Turning Breech Babies After 34 Weeks: The If, How, and When of Turning Breech Babies

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 83, Autumn 2007. Join Midwifery Today Online Membership Abstract: Techniques for turning a term breech baby are 1). external cephalic version (ECV) using hands and ultrasound only; 2). acupuncture point stimulation, by needle or moxibustion; 3). chiropractic “Webster” technique; 4). hypnotherapy; and 5). special exercises. Fifty % of breech fetuses at 34 weeks will turn by themselves to head down by 38 weeks. Therefore, to be considered effective, a technique for turning breech must turn the baby and keep it turned more than 50% of the time. Only ECV with an experienced practitioner has been documented to have a greater than 50% success rate at 37 weeks; in 95% of cases the head stays down. Most women experience the fetus turning by hand as quick but very painful. “Unstable lie” is sometimes used as a baseless excuse for inducing labor after the baby turns from breech to head down. ([email protected]) Even before the 2001 recommendation by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that all breech babies be delivered by cesarean, the cesarean rate for singleton breech births was 85% overall, 90% for first-time mothers and 77% for subsequent breech births. In 2006, an amendment to the ACOG recommendation noted that vaginal breech delivery may still be a viable option with a caregiver who has lots of experience, strict hospital protocols and a patient who clearly understands the risks. The best way to avoid being a participant in the vaginal breech birth controversy is to have a baby in head down position! By 34 weeks, 92% of babies are head down. The head is the heaviest part of the fetus and naturally gravitates down because gravity pulls it down. The buttocks are lighter and bulkier. The legs kick, an… Read more…. Turning Breech Babies After 34 Weeks: The If, How, and When of Turning Breech Babies

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About Author: Judy Slome Cohain

Judy Slome Cohain, CNM, has run All the Way Homebirth practice in Israel since 1983. She would love to hear from women who have tried to change a positive GBS culture to a negative one by using garlic. Please email with the outcomes, which will be collected for future research.

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