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What Happens If My Baby Is Breech?

Pregnancy is a journey filled with anticipation and excitement, but it can also come with unexpected twists. One such twist is when a baby presents in the breech position, meaning their bottom or feet are positioned to exit the birth canal first instead of the head. This deviation from the typical head-down position can raise concerns for expectant parents and healthcare professionals alike.

Types of Presentation

Breech presentation comes in different forms:

  • Complete Breech: The baby’s buttocks are positioned to exit the birth canal first, with legs folded at the knees and feet near the buttocks.
  • Frank Breech: The baby’s buttocks are positioned to exit the birth canal first, with legs extended upward towards the head.
  • Footling Breech: One or both of the baby’s feet are positioned to exit the birth canal first.


While the exact cause of breech presentation isn’t always clear, certain factors may increase the likelihood, including:


Breech presentation is typically diagnosed during routine prenatal visits through physical examination and ultrasound imaging.

Risks Associated with Breech Birth

It can increase the risk of complications during childbirth, including:

  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Birth injuries
  • Umbilical cord compression
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Delayed delivery of the head

Options for Managing Breech Presentation

This involves careful consideration of the risks and benefits associated with different delivery methods:

  • External Cephalic Version (ECV): A procedure where healthcare providers attempt to manually turn the baby into a head-down position externally.
  • Vaginal Breech Birth: Some healthcare providers are skilled in delivering breech babies vaginally, but this approach carries certain risks.
  • Caesarean Section: Surgical delivery via caesarean section is often recommended to minimise risks to both the baby and mother.

Factors Influencing the Decision-Making Process

The decision on how to proceed depends on various factors, including the baby’s position, gestational age, maternal health, and healthcare professional expertise.

Techniques for Turning a Breech Baby

Several techniques may help encourage a baby to turn head-down:

  • Forward-Leaning Inversion: A gentle technique involving an inverted position to encourage the baby to move.
  • Acupuncture and Moxibustion: Traditional Chinese medicine practices that may promote foetal movement.
  • Chiropractic Care: Gentle adjustments by a qualified chiropractor may help alleviate pelvic misalignment and encourage optimal foetal positioning.

Risks and Benefits of Attempting a Vaginal Breech Birth

While some women may choose to attempt a vaginal birth, it’s important to understand the potential risks and benefits associated with this approach, including the increased risk of birth complications.

Caesarean Section: Procedure and Recovery

In cases where a vaginal birth is not recommended or possible, a caesarean section may be performed. This surgical procedure involves making an incision in the abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby safely.

Importance of Discussing Birth Preferences with Doctors

Open communication with doctors about birth preferences, concerns, and options is important for expectant parents.

Emotional Aspects

This can evoke a range of emotions, from anxiety and fear to empowerment and resilience. It’s essential for expectant parents to seek support and information to cope with these feelings.

What to Expect During and After

During a breech birth, healthcare professionals closely monitor both the baby and mother for any signs of distress or complications. After delivery, additional care may be needed for both mother and baby to ensure a smooth recovery.

Postpartum Care for Mother and Baby

Following a breech birth, postpartum care focuses on monitoring for any complications, providing support for breastfeeding and bonding, and addressing any physical or emotional concerns.

While it can introduce challenges during childbirth, it’s essential to remember that there are various options and support available to ensure a safe and positive birthing experience for both mother and baby.


Can a breech baby turn on its own before birth?

Yes, some babies may spontaneously turn head-down before birth, especially during the third trimester.

Is it safe to attempt a vaginal breech birth?

Vaginal breech births can be safe under certain circumstances and with skilled healthcare professionals, but they carry higher risks compared to caesarean delivery.

What happens if a breech baby isn’t turned before birth?

Depending on various factors, including the baby’s position and gestational age, healthcare professionals may recommend a caesarean section to reduce the risk of complications.

Are there exercises I can do to encourage my baby to turn head-down?

Some exercises and techniques, such as pelvic tilts and the breech tilt, may help encourage optimal foetal positioning, but it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting them.

What should I do if my baby is still breech close to my due date?

If your baby remains breech close to your due date, discuss your options with your healthcare professional, including the possibility of an external cephalic version or scheduling a caesarean section.

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