha ha ha ha!)

Another suggestion is to have Daddy talk to the baby from "down there" Daddy speaks into mother's pubic area with a cute, sing-songy voice would sound something like this:

"Baby? BA-BY. Are you there?"

"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."

"Come on, baby..."

"I'm talking to YOU baby, get over here!"

After no response...

"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, Go For a Swim

The best suggestion I saw, by far, was to go swimming and DIVE into the water. 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!

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

Going for a swim might be a less extreme solution than some of the other crazy ideas I saw.
Going for a swim might be a less extreme solution than some of the other crazy ideas I saw. | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2008 Carolyn Augustine

    Comments

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    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      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 profile image

      Kamran100 

      8 years ago

      baby name is "jite"...hahahah

    • jite profile image

      jite 

      8 years ago from delhi

      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.

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 

      8 years ago

      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.

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      LondonGirl 

      8 years ago from London

      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 (-:

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      Dewey Cheatem 

      8 years ago

      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 profile image

      Dixie W 

      8 years ago from Odessa, Texas

      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

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

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

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 

      8 years ago from Malaga, Spain

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

      John

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      denraya 

      8 years ago from GA

      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

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      This was an interesting and amusing post!

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

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

    • abcd1111 profile image

      abcd1111 

      8 years ago from Glen Ellyn, IL (Chicago suburb)

      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.

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 

      8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      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.

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      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

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      OTmommy 

      8 years ago from Southern USA

      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.

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      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 :)

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      Thank you!

    • LVM profile image

      LVM 

      8 years ago

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

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      Davinagirl3 

      8 years ago

      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 profile image

      LondonGirl 

      9 years ago from London

      ouch! you are a very funny writer.

    • profile image

      RUTHIE17 

      10 years ago

      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!

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      MasonsMom 

      10 years ago from U.S.A.

      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!

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      glassvisage 

      10 years ago from Northern California

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

    • Misha profile image

      Misha 

      10 years ago from DC Area

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

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

      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!

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

      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 profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      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

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

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

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

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

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      western,

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

    • kerryg profile image

      kerryg 

      10 years ago from USA

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

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

      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.

    • Annette Rozen profile image

      Ann Martin 

      10 years ago

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

    • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

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

    • jacobworld profile image

      Jakub Wawrzyniak 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      good reading mate . Great fun

    • Misha profile image

      Misha 

      10 years ago from DC Area

      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! :)

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