Common Movements for Breech Babies
Last week I had a patient come see me based on her doctor’s recommendation. The client was 27 weeks and her doctor mentioned that her baby was breech. Not a big deal because most babies will continue to move around until they begin to run out of room (around 37-39 weeks). However, I was super impressed by this ObGyn because she encouraged her patient to see a chiropractor to help get baby in the ideal head down position for birth early on.
Now, if you do not know anything about breech babies or why Americans like to freak out about breech babies, then I’d encourage you to watch the Heads Up documentary. This movie offers up facts and not just an indoctrinated opinion because of money and convenience.
Chiropractic care is VITAL during pregnancy. Yes, it can help with lower back and hip pain and discomfort. But, chiropractic care can help to balance a woman’s body (and pelvis) to help make the most room for baby.
Babies are smart, intuitive creatures. Their head is the biggest part of their growing little bodies. Their heads will go where there is the most room, and sometimes that happens to be up under the ribs when the pelvis is not balanced or tighter on one side.
I believe that you can help your baby go head down starting at weeks 25-27. Actually check out Spinning Babies for more information on fetal positioning. If for some reason the baby is still breech around weeks 30-32, then you had better get a bit more involved in helping your baby go head down.
When a woman comes to see me and she’s breech and 30-32 weeks, I see her a minimum of 2-3 times a week. I also recommend that she see a skilled acupuncturist. Each mom that I see is sent home with specific movement instructions. Some of the more common movements I send home with a breech mom are mentioned below, but definitely not limited to just these movements.
Yes, there are babies that are breech for a reason. However, that is only about 3-4%. Each mother’s body is a roadmap with a unique musculoskeletal history. It is up to you to find a chiropractor and acupuncturist that will help you navigate through your asymmetries. When a mother has a significant imbalance side-to-side in her structure a breech presentation is a very real possibility.
If you do not what position your baby is in, then find out. Know your body and know your options.
The mother’s posture and movement will actually tell me so much about what is going on inside of her- physically and non-physically. If she sits all day (driving or office), then she will most likely have shortened iliopsoas muscle groups with a bit of a slouch in the mid back. It may be difficult for some of these women to open up and just breathe.
Love Your Psoas
Almost all breech presentations have a psoas that is tighter, shorter, and/or less mobile. If you have that not-so-awesome posture with a shortened psoas muscle and super tight quad muscles on one side, then the space in your pelvis is significantly decreased. That uterus is going to be pulled like your grandma wringing out a towel. The most space for baby to put their sweet little head will mostly likely be on one side up under the ribs. Spend some time mobilizing this psoas.
If you are comfortable with handstands, then do what you love and are comfortable doing. If that’s not for you then downward dog or using a couch is definitely just as good of an option. Inversions help to get the baby off of the back of your sacrum and out of the pelvis. There uterus is suspended within the pelvic cavity via ligaments (like a hammock). The idea is to get the baby out of the pelvis to create a bit of an elastic recoil effect with these ligaments, especially the one directly posterior connecting to the sacrum. Spend about 10-20 seconds tops inverted, then come out of the inversion.
When you come out of an inversion, I’d encourage you to do some cat-cow movements. This is a semi-weight-bearing movement in which you can organize your spine and posture before standing (full weight-bearing).
Investigate your squat. See which hip, lower back, groin, and so on have less give or space to move. Spend some extra time mobilizing (not just stretching but really moving through the joint) to gain space in those troubled areas.
Substitute heavy lifting days with swim workouts or just floating in the pool.