Unassisted breech birth? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-16-2007, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you done it? Would you?

One of my biggest fears in this pregnancy is that this baby will be breech. In my province breech means automatic c-section. This terrifies me. I still have plenty of time before I need to worry but I'm worrying now.

Is it possible to safely vaginally birth a breech baby unassisted?

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Old 12-16-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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Yes, breech babies are born unassisted. I know there are quite a few stories over at www.freebirth.com

In Emergency Guide to childbirth, they explain breech as just a version of normal.

If you're feeling fear surrounding this, then I'd prepare yourself with the facts, so you can just let it go then.

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Old 12-17-2007, 01:13 AM
 
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I haven't had a breech birth, but I would. There are a couple of options for birth attendant here for vaginal breech. One is an OB in a hospital and while he is miles better than most OBs around here, he's still too medical for me. I don't know if knowing the baby was breech would cause me to hire a homebirth midwife experienced with breech or not. I'd have to be in the situation to really know. I don't think i would though.

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Old 12-17-2007, 01:19 AM
 
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Breech births are best left alone. "hands off the breech" is a common term.

-Angela
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Old 12-17-2007, 09:21 AM
 
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It's an auto c/s here, too. Mine's a long and complicated story, but basically, dd#2 was all manner of breech throughout the last tri: frank, transverse, oblique ... all over the map. We tried EVERYTHING to turn her, including 2 ecv's. The last one, at 40w4d, they left her transverse. : We decided that if she turned from transverse (either head-up or head-down), we'd go forward with our uc. With MUCH frustration, we also scheduled our c/s for 41w4d - just in case. I went into labor at 41w. It was obvious during contractions that she was straight up-and-down, so the uc was on. We didn't know until she was born whether she was vertex or breech. 10 lb vertex baby! Yay!

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Old 12-17-2007, 02:48 PM
 
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I would probably attempt the Webster technique, external version, anything I could and if the baby didn't turn, I would at the least hire a midwife.

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Old 12-17-2007, 03:35 PM
 
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I would much rather have an unassisted breech than C-section which raises risks to both mom and baby. If I suspected a breech I would probably arm myself with knowledge, but when it came down to it, I would just listen to what my body was telling me. That's never led me wrong in birth. I automatically needed to be on hands and knees for my rather broad shouldered child and was nearly standing up straight and pulling "up" on my rapid descent baby who needed to be born very quickly. I have heard many breech moms say that intuitively needed to birth squatting, which is the 'right' way to give birth to a breech.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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Although I do believe that breech is a variation of normal, I also believe it has a slightly increased natural rate of complications. So it was a worry of mine too. Thankfully, all my babies were head down. I'm not sure what I would have done if one had persisted in being breech even through labor. (Sometimes they do turn even that late.)

I do know of five successful UC breech stories -- if you go to my blog at autonomousbirth.blogsome.com and have your browser find the word "breech" you'll see links to some of them.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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Mama, my last baby was breech up until just a few hours before labor began. I fully intended to birth her unassisted regardless of whether she was breech or vertex.

She spent the whole pregnancy breech, then one night she turned head down. About four hours later my water broke and I went into labor. I had my big 13 pound girl an hour & a half later.

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Old 12-17-2007, 05:32 PM
 
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I'd have a breech UC before going anywhere near a hospital. It was an automatic c/s here when I was pregnant, too. I didn't UC, I had my breech with no trouble at the Farm (had to drive 5 hours in labor to get there, heh), but the midwives didn't need to do anything life-saving. We could have done it UC if we had wanted to (I had never really heard of UC at the time).

I've never had a vertex birth to compare it to, but my breech birth seemed pretty easy, as births go. Next time I'll give myself longer to wait for a pushing urge, so maybe I don't have to push so long, but we got there in the end.
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Old 12-17-2007, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies everyone!

This is the one issue dh and I cannot agree on. He says "if the midwife says hospital and they say c-section that is what it is no matter what." <banging my head on a brick wall>

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Old 12-17-2007, 06:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mama in the forest View Post
Mama, my last baby was breech up until just a few hours before labor began. I fully intended to birth her unassisted regardless of whether she was breech or vertex.

She spent the whole pregnancy breech, then one night she turned head down. About four hours later my water broke and I went into labor. I had my big 13 pound girl an hour & a half later.
I'm sure I never told you this, but your story inspired me SO much while I was pregnant with Heidi.

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Old 12-17-2007, 10:38 PM
 
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I would not attempt an unassisted breech birth. I am sure in most cases the baby would be ok in the end, but I believe the risk to baby is greater in breech birth, and I would not attempt it without having someone present who is skilled in dealing with complications that can occur during a breech birth and/or the option of switching to c-sec for instance in the case of a footling breech.

