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Homebirth a breech baby?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

This is my first post here--I felt the need for a good forum after finding out my baby is currently breech (I'm 32 weeks).

Our current plan is for a homebirth. We have a wonderful midwife. This is my second baby--Julia, my first, was born completely naturally in water at a birthing center here in Austin. Our plans are for something similar, only here at home rather than at a birthing center.

However, my baby is breech. Another midwife in town recently had a first-time mom who's baby was breech, and she ended up having a c-section because no experienced support could be found (perhaps because it was her first baby?). Neither my midwife, nor her regular support midwife, have any breech-birth experience, and I'm worried that no one else in the area will be willing (or able) to work with me either.

I really, really do not want a c-section, and I'm a little freaked out at the moment--I'm considering taking steps which are probably all together too extreme, like going to The Farm in Tennessee to give birth. I hope there is a natural, simpler, closer to home option for me.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Does anyone (I know this is rather a long-shot) know of a Dr. or midwife in the greater Austin area (or DFW even?) who is experienced with natural breech births?

I would also love to hear from other moms who had breech babies--who ended up giving birth either as a c-section or naturally. (BTW, I am also doing extensive research on how to turn a baby, and will be pursuing those options fully. I'm just nervous that they won't work, and I want to be prepared for the possibility that I go into labor with a breech baby.)

Thank you for your reponses.
post #2 of 41
I think the odds are highly in your favor that your baby will be head down by your due date. It's not uncommon at all to have a 32 weeker breech.

(that probably doesn't help when you want to plan for what *might* happen, huh?)
post #3 of 41
You still have plenty of time for baby to turn. www.breechbabies.com has been the best online resource for me. www.unassistedchildbirth.com has some great uc breech birth stories as well. I am 38w2d with a frank breech baby. We are planning a homebirth. If your baby continues breech and you are planning a homebirth be prepared for a LOT of negativity from family/friends. We weren't planning to tell anyone we were continuing our homebirth plans with a breech but the family grapevine has amazing hearing! One plus I have found with carrying a breech baby is it is my most comfortable pregnancy ever!! No bladder pressure, no debilitating sciatic pain, dh says I don't even walk like a pg lady!!

Best wishes!!
post #4 of 41
I have had the breech conversation with my midwife. She has delivered breech, once. She's willing to do whatever we need to do to turn the baby, and says that if the baby is frank breech, the pressure on the cervix is almost the same as if they're head down, so you do dilate, and it is possible. However, some of the other breech positions you don't get good dilation, etc etc.
post #5 of 41
My second baby was breech. I did end up having a c-section after trying to turn her twice, hanging upside down, homeopathic pills..you name it I tried it. She was complete breech and her head was not tucked with her chin to her chest (it was straight up). There was one doctor who would consider delivering breech and she would not do it with her in that position. I will be having my second VBAC in March.
My daughter didn't budge from about 27 weeks on! She squirmed of course, but never moved her head (right under my ribs...ouch!).
Hang in there. I certainly feel for you. I remember the feeling of just having no control. It was hard. I definitely would recommend the versions though!
post #6 of 41
i dont know if you have tried this method yet but i read a very interesting article in motherings july-aug mag. the article i am talking about is the one on mixibustion i think that is what it was called. the women who had it preformed seemed to be very happy with the results and it resulted in a head down baby within a few days if i rember right. i think that you generally have to call a acupuncturist to have this procedure done. anyways goodluck
post #7 of 41
Hi, Karen! I'm glad you're getting good advice!
post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thank you to those who have shared their stories. It is good for me to hear about others who have gone through/are going through similar experiences.

Particularly, it's nice to hear what I've been feeling said out loud--without control. Since reading that, I've realized I think a lot of my feelings surrounding this breech baby of mine are that it's not expected, and ultimately, it's not something I have control over. And that's scary. So I've decided to re-focus my mama-energies where they belong: remembering that this parenting thing isn't about me, and therefore it isn't about me being in control. I try (and think I succeed) in remembering that with Julia, and perhaps being breech is this baby's way of reminding me to release my (false) sense of control with her/him too.

I'm feeling more at peace now. Thanks again. I would still love to hear more stories of breech babies if there are more mamas and papas out there willing to share.


