When babies are positioned so that their buttocks or feet will be born first, we call them breech. Approximately 3-4% of all deliveries will be of breech presentation babies. The percentage of breech deliveries is higher with premature babies at 22% prior to 28 weeks' gestation, 7% at 32 weeks' gestation, and just 1-3% at term. That's roughly 1 out of every 25 full term babies breech. So, what causes babies to be breech and what can you do if you find yourself with a breech baby?
While it isn't known what causes babies to be breech, we do know what factors increase the likelihood of you having a baby present breech. You're more likely to have a breech baby:
Better Birth offers some more possibilities:
*You can see Better Birth on social media for more information during #breechweek 2017, Nov 5th-11th.*
Understanding the Implications:
There are different kinds of breech presentation:
When attempting a vaginal breech birth, it's crucial that baby be in the frank breech position. Other factors that are favorable to vaginal breech birth include: baby is full-term, baby does not show signs of distress, process of labor is smooth and steady, a large baby is not expected, anesthesia is available and cesarean delivery possible on short notice.
Finding a provider who is trained and comfortable with vaginal breech birth will be the larger problem, however, as it's a disappearing knowledge. OBGYNs are simply not being trained to handle breech births with anything other than a cesarean. Dr. Berlin of Informed Pregnancy helped produce a fantastic documentary called "Head's Up: The Disappearing Art of Vaginal Breech Birth." It's a highly informative (and short!) documentary I recommend you rent and watch if you're even slightly interested in learning more about vaginal breech birth.
My baby is breech, what now?:
So now that we know a little bit about what may (or may not) cause breech presentation, what can you do if you find yourself with a breech baby?
While I would love to outline every single option for you in this blog post, it would simply be too long. So, here are some of my favorite places to get more information on breech presentation, in no particular order. I offer these in hopes to help you make your informed decisions regarding how to proceed with your breech baby.
Finally, realize that the options are there, but the support and resources may be minimal. We need more doctors and midwives trained to handle vaginal breech birth. It's a knowledge we once had more abundantly but are losing in favor of a surgery that comes with it's own risks. As always, do your own research and make your own decisions!
*This post is to participate in #breechweek 2017 in the effort to raise more awareness about this disappearing art.*
I'm the owner of Sage Roots. Woman, wife, mother, doula, writer, bookworm, hiker, gamer, and Christian.