How to Tell if my Baby Is Breech

When Upside-Down Isn’t Happening

There are so many things to wonder about during your pregnancy, and “Is my baby breech?” should be on the list. As you prepare for the big day, you hope baby is doing her part by getting into position. If you’re in between checkups and you’re having doubts, there are a few signs to be on the lookout for until your healthcare provider confirms your suspicions.

What Is Breech Position?

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How to Tell if Baby is Head Down

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Although most babies turn to a head-down position during the third trimester, a small percentage are breech. A baby is in the breech position if his feet, legs or buttocks are pointing down toward the mother's cervix. In these positions, his head is not in place to come out first during delivery. In even more rare cases, a baby is lying on his side, which is known as a transverse position. In most cases, healthcare providers are not able to determine why the baby did not turn. If labor is early though, the baby may not have reached a late enough point during the pregnancy to turn to the head-down position. Breech births can also happen during the birth of multiples or when there are complications such as fibroids, placenta previa, or too much or too little amniotic fluid.

How Do I Know If My Baby is Breech?

It may be difficult for you to tell if your baby is breech. It’s not uncommon to feel no differently at all. One sign, though, is if you feel your baby’s kicks low in your belly. You may also be able to feel your baby’s head high up in your abdomen. Check with your doctor to confirm your suspicions. Healthcare providers can feel your upper and lower abdomen and try to pinpoint where your baby’s head is. This may also be determined by checking your cervix. If the doctor feels your baby’s bottom, feet or legs during a vaginal examination, your baby is likely breech. A fetal ultrasound can confirm more precisely what position she is in.

Options When Baby Is Breech

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Once a breech position is confirmed, your doctor can discuss the next steps. Depending on what stage of your pregnancy you are in, a “wait and see” approach may be taken to see if your baby will naturally change positions. Another option is an external cephalic version. This is a technique used by doctors to attempt turning the baby to the head-down position. Some women may choose to try natural techniques, such as playing music to encourage the baby to move toward the sound. Your doctor may also discuss performing a cesarean section to deliver the baby. Your and your doctor can discuss these options and use the safest techniques for bringing your baby into the world.

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