Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spinning Babies

This is the name of the fabulous website, one of my new "old favorites", all about helping baby's position in-utero, and learning about baby mapping. Today is all about breech babies (or transverse, or posterior) and some general tips about what to do if you find yourself with a breech baby. With a chiropractic slant, since that is what I do.

I would like to say before I start that this information is not to be construed as medical advice, so please ask your doctor or health care professional if this is appropriate for you, and of course, every one's health situation is different. But I will say a little on the subject because I hear so much about this on a daily or weekly basis. This will not include everything out there, but touch on the areas that I am most familiar with.

In my office I see moms who are pregnant. Most babies naturally tend to move into a head down position (ideally occiput anterior) somewhere around 28-32 weeks (I'm sure this can vary). However, since we offer a technique called the Webster Technique, I also see moms who are carrying breech babies. The Webster technique can help to align the sacrum and balance the soft tissues in the lower abdomen, and may help to provide the room for breech babies to move into a more ideal position. The most current research shows that about 69% of moms who are carrying breech, will have success with the Webster Technique. (Some research of this technique shows around 82% success rate). I believe that most pregnant moms should be under chiropractic care-to help Mom's comfort level, to remove restriction in the lower back/pelvis that may lead to strain on the uterus, to help provide optimum nerve supply and information to baby and to hopefully help mom and baby have an easier, less stressful birth . (please see for more information and to find a qualified practitioner). So, please get adjusted if this situation applies to you! (well, please get adjusted, period).

The positions that mom is in during the day are very important. Walking is excellent, and the upright position helps to reinforce the head down position (the heaviest part is the head, therefore - in theory- it should be the lowest...) When sitting, sit on your sit bones (not your sacrum). If you feel tired and want to lie down, instead of leaning back into the couch, lie on your side. No leg crossing when sitting and try to avoid carrying things (or toddlers perhaps) on your hip. I encourage moms to spend lots of time in the "hands and knee" position, again to help the position of baby.

And then again, visit spinning babies! There are inversion positions to try-from handstands in water to climbing down stairs hands first, to using the iron board tilt. The exercises are well described on their website. And then repeat as described.

A mom who is carrying breech does have a number of other health care options to try. We refer to acupuncture or acupressure to assist in helping breech babies turn. I like to share my personal experience with acupuncture. I was under care through my pregnancy and baby was head down by the time the third trimester started. I went for an acupuncture session, and after the treatment, I had a bit of a panic as it felt as though baby pushed herself up and then proceeded to lie transverse for the rest of the day. So I spent the better part of my day on my hands and knees, keeping my belly forward, etc, and eventually baby settled back into head down position again. Probably in a better position than we had started.

Not to scare anyone, but if a well positioned baby felt the need to reposition like that and was influenced by acupuncture to do so, can you imagine the possible effect on a breech baby?

Homeopathics can also be beneficial in helping baby's position. Your best option would be to speak to a homeopath or other health practitioner trained in this specifically, as they may suggest a constitutional remedy. However, one common remedy that you will find by searching online is to use pulsatilla, which may help to address asymmetry in the uterine walls (consult your practitioner for dosage or if its appropriate for you).

What else? Relaxation and visualizing baby moving into the head down position, being very specific in your visualizations. ie. If you are lying in an inversion position, imagine that baby is floating up out of your pelvis towards your head, then as you slowly get up, baby tucks her head and somersaults forward and down into your pelvis. Whatever works for you!

I like to encourage moms to explore their options and do their research. Whichever technique or combination of techniques you use, it is important to be consistent and give them the time to work. Whether baby "flips" or not, you will know that you did everything you could to help your baby find his/her best and safest way to enter the world.

Good luck!

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