How to turn a breech baby

I often get emails from women asking how to turn a breech baby. Many have been told that unless bub turns head down, they’ll be booked in for a caesarian rather than being allowed to birth naturally.

Before we get into the yoga positions I recommend let me just put this out there first. If you are in this situation you can ask for a second (or third) opinion. There are doctors and midwives who are experienced in delivering breech babies naturally if that’s what you choose.

Helping a breech baby to turn is all about making space and alignment in the pelvis, so that baby has the room to move. Yoga for pregnancy naturally helps to create space in the body and improve the alignment of the pelvis, however these 6 poses are what I recommend when a baby is found to be breech. Scroll to the bottom of this article if you prefer to watch the video instead.

How to turn breech baby with yoga

Down dog against the wall

Stand close to the wall and press the palms in at about hip distance. Start to walk the feet back until they are underneath the hips. Bend the knees as much as you need to make this pose comfortable. Keep pressing through the hands and let the belly be soft. Breathe deeply here for five full breaths.

Wide leg forward fold with wall support

turn a breech baby

From the previous position, step the feet out as wide as feels comfortable. Breathe deeply and let your belly be soft. Stay for five breaths.

Melting heart / exaggerated melting heart

turn a breech baby

From tabletop pose (with your knees underneath your hips, and hands underneath your shoulders) start to walk your hands out in front of you bringing the chest and forehead towards the floor. You can stay here, or if you’re able to, keep moving the chest and arms away from the legs so that the body makes an A shape. It can be helpful to get your partner to wrap a rebozo around your legs and pull backwards so that you don’t have as much weight in the arms.

Supported bridge

turn a breech baby

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet in towards your hips. Exhale and press into your feet, lifting your hips up towards the ceiling. Slide a bolster (or cushions or rolled blanket) underneath your tail bone. Rest here for five breaths. (You want the hips high enough that you can feel the weight of your belly drawing back down towards your chest. For some women this makes breathing more difficult. Only stay for as long as you are comfortable.).

Breech tilt on bolsters

turn a breech baby

In birthing circles this pose is often practiced using a couch and an ironing board. Check out this post to see how. This is how I’ve adapted the breech tilt for a yoga class. I recommend that you only practice this pose with a partner to support you to lay back and sit up safely.

Sit on the top of the bolsters and use your arms as support to slowly lower your body to lie down. Try and stay for at least five breaths and up to 20 minutes. This pose helps to allow the muscles and ligaments of the pelvis to relax, giving baby space to turn around.

Forward leaning inversion off bolsters

turn a breech baby

The forward leaning inversion has got to be THE pose recommended for women who want to help a breech baby turn. While I use bolsters to create the height in a yoga class, this pose can also be practiced off a couch or a bed. As with the previous pose, I recommend having a partner with you to help you safely move in and out.

Come to kneel on the edge of the bolsters (or couch or bed). Slowly bring the hands down to the floor underneath your chest and then walk the hands out until you make an A shape with your body. Slowly lower yourself down to your forearms and let your belly soften. Stay here for five breaths and then slowly return back to kneeling. Give yourself some time for your blood to settle before you move from this position as you may feel dizzy.

How often should I practise these poses to help turn a breech baby?

Ideally you would practise these poses once a day. How long you practise will depend on how long you’re able to stay in these positions for. Start by holding each pose for five breaths and work up to holding them for as long as you’re comfortable.

What else can I do to help turn a breech baby?

Try to avoid reclining positions

Rather than laying back on the couch to watch tv try alternative positions that create space in the body instead. On hands and knees or sitting on a birthing ball are both better options.

Don’t beat yourself up about it

At the end of the day, no one can MAKE your baby move. Sometimes for unknown reasons babies simply don’t want to turn. So while it’s definitely worthwhile practising these poses to make the space in your body, try to let go of the outcome of ‘making baby turn’. Trust that your body and your baby know what’s right for you.

If you’re brand new to pregnancy yoga start by downloading my free guide here.

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