Baby Is Breech! Now What?

Can I Help the Baby Turn?

A quick search on the Internet will lead you to a host of different suggestions for getting your baby to turn head down. Some of them make sense, intuitively, while others seem outright ridiculous.
 
Do any of these tricks really work? There isn't any evidence that postural management or any other "at-home" maneuvers really help. Most of what you read on the Internet comes from women's personal experiences. Remember that many babies turn spontaneously, which may explain some of the success stories for these alternative strategies.
 
Still want to try one of these methods? Use common sense. If it appears to be safe and isn't uncomfortable, give it a try. If you're not sure, just ask your healthcare provider.
 

What About an External Cephalic Version?

If you've reached 36 weeks and your baby is still breech, your doctor may suggest an external cephalic version (ECV), a "hands-to-belly" maneuver where the doctor tries externally to get the baby to turn head down. At first, this may sound like an easy, painless, in-office procedure.
 
Unfortunately, ECVs are neither easy nor painless, and they can't be done in your doctor's office, for several reasons. You may need a medication (given by injection) to relax your uterus, the baby must be monitored constantly, and the ECV must be performed where an emergency C-section can be performed immediately if anything goes wrong.
 
There's no guarantee that an ECV will be successful. Often, ECVs don't work, either because the baby just won't turn, or because the baby turns head down but then flips back to being head up.
 
Doctors often describe ECVs as being "uncomfortable." However, women who have had them often describe the procedure as being excruciating. The amount of discomfort or pain a particular woman experiences will depend on individual pain tolerances, the skill level of the doctor, how "stubborn" the baby is, and how long the woman and the doctor are willing to keep trying.
 
Sometimes, an epidural may be used. Although this adds expense and time to the procedure, it significantly increases the odds for success.
 
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