How to Turn a Breech Baby

So just to simplify, breech is when your baby is bum down and not head down which is the way you want them pointing come show time. Almost all babies reach this head down (cephalic presentation) in the last few weeks of pregnancy but some babies are stubborn little buggers and they don’t want to move.

Here are a few ways I found to *encourage* them to get moving and seeing how every technique seems to have a name, I’ve asigned a few of my own:

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Drink plenty of fluids.

Seriously? Is there anything on the planet that this isn’t a tip for?!


The Drunken Turtle:

Lie on your back, elevate your hips with a pillow or cushion, and rock gently side to side. Do this a few times a day for around 10-15 minutes each time.


The Frat Girl:

Get down on all fours and then lean down onto the lower half of your arms, so your bottom is sticking up in the air. Stay like this for around 10 minutes or until someone comes in the room to make fun of you.


The Brazilian Beetle:

Lie flat on your back stick a pillow under your bum so that it’s 9 to 12 inches off the floor. Stay in this position for five to 15 minutes.


The Sweaty Vampire (Breech Tilt):

Get an ironing board or a large piece of wood and prop it at an angle against the couch.  Stick a pillow under your neck and lie on the board with your head down and feet resting on either side of the board on the couch. Try it for up to 20 minutes, 3 times a day.

The Gullible Maid:

Cleaning floors on your hands and knees was offered up on many sites although, I think a better idea would be to open a bag of M&Ms, throw them around the room, then spend an hour or so crawling around the floor eating them. (We could call it The Hungry Hippo!)


The Gritty Kitty:

Start with all fours, then lay your head and chest flat on the floor with your bum in the air, as you round your back and return to all fours. Try to hiss, “My precious” when you come up.


The Ice Ice Baby:

Stick a frozen bag of peas on top of your belly for about 10 minutes. The cold on the head may encourage the poppet to swim to the bottom.

The Crotch Song:

Play nice music at the bottom of your belly or have someone with a nice soothing voice talk around there (like that guy that looks like Jason Stackhouse at the grocery store). The thinking is that the baby will follow the sound.


The Jonas Brothers Effect:

Play abrasive music at the top of your belly and the thinking is the baby might move away. I don’t know why I think this one is kind of mean, plus, what makes anyone think they know the taste of this baby – they may love thrash metal and Barry Manilow.


The Chill and Thrill:

Try a combination of Ice Ice Baby and Crotch song, “Damn, my head is cold, wait….is that Daddy’s voice I hear? I’m gonna check that out”


The Underwater Piñata:

Do handstands in a pool or dive in repeatedly.

The Big Lebowski:

Place a sheet or towel under your bum as you lay on the floor. Have someone (preferably Jason Stackhouse again) lift up on the corners of the sheet and shimmy you from side to side. Do this for about 5 minutes. Then you kneel on the stairway landing. Walk your hands down 2 or 3 stairs into an all fours position. Remain in this position for about 5-10 minutes or as long as comfortable and try not to fall down the stairs.


The Sugar Rush:

Have a glass of juice or something high in sugar to get your baby jumpin’ and lie on your side with your hips raised higher than your feet. Note: While this may be a good idea to combine with some of the other moves, keep in mind that you might be upside down and what goes down might come back up.


The Happy Moth:

Move a flashlight slowly down from the top of your stomach toward your pubic bone while you are in a Sweaty Vampire position.


The I Belieeeeeeeve:

Visualize your baby moving into the correct position while doing the badass moves listed above.


The Mind Bender:

One small study found that women who are regularly hypnotized into a state of deep relaxation at 37 to 40 weeks are more likely to have their baby turn than other women. Find a skilled hypnotherapist for this one though and not creepy Uncle Eddie.


The Hippy Herb:

Some sites recommend homeopathic pulsatilla in 200C potency or higher taken everyday for three days. It’s made from a fuzzy herb called wind flower. Check with a Homeopathic doctor for this one though.


The Bug Rub:

Starting at the bottom of your tummy, move your hands clockwise around the side of your bump. Continuing clockwise, go all the way around until you’ve come full circle. Massage gently as you would to apply lotion. Massage for ten minutes or more up to several times each day or until your belly shines so you can see your reflection.


The Poor Man’s Acupuncture:

Place a clothespin on the baby toe of each foot at the outside corner of the toenail so that the toenail and toepad are stimulated for 30 minutes per day. You can also do this with just finger pressure.


Webster Technique:

You need a trained chiropractor for this one. The back cracking technique relieves pressure from the pelvis and help loosen the ligaments and muscles around the uterus to encourage the baby to turn. Some people have had really good results with this.



