Turning my Breech Baby Boy…
As most of you know I am expecting my third baby this weekend, I’m due on Sunday. I am proud mum to Clodagh 4 and Orlagh 2, and this is a little boy who I am dying to meet. Both Clodagh and Orlagh arrived into the world at 40+1, so I am hoping he does not leave me waiting as I have never been known for my patience or ability to quietly wait for things to happen.
I have had a great pregnancy so far, thankfully uneventful, and no aches or pains to which I credit keeping strong with Yoga, Pilates and Weight Training. I have also been doing my GentleBirth Hypnobirthing (which I have done on all 3 pregnancies) so I am confident I have my head in a good place for the labour and birth.
Ideally, from 30 weeks, (or earlier) for first time mums, and 32-34 weeks for subsequent pregnancies, we would like to see our little bundles, tucked neatly into a head down position. This is not only best position for baby but most comfortable for mum.
My little man had other ideas, I have written below how he chose to lie at my various appointments and what I did to help convince him to get into the best position for us to have a vaginal birth.
Until 37 weeks my little man was taking full advantage of my “spacious”, third time around womb and was described as “unstable breech”. Here are my tips for getting your baby head down and you can read my story below….
Top Tips for Breech Turn:
- Find out what way your baby is lying from 30 weeks on
- Sit on and lie over your big ball
- Sit in reverse straddling kitchen chairs and lean against your arms and upper body against the back rest
- Spend time on your hands and knees arching and dipping your back and doing circles with your pelvis
- Keep your pelvic floor exercises going and your body strong
- Do inversions only if you have a strong pre-pregnancy practice
- Swim and float in water
- From 34 weeks GET ACUPUNCTURE and try Moxibustion Sticks (http://babysteps.ie/pregnancy/)
- Check out http://spinningbabies.com/ and the positions that they recommend
- Talk to your baby and rub your baby the way you want it to go down
- And the 2 that for me I found the most difficult:
- Trust your body and your baby, believing that everything is as it should be
Me and My Boys Story…..
22 week scan Transverse Lie (normal at this stage)
- I wasn’t too bothered, just so happy and grateful that we were going to be welcoming a baby boy and that his scan looked happy and healthy.
24 weeks apt GP Transverse Lie (again normal on a third pregnancy)
- Both my girls were head down at this stage so I felt the urge to get things moving so I started doing inversions. As a yoga teacher I have a strong yoga practice so I incorporated headstands into my day, just holding 10-15 breaths, 3 times a day and kept this going until I got the all clear that he had moved down at 37 weeks. (If you do not normally do headstands, pregnancy is not the time to start experimenting with this!!!) This is a head stand at 37 weeks, my feet are actually resting against a glass door to help my balance.
28 weeks apt Coombe Oblique Lie (I was starting to get worried)
- Even though everyone around you tells you that you have lots of time, and I guess they are right as it took 9 more weeks for my little man to go head down, I started looking at http://spinningbabies.com/ and kept going with my headstands.
30 weeks GP visit and I went for a private scan as I knew my bump felt awkward and he was Frank Breech
- By 30 weeks, 75% of babies are head down. I knew that my bump and comfort level felt different so I went for a private scan to check things out. We were again grateful and delighted that our little man was healthy and reaching all his milestones, however he was in a Frank Breech position with his cute little feet up on front of his face. I went off on holidays, kept going with my headstands, threw in some swimming into my weekly exercise and made a conscious effort not to slouch, recline or sit on the couch opting to sit on the big ball instead.
32 weeks apt Coombe still Frank Breech
- This was the first time that the Midwives in the Coombe (who I love and have had 2 fantastic births with) started to talk about options if he doesn’t move! The big concern with delivering a breech baby vaginally is that the placenta or the cord will deliver first, making it life threatening for the baby so a caesarean section is preferable to this. I upped my swimming and ball time.
34 weeks apt Coombe Transverse Lie
As my baby was breech the Coombe recommended that instead of seeing my GP that I see them for each appointment so that we could keep an eye on what was happening. I went for my 34 week appointment and my little man had moved, from Frank Breech to Transverse. This was the most uncomfortable lie as I felt like he was trying to burst out of the sides of my body. I could no longer hold plank, and my bump changed shape from being pointy at the front to bursting out the sides.
At this point I turned to Lisa Morrissey, a fantastic Acupuncturist and owner of http://babysteps.ie/.
I regularly use Lisa for aches or ailments, and had been with her through my previous 2 pregnancies but now I needed her for some serious baby turning magic!
Lisa uses Acupuncture with the herb Moxibustion to work on getting baby to turn head down. She then provides you with your own Moxibustion sticks to take home and burn at your baby toes for 10 consecutive days, for approximately 20 minutes.
I did this diligently and added in hanging upside down off either my couch or the much more comfy option a large bean bag for 20 mins before bed (getting the hips and pelvis higher than the bump). This was a tip I got from spinning babies, they also recommend using your ironing board against your couch and hanging upside down by at 35 weeks with a transverse baby getting in or out of this is impossible!!
36 weeks apt Coombe Transverse Lie
I went to the Coombe for my 36 week appointment, and while I was thrilled that baby was good size and we were both fit and healthy, I couldn’t help being upset that he was still transverse. Trying to encourage him to go head down was becoming an obsession. It was literally keeping me awake googling tips and tricks, getting into weirder positions, shunning couches, chairs etc.
Again the midwives in the Coombe were excellent, they did say that babies can move, stay positive, relax, forget about it, everything happens for a reason, third time mum you still have space etc. We chatted through options and as I was on my third baby and my womb was “more spacious and less elastic” than a first time mum they booked me in for a scan the following week and if favourable an ECV (where the doctor manually turns the baby through the abdominal wall). My mum has 5 babies and her last 3 were all transverse and were all manually turned (sometimes they popped straight back into their original position) so I was happy with to try the ECV. They do warn you though that if you are going to try it, come with your bags packed, in case they need to do an emergency c-section.
37 weeks apt Coombe Head Down
In the week between 36 and 37 weeks I had a very busy week. I had to sort out getting all my classes covered and prepare to be able to take maternity leave if necessary a week earlier than planned.
I had 2 further Acupuncture sessions with Lisa just to give it a last whirl. I swam, stood on my head, listened to breech turning hypnobirthing tracks, hung upside down, prayed, lit candles, sent good vibes out to the universe, talked to my baby, put frozen peas on my bump, went to my Reiki Master Maria for Reiki and healing, literally tried any and every suggestion to give my little man the final nudge to get down.
My appointment was on a Tuesday and the Monday night I felt a huge tsunami like movement in my tummy and I woke convinced the bump looked different (I was obsessed at this stage and I was reading into everything). Eugene and I went to the Coombe for our appointment, we saw the midwife first who thought that he might have flipped down, then to see the Doctor for our scan, the Doctor had a feel before the scan and thought that he was bum down head up, he popped the jelly on my tummy, turned on his scanner and magical miracle he was head down.
I tried everything so I am not sure what worked, maybe it was all down to Mother Nature. However my top tips for getting your baby head down would be:
- Know where your baby is lying
- Sit on your ball and spend time on your hands and knees from 30 weeks
- Start acupuncture at 34 weeks
38 and 39 weeks apts still head down and ready to go!!!!
….all that’s left is to guess what day he will make his appearance and I get to see his face and snuggle and squeeze him! Watch this space, hopefully not for too long!