What are the Different Breech Positions?
Approximately 3 to 4 percent of babies present in a breech position — that is, not head first. Most babies are not in a head-down position until after 37 weeks. Some babies will remain in this position and turn on their own either once labor begins or even as labor progresses. Some babies, however, will be stubborn and not move at all.
This article will serve to make you aware of the various positions possible.
In the extended or frank breech position, the baby’s buttocks are down where the head would normally be. The legs are straight and the feet are near the head.
In the flexed position, the buttocks point downward, but the legs are bent at the knees up against the chest, and the feet near the buttocks.
In the footling breech position, one or both feet are pointing downward and will come out first.
In the transverse position, the baby is actually sideways in the womb.
In most cases doctors will suggest a cesarean section to deliver the baby, and in most cases, this is the safest and most ideal way. There are also turning techniques that can be used to try to get the baby to drop head down, but there have also been successful footling breech births. As women look more to midwives than to doctors, some of the more European ways of doing things are making it more possible to birth breech babies. Such things as kneeling with the knees against the chest can help turn a baby, or laboring and pushing from the hands and knees position, as opposed to the “traditional” lithotomy (on your back) position can make the difference.
This is an amazing video of a successful breech home birth. It should be stressed, though, that this may not be the ideal way for every mother and it may not be possible depending on other variables (physiology, exact baby position, blood pressure, ultrasound images) during the pregnancy. You should discuss your options thoroughly with your doctor and/or midwife and make your own judgment as to what is best for you and your baby.
Darlene Oakley is a freelance writer for Empowher.com.
Breech Births. American Pregnancy Association. Web. Apr 25, 2012.
Birth Video of a Breech Baby. Barrett, Lisa. Homebirth: A Midwife Mutiny. Web. Apr 25, 2012.
Breech Babies. Women’s Health. Web. Apr 25, 2012.
The Midwife. Courter, Gay. Egret E-Books Editions, Crystal River, Florida. 1981.