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Hypno-Tip: Turning a Breech Baby with Hypnosis

A breech presentation is a tricky situation.  Especially in upstate SC.  To my knowledge, the closest care provider willing to vaginally deliver a breech baby is in Asheville or Bamburg.  There may be a few “underground” midwives as well.  But should you choose to have a hospital birth, you won’t find local options other than cesarean.  It is a shame.  In Sweden, 52% of breech babies are delivered vaginally with no statistical difference in outcome. 

I’ve often wondered what I would do if I found myself with a breech presentation.  First line of defense:  do everything possible to get the baby to turn! 

Only about 5% of all babies are breech at term. There are many suggestions for turning a breech baby physically, such as swimming, using a slant board, massage, moxibustion, pelvic tilt, etc.  

Another excellent resource is the Spinning Babies website which has information on turning babies in several challenging positions.

In addition to these techniques, we have another amazing tool that helps breech babies turn to the head-down position – our own powerful minds! Since the baby in utero is part of the mother, it is registered as so by the subconscious mind, which can be directed to make changes in the mother’s body. Release of fears that can constrict muscles is also used in hypnosis sessions, to help the mother relax and allow her baby to turn. The body is controlled completely by the mind, which is how our Hypnobabies moms can use hypnosis to stop-preterm labor, eliminate nausea and insomnia and of course, create a much easier and more comfortable childbirth experience. Using hypnosis to turn breech babies has been more successful than using other techniques alone. In a study done at a prominent university, 81% of the babies turned to vertex position with the use of hypnosis.  See study abstract at the bottom of this post.

At Hypnobabies, we suggest all women consider how powerful their mind is and use it during pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum to enhance their comfort, health and safety, as well as that of their precious baby.  Your mind can direct your body in such a positive way–use it!  If your baby is breech, you can find a well-trained hypnotherapist in your area or visit Hypnobabies for information on our Turn Your Breech Baby CD and Mp3 tracks.

Turn, baby, turn!

Design:  Prospective case series compared with historical, matched comparison group.
Subjects: One hundred pregnant women whose fetuses were in breech position at 37 to 40 weeks’ gestation and a matched comparison group of women with similar obstetrical and sociodemographic parameters derived from databases for other studies from the same time period and geographical areas.
Intervention: The intervention group received hypnosis with suggestions for general relaxation with release of fear and anxiety. While in the hypnotic state women were asked for the reasons why their baby was in the breech presentation. As much hypnosis was provided as was convenient and possible for the women until they were delivered of the baby or the baby converted to the vertex position.
Main Outcome Variables: A successful conversion for the intervention group was scored when the baby spontaneously converted to the vertex position before delivery or successful cephalic version. The conversion rate of the intervention group was compared with the comparison group who received standard obstetrical care without the opportunity for hypnosis.
Results: Eighty-one percent of the fetuses in the intervention group converted to vertex presentation compared with 48% of those in the comparison group. This difference was statistically significant.
Conclusions: Motivated subjects can be influenced by a skilled Hypnotherapist in such a manner that their fetuses have a higher incidence of conversion from breech to vertex presentation. Psychophysiological factors may influence the breech presentation and may explain this increased frequency of conversion to vertex presentation.
From Archives of Family Medicine, Vol. 3, Oct. 1994 Hypnosis and Conversion of the Breech to the Vertex Presentation Lewis E. Mehl, MD, PhD Dept. of Psychiatry Univ. of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington

To every season turn, turn, turn

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I witnessed my first external cephalic version (EVC) today.  My client has been trying to encourage her breech baby to turn for 7 weeks now.  And while she and the baby handled it wonderfully, the ECV that she’d hoped to avoid proved unsuccessful. 

In googling all the information about turning breeches, I keep thinking about how I would feel and what I would do with a persistent breech.  Feel:  it would be difficult to keep the stress levels down with the multitude of techniques to try.  Seriously, you could easily spend hours a day trying all the techniques out there.  And it would be difficult not to feel some blame with all the messages of “you must relax and let your baby turn” or “what fears are holding your baby from turning?”  Do:  20 years ago, it wasn’t unusual to birth a breech vaginally.  Now, however, at least in my neck of the woods–I don’t know a care provider who would give it a go.  I suppose I would cross into another state or head to The Farm.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post.  I guess I have lots of sympathy right now– with all the things to *do* to get a baby to turn.  My head spins and I don’t even have a breech.  I know that this family has only a short time before baby will arrive one way or another.  And I know they have been hard at work trying out all those ways to make a baby turn (including acupuncture, moxibustion, chiropractic, inversion, now ECV, etc).  I’m praying their baby will spontaneously flip soon.   

If you’re interested in ECV, you can watch a youtube clip.