Practiced in Eastern medicine by trained acupuncturists, this technique burns mugwort near the acupressure point of your pinky toes to help turn a breech baby. Again, this one sounds like it has an impressive success rate.


External Cephalic Version (ECV):

This is when a qualified doctor or midwife tries to turn you baby by manually manipulating your belly to spin your baby to face down. It is typically done after the 37 week mark when the likelihood of your baby turning decreases. This one doesn’t sound very comfortable but it looks like it works fairly well if you have someone that knows what they’re doing.

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A reader passed along this excellent site that goes into many of these moves in further detail and with diagrams, videos and pictures.

Having a baby in a breech position used to mean an automatic c-section for you. However, the medical establishment seems to be changing their mind on that one (here’s a blurb from SOGC). The trouble is that there is a whole generation of doctors that don’t know how to deliver a breech baby so you may have to poke around to find someone qualified if you want to go for a vaginal breech birth.

That said, it is still ideal for your baby to be bottoms up for delivery so good luck on getting those monkeys upside down, Peeps!

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  • Tried to do the Brazilian Beetle and totally fell over and had to yell for help….this is a difficult position to get oneself in and out of when pregnant….keep a helper nearby who promises not to laugh too much. My husband just stood there laughing at me for a minute before helping me up. Charming fellow. I think the Ice Ice Baby is what finally did the trick.

  • I felt I should also add my positive ECV experience. There are so many scary ECV stories on the internet! I had it done for both babies 3 and 4. Mine went great, took maybe two or three minutes, and it was uncomfortable, but certainly nothing like the pain of recovering from a c-section wound I would assume! They turned my 4th at 38 weeks, and she stayed until 41 weeks when we had to force her out! lol.

  • I just found out that my baby is breech and we are scheduled to do an ECV to try to turn her. I really want to try these techniques to hopefully get her to turn before then. I watched a video on it and it looked very uncomfortable and I am hoping she will flip this week so I can avoid it!

  • This is a wonderfully light and humorous article! The Big Lebowski is bound to do the trick! Being pregnant with a breech baby can be an intimidating and vulnerable situation to be in, it takes a kind of strength and courage to go forth with any decision.
    Ayn Cates Sullivan shares her inspirational experience on her delivery of her breech baby and how with the help of a spirit midwife and her intuition she knew and was later confirmed that she did the best and safest thing for her son.
    Inform yourself <a href=>here!</a>

  • I have the external version done, it was worth it, My middle child’s foot got stuck in my pelvis and they pulled it out and she turned right around. I recommended it if your dr will do it.

  • Oh good heavens. It’s probably good that I’m not pregnant right now because I was laughing too hard to tell if you were serious.

  • My prenatal teacher recommended getting naked and on all fours – then shining a flashlight at your lady bits. Similar to the happy moth but a little more embarrasing if someone walks in on you

  • Labor isn't the only risk. With my EVC the baby was on his cord. They got him nearly turned the first try, but he flipped back. When they checked him, his heart rate dropped to 25 and it took more than five minutes to come back up over 100. They nearly did the c-section then and there, and then I had to wait in the hospital for the rest of the day to ensure he wasn't going to do something like that again… and it was still possible that the doctor was going to come and do the c-section that day. When things looked stable they decided not to wait long and did it a couple of days later.

  • I had an ECV. It was pain free for me…the baby was turned in less than two minutes. It is, however, incredibly anxiety provoking…if the baby doesn't like being turned, you could end up having a c-section. That's a very small possibility though and if you don't turn the baby, then it's a very high possibility that you'll have a section.

  • Had the external version with my second. The doctor got her turned around twice, but that stinker flipped right back!! The third try they couldn't even get her turned! (she didn't even like being upside down once she was born, for the first 4 years and wouldn't do gymnastics).

    For anyone who has to do this – it is not super comfortable with the doctor digging her fingers in your stomach, trying to turn the baby, but it's completely bearable/doable. And, once she stops, the discomfort goes right away. The only risk is really that you could go into labor, which is what they wait until 37/38 weeks and do it in the hospital. So, if you have to have this, don't worry or get too stressed. 🙂

  • I was reading this out loud to my husband because we had tried so many of them when #2 turned himself footling breech at 36 weeks (and got stuck – by the by ECV's feel exactly like you'd expect someone pushing their arms all the way up to the elbow into your swollen pregnant belly and pushing the baby around would feel.) and I read The Underwater Piñata as "The Underwear Piñata". I read good.

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