BTW, JuliaCat, you're a trip. Ease back on the icons, girl.
post #9 of 41
I will certainly be praying for you that your baby turns. When I was breech at 36 weeks they were talking about c-sections in childbirth class and how no one plans on having a c-section and I thought "well that is nice for the poor soul that is going to have one because it certainly won't be me!" Looking back I wouldn't have done anything different. I think I made the safest decision for OUR situation. No two are exactly alike
I will say my daughter is spunky, stubborn, and appears to be a lefty. Very interesting! Keep us posted.
post #10 of 41
PLEASE consider finding a chiropractor who is familiar with the Webster Technique! It is a very gentle and effective approach to helping babies turn vertex (head down). A good resource is www.icpa4kids.org, or www.subluxation.com to find great chiropractors who are familiar with this technique. I studied under Dr. Webster and have found this to be 75% effective in my office! Good luck!
post #11 of 41

If I had a breech baby and felt I wanted a birth attendant, I *would* go to the Farm. It is close to impossible to find a birth attendant who will attend a breech birth these days. I hope your baby turns :, but the farm or UC sounds better than a c-section. Make a vacation of it if need be, lol.
post #12 of 41
Hopefully your baby will turn, keep trying all the things others have said, chiro webster technique, accupressure, moxibustion, exercises, in pool handstand, hypno. At least you got sometime on your side. Get the Mothering mag that just had an article on it. Ask your midwife if she knows of dr who will do a version or call hospital based midwifes that work with dr who would know dr who might do the version or breech vag. if baby doesn't turn. In my situation I was planning a homebirth (4thbaby) and baby turned breech within a few days of my due date. My nurse midewife isn't allowed to do them so I found a hospital based midwife who works with a dr who did versions and would let me do vag breech if baby didn't turn the only catch....I had to stay her patient and deliver in hospital though she did let me go into labor naturally even though I was 2wks past due date. The reason I had to stay her patient and not go back to my midwife even though version did turn the baby---her malpractice insurance, even though she would want me to use my midwife. Also, if you do go the hospital route make sure to have a doula and birth plan. Was your first baby a homebirth or hospital birth? It was so hard for me to have the birth I wanted in the hospital thinking and worrying and fighting the staff. Next time I might just go to a lay midwife who was willing to do breech or the Farm if I had the money. I wish you the best. Let us know how it goes as you get farther along.
post #13 of 41
You might find you have difficulty finding an OB trained in breech delivery. There just isn't as much training for this procedure anymore in the residency for obstetrics. They do get quite a bit of training in c/s.

Injuries to the fetus in a breech delivery are much more common than in a vaginal delivery. Entrapment of the head, nerve damage, organ injury, spinal cord injuries, fractures, hypoxia are all very real risks. William's Obstetrics quotes a study of 1016 breech deliveries where the overall mortality rate was 25 percent for breech births and 2.6 percent for nonbreech deliveries. This was for all births including preterm but when that is controlled, there is still a two-fold increased risk for the infant delivered as a breech compared with the overall population.

When OB's (or rather their malpractice insurance carriers) read the studies that come out in their medical journals and read the recommendations from ACOG (their advisory group) they aren't willing to do the breech vaginal delivery. They aren't willing to risk getting a lawsuit over something that they know can cause defects in babies. They get sued enough over things that were not their fault. This leads to higher malpractice rates so they either charge patients more or get out of the business. (Hence why there are women who have to drive more than 3 hours to find someone who will deliver their baby either vaginally or c/s.)

The OB's aren't willing to accept those risks.

I looked into all of this last March when my DD turned from vertex to breech at 35 weeks. She turned on her own by the time of our next appointment at 36 weeks. I got into a knee-chest position for 15 minutes twice a day. I tried the "Lay on an ironing board, head down, while on the stairs." Please don't attempt this as I thought it was quite dangerous to be positioned that way. It's a fall risk.

My SIL's baby was a footling breech so she didn't have an option for a version. She didn't think the c/s was that bad especially that afternoon she was holding her beautiful son. He was here and does it really matter how exactly he got here?

post #14 of 41
A good read on this is The Thinking Women's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and another book by her can't think of the name now. It has an excellent chapter on breech.
post #15 of 41
I have a couple "cyber buddies" who had vag. breech birth, and my mom did it too.

