Help! My Baby is Breech!
Learn how chiropractic care may play a role with optimal baby positioning.
What is breech presentation?
Breech presentation is when the baby is positioned in the belly with their head up by mom's ribcage and their butt, one foot, or both feet down in mom's pelvis.
Throughout early pregnancy, it is considered normal for the baby to be in many positions as they grow and develop, but around 35 weeks weeks of pregnancy is when most babies will move into the head down position. Babies that do not move head down are then considered breech. If your baby is breech, there is a chance that baby will move head down on their own, with body work, and/or professional help. Some babies may even wait until labor begins to flip head down. Breech babies can be born vaginally or surgically and your team of birth providers can help you to choose what is best for you and your baby.
There are a variety of reasons that may cause a breech presentation; physiological, structural, or even emotional components may be involved. Furthermore, some babies may be unable to move head down due to an imbalance in mom's pelvis. Imbalances in the pelvis can affect the soft tissue that is within and surrounding the pelvis (ie: the uterus, muscles, ligaments, etc).
What causes an imbalance?
Imbalances are a part of being human. Our bodies adapt and change to the stressors we encounter in every day life. Many of today's daily activities are one sided. For example, most people drive their car using only their right foot. Other instances that may lead to imbalance are crossing your legs, previous injuries, car accidents, carrying items repeatedly on one side (other children, large bags, heavy purses), and other repetitive activities that you do every day.
Additionally, humans are energetic beings. Some of the stress that we deal with daily comes from emotions. For instance, these can be thoughts or worries we have during the day, arguments or anger, and more. Emotions can become "stuck or trapped" in our body. A common philosophy from yoga is that feelings like fear, sadness, and worry are commonly trapped in the hip region. These trapped feelings may create tension in the body and that tension may lead to imbalance.
What options are there to try to improve baby's position?
Working to restore balance and ease in the pelvis and body may allow baby the best chance to change positions on their own. The following recommendations can offer assistance in moving towards balance:
Chiropractic Care Chiropractic works with your nervous system to help your brain and body connect and communicate. Chiropractic adjustments aid your body in relieving discomfort and releasing stress. The chiropractic Webster Technique is designed to assess and address imbalances surrounding the pelvis to restore balance to the bones, muscles, and ligaments. A balanced pelvis reduces undue stress to the uterus and to the attached muscles and ligaments. For more informations see: The Webster Technique
Other Body Work Massage therapy and acupuncture may also be helpful in assisting the body to release tension and stress.
Home Activities Programs like Spinning Babies and The Miles Circuit provide useful activities to perform at home (or with guidance from birth provider, chiropractor, or doula). There are many activities that are useful for helping the body to relax and release. This may allow for baby to move into the best position. Combining home activities such as these with chiropractic care makes for an excellent duo!
De-stress Some tension that gets stuck in the body can be from emotional stress like; worry or fear. Finding practices that suit you to de-stress can help you to release that tension. Some ideas are journaling, meditation, visualization, talking out loud about your worries or fears to another person or therapist, to your baby.
External Cephalic Version (EVC) This procedure may be recommended by your birth provider to manually turn your baby from breech to head down while still in the uterus. Many women choose to try chiropractic, body work, and/or home activities before an EVC.
These are some of the tools that people use to try to help their baby move into the optimal position for birth. While we can coax and encourage baby to move into the optimal position, there may be factors that are keeping baby from being able to flip head down. It is important to remember that you and your baby are in this dance of pregnancy and birth together and that your body was designed to do this.
If you are looking for a prenatal chiropractor near you, please use the Find A Chiropractor tool at the ICPA 4 Kids website.