Breech Position In Babies: Causes, Complications & Delivery

Breech Position In Babies: Causes, Complications & Delivery

16 Aug 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 625 Articles

A breech baby is when the baby is positioned head-up in the woman’s uterus. The feet are pointed towards the birth canal in such pregnancies. In a normal pregnancy, the baby will automatically turn inside the womb into a head-down position and get ready for birth. Therefore, a breech pregnancy presents challenges for both the mum and the baby.

Breech position in babies is common in early pregnancy and most babies usually move to a head-first position by 36 weeks of pregnancy. However, there are some cases where the baby does not move into a head-first position. Plus, medical research suggests that about 3-4% of all pregnancies result in breech babies. Read on to know more.

What Are The Causes Of A Breech Pregnancy?

Although the doctors can’t say exactly why breech pregnancies occur, the American Pregnancy Association suggests behind a breech pregnancy. Some of these are:

  • If the expecting woman has had several pregnancies in the past
  • If the woman had pregnancies with multiples
  • If the  woman had a history of delivering prematurely in the past
  • If the uterus has too much or too little amniotic fluid, leaving an extra room for the baby to move around in or not enough fluid to move around in
  • If the woman’s shape of the uterus is not normal or if there are fibroids in the uterus
  • If the woman has placenta previa

Does A Breech Baby Affect Pregnancy?

Although most breech babies are born healthy, there is a slightly elevated risk for certain birth defects. The little one’s movements might feel a little different and you will feel your baby’s kicks lower in your belly. You might also feel a hard lump closer to your ribs. This lump is your baby’s head.

When your baby is in a breech position, vaginal delivery can be complicated. Such cases call for a Caesarean birth (C-section).

breech
An ultrasound scan can identify your baby’s position. | Image Source: pexels

How Is A Breech Baby Diagnosed?

Almost all babies are in a breech position at some point and as your pregnancy progresses, your baby naturally moves to a head-down position between 32 and 36 weeks. However, after 37 weeks, a breech baby usually does not turn on its own.

Your doctor might be able to tell which way your baby is facing by placing his/ her hands at certain places on your abdomen. They can identify and feel where the baby’s head, back and buttocks are. An ultrasound scan is then recommended to confirm the baby’s position.

breech position in pregnancy
According to a report using essential oils on the expecting mum’s stomach stimulated the breech baby to turn on its own. | Image Source: pexels

Are There Ways To Turn A Breech Baby?

Once you have found that your baby is in a breech position, the doctor will most likely recommend scheduling a C-section. However, there are also ways to turn a breech baby and the success rates for turning a breech baby depend on the reason your baby is breech. Some of the ways are:

  • External version (EV): During this procedure, your doctor will try to manually turn your baby into the cephalic position by manipulating the baby with his/ her hands through your stomach. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggests that EVs to turn your breech baby are successful only about half of the time.
  • Essential oil: It has been reported by some expecting mums that using essential oils like peppermint on their stomachs stimulated the baby to turn on its own. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor before using essential oils during pregnancy.
  • Inversion: A popular method for expecting mums to turn breech babies is by inverting their bodies to encourage the baby to flip. You can use different methods like standing on your hands in a swimming pool, propping up your hips with pillows, or even using the stairs to help elevate the pelvis.

The good news is that most babies who are in a breech position are born without any health complications.

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