In the end I would think for me in that case statistics would win. The only studies I have heard about looking into socalled "high risk" homebirths such as twins and breeches have shown significantly higher mortalityrates than hospitalbirths or socalled "low-risk" homebirths. I dont have them handy but I remember in one study 3 babies died out of 80 "high-risk" homebirths and for me those odds are just not good enough. Even taking into consideration all the things that can be wrong with those studies..

But then again I live in an area where I would have the option to try for a vaginal breech birth in hospital. If forced c-section was my only other option then I am not so sure what I would do..

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Old 12-17-2007, 10:51 PM
 
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hmmm, for me, I just don't feel breech in a hospital is safe enough an option to consider it.

I might ask a local midwife to come, but honestly it would be more for spreading the idea that breech is a variation of normal and encouraging exposure to breech birth than believing her being there would make the birth so much safer for me or the baby.

~Kat

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Old 12-17-2007, 10:51 PM
 
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Thanks for your replies everyone!

This is the one issue dh and I cannot agree on. He says "if the midwife says hospital and they say c-section that is what it is no matter what." <banging my head on a brick wall>
But the thing is that those policies are not based on science.

-Angela
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:00 PM
 
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hmmm, for me, I just don't feel breech in a hospital is safe enough an option to consider it.

~Kat
I would worry about that too, but I guess that really really depends what hospital you have handy.

Been giving this alot of thought but I really wouldnt know what to do.. My conscious mind would really want me to do it in hospital but I have had the occasional breech UC fantasy too - the UC "wow-surprise-baby-is-breech-but-got-out-perfectly-fine-just-the-same" fantasy..
But knowing in advance that baby was breech I would find it really difficult to decide..

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Old 12-17-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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So in our current breech=csection climate, how many babies will die from surgical complications? Those are stats I would be interested in.

And how many babies died in 'high risk' home births because of interference? I know of two home birth MWs inducing at home with Cytotec, you know?
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:47 PM
 
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I had a c-section for a frank breech baby in March of 2003. I became sensitized to an antibody, creating a whole host of problems in my subsequent pregnancies/births. Knowing what i know now, i would absolutely UC if i had a known breech.

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Old 12-18-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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I'm sure I never told you this, but your story inspired me SO much while I was pregnant with Heidi.
Thank you.

I remember thinking about it a lot while I was pregnant. It was strange - the only worry I ever felt was when I started thinking about all the hype surrounding breech birth. It never came from me internally...only outside myself. Once I figured that out, I realized that I was going to have my baby unassisted, like all the others, and it didn't matter which way she entered the world.

I think the most dangerous place to have a breech babe is in the hospital.

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Old 12-18-2007, 02:19 PM
 
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We had a planned HB/UC and during one big contraction one of Aayla's feet came out instead of her head. We're not sure when she flipped cuz she was head down the day before and i never felt a thing when she did. Now i was not comfortable birthing breech, so we opted for hospital transfer and in this case it was a good thing we did since one leg was up by her ear and the other was out of me, so automatic emerg. c-section. And we were okay with that.
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:24 PM
 
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of course it is possible to birth a breech safely unassisted. the majority of breeches come out fine. sometimes, however, there ARE major complications which can in most cases be righted by a pair of knowledgeable hands. if i had a breech, i would find a good, knowledgeable midwife to attend me.

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Old 12-18-2007, 07:12 PM
 
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I think part of the problem is there don't seem to be that many good knowledgeable midwives(in regards to breech birth). Many are too scared to attend a breech birth and they transfer care in the case of a breech. And some of those who ARE willing to attend a breech in reality just haven't seen that many. I think it's a misconception that there are lots of midwives walking around out there who have tons of experience with attending breech births. So I don't think it's as easy as just finding someone, yk?

~Kat

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Old 12-18-2007, 07:40 PM
 
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I think to answer this question for yourself, you should address the major concerns of a breech birth. For me, the major concern would be that I would push out the feet, legs, and torso, but baby would get stuck at the shoulders or head. On another forum, a midwife told us that that scenario is very unlikely in a full-term birth, although it may happen in a preemie birth, when the hips are still much smaller. She said that if you are dilated enough to push the hips out, the rest will usually come out just fine. The key is to wait until your body is pushing on its own. That to me was a huge relief, and now I am at peace if my next one (in about 10 weeks +/-) were to turn breech at home. I'm also o.k. with transferring if we were to discover during the pushing stage that one leg is up and the other down, or baby engaged at the shoulder, etc. That is what hospitals and c-sections are for--to save lives.

