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Cynthia FlynnBreech at 35 Weeks
by Cynthia Flynn, CNM, Ph.D.

Q. I had an ultrasound today, and my baby is in a breech position. I'm approximately 35 weeks and a few days. My doctor said it is a concern, but he won't be worried about it until I hit 37 weeks. He did tell us our options are to try a version at the hospital and/or c-section (they won't attempt a vaginal breech delivery). What are the chances the baby will turn in time? How painful is a version and how often are they actually successful? I've been told to be a couch potato due to low amniotic fluid, but do you know of anything that doesn't require too much exertion to coax the baby into a vertex position?

A. First, I would make like a fish and DRINK. At least a gallon a day of water, plus your milk, etc. Get some more amniotic fluid in there so the baby has room to turn. Then do slants (bottom higher than heart) for as many hours as possible each day. Babies can turn at any time. I have heard of a case where three ultrasounds were done DURING labor and the baby went from vertex to breech to vertex. Go figure. That said, the bigger the baby, the less room there is to turn, so it's good to encourage it early. I tell dads to talk to the baby down at the end where you'd like the head to be. Try putting a bag of frozen veggies on the baby's head and see if you can chase it down where it goes. Obviously it helps if you are able to really relax your tummy muscles. I have had more than one woman turn her own baby.

A version can be painful. Some OBs have better luck with an epidural first, so the woman will be relaxed, but others like the woman to help guide them to do the version safely by complaining if it hurts. The success rate varies by the skill of the practitioner.

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