My brother (15 years younger than me) turned DURING LABOR from vertex to frank breech and nobody caught it until it was pushing time. Mom just pushed him out. The doctors kinda freaked though, rushed her to an OR and had an anesthesiologist come along "just in case" and all.

After that, I for one thought my mom TOTALLY ROCKED, and for another I was immune to the general paranoia about breech birth. My #4 was all over the place during the last few weeks. Head up, head down, the only time I worried was when he went transverse for a couple days. That I didn't like. He ended up turning right around the middle of week 38? He was born head first, anterior, optimal birth positioning and easy labor.

Definitely give the chiropractic and other natural turning methods a try. I wouldn't touch a hospital ECV with a ten foot pole myself. Too risky. I'd do vag breech birth unassisted at home first, but that's just me LOL!

post #16 of 41
Definitely give the chiropractic and other natural turning methods a try. I wouldn't touch a hospital ECV with a ten foot pole myself. Too risky. I'd do vag breech birth unassisted at home first, but that's just me LOL!

I seriously doubt that there is less risk between ECV and an unassisted home breech birth. Controlled studies have shown that it is risky to do a breech delivery with an experienced medical provider (who actually knows the proper delivery techniques and special forceps). It would be even more risky for mom and babe to be unassisted at home.

post #17 of 41
My first child was breech (footling breech to be exact). Anyway back then I accepted that what the dr said was always right - I had a Cesarean. On doing some reading years later I realized that there are other options. The book Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Dr C. Northrup is a good start to read up on breech birth (and lots of other things). Accupressure or bioenergetic breathing is some suggestions.
Good luck!
post #18 of 41
My good friend had her first baby breech at home. She loves to tell the story! Their baby was bottom-down with one foot down and one foot up by the head (doing the splits, she says).

She birthed in her kitchen between two chairs, and says it was her easiest birth. She says it didn't hurt, and I have heard that said of a lot of breeches for some reason!

There are other moms my MWs have delivered breech at home, but I don't know them personally.
post #19 of 41
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Thank you again for your stories and suggestions. I had an appointment with my midwife this evening, and am here to update anyone who's following.

Pip (our gender-neutral name for the baby, not the name we will actually use) is still breech--but twisting and turning in there for all s/he is worth. Changed positions completely a couple of times while the mw was here.

So here is what she wants me to do: take 200c of Pulsatilla twice a day for three days (no one has mentioned this yet--anyone have any experience with this remedy?) and do some inversion techniques, along with swimming if I can manage to get to a pool sans-toddler. At our next appointment, in two weeks, we'll check positioning again. If Pip is still breech, we'll have a sonogram to clear everything up. At that point we would probably do accupuncture and manual manipulation here at home with our mw and her back up. If STILL breech, we'll discuss turning options at that point.

However, if I go into labor with Pip still breech (and that's where my real fears were), my mw tells me there are three mw in the area who do frank breech births at home, and there are several drs. in the area who will do vaginal breech births in hospitals. (Ahh, one of the pleasures of living in Austin I guess. ) My mw is going to start contacting the few others in the area who do breech home births to see if any of them are willing to work with me--which she suspects they would be, particularly given that I'm a second-time mom and my first birth was unmedicated.

I will not, however, attempt an unassisted birth. I am willing to do almost anything to resist a c/s--but only if everything I am doing is considered safe. (Clearly, for a given value of "safety" since driving in a car is unsafe and having major surgery is unsafe, so the c/s would necessarily be "unsafe.") Given what she has told me of her opinions, I consider my mw to be an expert in judging the safety of a birth, and will take her advice on what is the best course of action for me and Pip.

Thanks to everyone again. I'm loving the conversation.
post #20 of 41
It sounds like you have a great plan in place. Are the doctors Clive Polon and Mikel Love? I have heard great things about them. Just out of curiousity who is your midwife? My homebirth was with Susie Terwilliger and I just attended my best friend's home birth, her midwife was Marimikel Penn.

I have heard that pulsatilla works so hopefully that will help Pip decide to stay head down.
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