Anyhow, that's just an example. Do some searches on the unassisted birth websites. Get educated on the potential risks of birthing a baby breech and then prepare yourself. Most of the fear is of the unknown. Knowledge can help so much. My dh doesn't read what I ask him to, so I print off stuff and read it to him throughout the pregnancy, and before I know it, he's repeating things to me that he thinks are his own ideas. :-)

HTH some,
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:26 PM
 
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I would birth a breech baby unassisted, or if I were in the Vancouver area I might hire an experienced, hands off birth attendant like Gloria Lemay to be with me. I would not plan a hospital birth, because they would not 'allow' a vaginal birth and I don't think I could stand up to them during the birth process.

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Old 12-19-2007, 11:06 AM
 
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I think part of the problem is there don't seem to be that many good knowledgeable midwives(in regards to breech birth). Many are too scared to attend a breech birth and they transfer care in the case of a breech. And some of those who ARE willing to attend a breech in reality just haven't seen that many. I think it's a misconception that there are lots of midwives walking around out there who have tons of experience with attending breech births. So I don't think it's as easy as just finding someone, yk?

~Kat
: If I could have found a hb/mw to attend a breech birth, I might have done that. It took me 18 months to find a hb/mw who would travel to our area who wasn't a flake. She was super-medical and we clashed over LOTS of stuff. The dealbreaker, though, was that she won't attend breech deliveries. We couldn't justify paying $2000 for someone who might not even agree to attend us at home, and we wouldn't know until labor if we were paying for a hb/mw or a really, really expensive "doula" for a c/s-for-breech.

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Old 12-19-2007, 05:05 PM
 
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Yes, breech babies are born unassisted. I know there are quite a few stories over at www.freebirth.com

In Emergency Guide to childbirth, they explain breech as just a version of normal.

If you're feeling fear surrounding this, then I'd prepare yourself with the facts, so you can just let it go then.
I tried to follow that link and my work browser blocked it as "sex and erotica". : So I googled freebirth and tried to go to some of the sites that came up... same thing. Why on earth....

Now I'm afraid I'll get THAT email from the internet watchdogs here.

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Old 12-19-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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I think part of the problem is there don't seem to be that many good knowledgeable midwives(in regards to breech birth). Many are too scared to attend a breech birth and they transfer care in the case of a breech. And some of those who ARE willing to attend a breech in reality just haven't seen that many. I think it's a misconception that there are lots of midwives walking around out there who have tons of experience with attending breech births. So I don't think it's as easy as just finding someone, yk?

~Kat
It all depends on where you are. There's the Farm (that's where I went). Even for people who are far away from Tennessee, if they want to they can come down before labor starts and stay in the nice little houses. There was a lady from Florida waiting for her breech baby while I was there. And when I was looking around there was a midwife in north Georgia who had attended 11 or so breech births (not as experienced as Ina May with her 82 or so breech births counting me, but still not too bad). So, I know from experience how difficult it can be to find someone, but with help and Finding Your Tribe, odds are pretty good.

And I still think the forest is probably a safer option than the hospitals around here would be.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:28 PM
 
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I highly recommend Laura Shanley's site as another resource for info and stories I'm pretty sure one of her sons was a breech presentation.

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Old 12-19-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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If I knew I was having a breech baby, there's no way I'd set foot in a hospital! Nor would I allow any midwives or anybody else around me unless she was 100% comfortable with vaginal breech birth- I'd rather be alone and trust my body than have anybody around who might mess things up (or threaten to cut me open.)

Fortunately, I've never had to make that decision, as all of my babies were head-down at the end of pg.

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Old 12-20-2007, 04:02 AM
 
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My UBAC was footling breech. This was a surprise since the night before she was head down. Yes, she turned at the last minute, and turned the wrong way. Go figure.

I wouldn't go COMPLETELY unassisted with a breech baby (well, honestly I wouldn't no matter what); I would want at least my husband or a friend or someone who was prepared to help me deal with any complications. With Sinead (my footling breech baby) we had to literally reach in and pull her out. She was hopelessly stuck. I simply don't think I could physically reach to do that myself.

When I have told this story before, some people have asked me what I mean by "stuck." Maybe this is very uncommon, I don't know. My contractions had completely ceased. I had no more urge to push -- I was pushing anyway, but it was doing no good. Yet she was still head and shoulders inside, with her legs and lower torso dangling out. She had to be manually extracted by literally reaching in, carefully turning her, and pulling her out. She ended up being ok, but like I said, I would be physically incapable of doing it myself.

So I do think you need at least one other person around. But do you need a c-section? Not in my opinion.

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