Heads-up! What to expect when baby’s bottom-down


Breech babies – what you need to know

Pregnant woman with ultrasound

When it comes to childbirth, the best advice we can give a mom-to-be is to expect the unexpected. A due date may come and go with no sign of labor. A natural delivery may leave you begging for an epidural – and a baby may never get into the correct birthing position in the first place. If the latter should happen, and your little one is labeled breech, here’s what you need to know:

What is breech?

A breech baby is one who never turns head-down inside the womb. In the early stages, most fetuses are bottom-down, but tend to turn before birth. Babies who enter the last weeks of pregnancy bottom-or feet-down may be headed for a surgical delivery. While vaginal birth is possible, the risks associated with it push most hospitals to mandate Cesarean sections. For this reason, many doctors no longer receive proper training to deliver breech babies vaginally.

What’s the cause?

There are several reasons a baby may be in the breech position. An ultrasound may help your doctor or midwife pin the problem on one of these issues:

  • Abnormal levels of amniotic fluid
  • Shape of your uterus
  • Position of the placenta
  • Large baby


How is it diagnosed?

Early on in your pregnancy, your doctor or midwife likely won’t pay too much mind to your little one’s positioning. As your pregnancy progresses and your uterus and baby grow, your health care provider will be able to feel for your little one’s head. He or she will do this by placing his or her hands on your lower abdomen and feeling for your baby’s head around your pelvis. To confirm positioning, your doctor or midwife may also order an ultrasound to have a better idea of where your baby is resting.

What can you do?

One out of 25 babies begin labor in the breech position. It’s important to note that most of these babies are born healthy and safely and that the positioning is not cause for concern. But because a breech birth limits your options for delivery, you may want to consider encouraging your little one to reposition. There are natural methods galore if you simply search for them online. There’s very little evidence-based research behind them and results vary. Acupuncture may be of assistance – and some moms-to-be even have luck visiting a chiropractor to help with positioning

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