When we found out at 34 weeks that baby was breech I started in ernest to try all remedies to ‘turn’ him or her. I can safely say that I feel I tried everything. I have been going to yoga since the early days and my intentions now were to spend the full hour in postures that are known to help turn breech babies. These include balancing postures, (to help balance the pelvis incase this unbalance is what is making baby sit upright), postures where your hips are higher than you chest, either on your back or on your front; the idea being that these encourage gravity to take it’s course and babies head (being the heaviest part) will be pushed into your ribs and this will course it to ‘flip’. Some people say they can actually feel the baby turn when they practise these postures (breech tilt, tree posture, inversion). Try the Spinning Babies website.
In addition to yoga, I tried ‘talking to baby’, asking him or her to turn, connecting with him and explaining why I wanted him to turn head down. I would sit every morning, for about 20 minutes, play music that’s meant to be good for turning babies (see link here) and ask baby to turn. Yes, it felt weird talking out loud to my unborn child. But it was at this time I started to get a feeling for the gender of our child. Whilst visualising the baby turning and talking to him or her, I could only picture a girl. I didn’t know if this was because a girl is what I secretly wanted. Furthermore studies have shown that when talking to your baby, your emotions release different flavours into your amniotic fluid and baby can taste and react to this. Interestingly too, whenever I played that music baby movements increased significantly, so there is definitely something in it that baby reacts to!
My next attempt was moxibustion and cranial sacral therapy. Whilst I believe both of these have excellent success rates, I think I had left it too late. I was already starting to feel discomfort in my pelvis and thought this may have been because baby was engaged. I went to Barefoot Acupuncturists for the moxibustion, an NGO set up to provide free/cheap alternative health care to some of the poorest people in Mumbai. It’s run by a lovely Frenchman called Walter. Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese remedy that involves lighting a herbal ‘candle’ (stick made of herbs, that smells distinctly like weed!) and placing it very close to your skin on the outside edge of your foot. The ‘candle’ burns at over 400 degrees centigrade and the pressure point on the outside of the little toe is related to the tummy/womb. The theory is that the intense heat increases blood flow to that area and therefore encourages baby to move head down. Once again, the action of moxibustion did create movement in my tummy, so I know that baby was reacting to something. I carried on doing moxi at home every day for about 4 days.
Final stop was an ECV (external cephalic version). This is a procedure conducted by a doctor, or in the UK a specially trained midwife, whereby they manually manipulate the baby from the breech position to the head down position. We went in on the Monday evening, and with a team including our doctor, a sonographer and a couple of nurses, they set to work manipulating my tummy. The first question people ask me is ‘was it painful’, no, not painful, just very uncomfortable. A little like a giant chinese burn! The doctor tried three times to turn our baby. She could get the head to move to the transverse position but the buttocks were not coming out of my pelvis. This confirmed that baby was indeed engaged. ECV unsuccessful. Next stop cesearean section. Queue the tears.