How I (Maybe) Flipped My Breech Baby

by Lara on June 5, 2013

Disclaimer:  I have no medical training of any kind.  Do not do any of the following without consulting your care provider.  

Flipping a Breech Baby

Around 36 weeks gestation, we discovered that our baby was breech.  He had been head down for weeks, but I felt him move around the 35 week mark and was sure he had flipped.  We were devastated.  We had prepared for months for a natural birth, and wanted as little interventions as possible in hopes of avoiding a c-section.    I did everything in my power to turn him.  At almost 38 weeks, he finally flipped back to vertex (head down).

I have no idea if anything I did contributed to this.  I will never know.  But what I do know is that somewhere in the world at some point in time, an emotional, scared, frantic, heavily pregnant woman will Google “How do I flip my breech baby” at 4am, and hopefully she will find this post.

To you, crazy, panicked pregnant lady, I say, read on…and consider the following (under medical supervision):

  1. External Cephalic Version (ECV).  This was the most involved of the things we tried, and carried the most risk.  An ECV is when your practitioner tries to manually turn the baby from the outside.  Our hospital had a 50/50 success rate, but I have heard of higher success rates elsewhere.  It’s painful, but manageable.  You can read about my failed version here.
  2. Acupuncture.  If nothing else, acupuncture was incredibly relaxing during a stressful time (I actually fell asleep in one of the sessions).  It’s also said to help trigger the release of energy to help your body “move freely” and allow baby to move into position.  I got a referral from my midwife group for a practice that specialized in working with pregnant women.
  3. Moxibustion.  I was willing to try anything that was low or no risk, no matter how silly.  Moxa is a mugwort that can be burned like an incense stick by various points of the body.  For a breech baby this point is near your pinky toe.  We burned moxa like crazy.  My pinky toes actually turned a yellowish orange color from it.  In addition to doing it at home, the acupuncturist also did it during our sessions.  Moxa comes in sticks, which you hold near the desired area, or in a stub-like piece that can be adhered to the body.  For home use I prefered the sticks.
  4. Chiropractor.  I visited a chiropractor for the Webster technique.
  5. Swimming.  Specifically hand stands in the water and lots of flips.
  6. Light & Sound.  During my late-night internet readings I encountered the idea to draw baby’s head down by placing light and sound at the pubic bone.  It felt ridiculous (“Go to the light!”) but would always get him to move a lot.
  7. Hot & Cold.  Similar to light and sound, the idea is to draw baby toward the warmth.  We used a hot water bottle and frozen peas.
  8. Scrub the floors.  Ok, not literally.  But hands and knees position is ideal, so you may as well scrub the floors while you’re at it.  Also, I did a ton of pelvic tilts throughout the whole pregnancy.
  9. Inversions/Breech Tilt.  Somehow an ironing board supported my pregnant body weight.  Check out this page from for all the information you would ever want on this.
  10. Acceptance.  Even though I desperately did not want to have a c-section, after a couple weeks of fighting it, I reached a place of reluctant acceptance.  Baby turned the next day.  Things have a way of working out.

There are some care providers in the US that will vaginally deliver a breech baby.  This was not an option for us, as we could not find a doctor willing to do it in the Seattle area and we were not comfortable with a breech home birth.  But I know there are many healthy babies born breech and it can be wonderful.  For us, the risks outweighed the advantages, so we would have proceeded with a cesarean if baby didn’t flip.  As with birth in general, it is a very personal decision.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Katy Widrick June 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

I LOVE this and I’m pinning it to try and help other moms…

…I will try and write a similar post on how I kickstarted labor without an induction. Obviously, I don’t really know if anything I did triggered it or if it was just meant to be, but I was like you — googling every possible natural labor jumpstart (once I was past my due date) and thankfully, things started just a few days short of my planned induction.


Lara June 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Thanks Katy! Yes, I think that would be a very valuable post. I am ALL about doing everything you can to avoid a chemical induction!


glidingcalm June 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

great post!!! love you!!!


Lara June 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Right back atcha! 😉


Andrea@WellnessNotes June 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I remember that time! Your little man always had a mind of his own! 😉 So glad everything worked out in the end!


Lara June 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm

He certainly has!


Abby June 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I remember that frantic time! I think it was doing handstands in the pool that finally got Sophia to flip years ago haha.


Lara June 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Yes you were so supportive during that! Thank you again! So glad our little flippers flipped!


Lindsay @naturallyfamily June 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I was reading this nodding my head the entire time. We tried the hot/cold, the light, and music. I did a lot of forward sitting which was so uncomfortable when all you want to do is relax backward. I did a lot of yoga, acupuncture, swimming, cat/cow pose, and inversions. I was at the point where I had almost given up when all of a sudden one night I felt this huge movement and soon after all those low kicks I had been feeling stopped and I started to get kicked in the ribs instead.

Side note because E was breech up from about 22-36 weeks her legs were like frog leg shaped from being crunched up. There was some concern about hip displayscia(sp?) but so far no issues!


Lara June 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

I forgot you went through this, too! So glad our little ones flipped!
Great to see you and E!


Katie V-W May 28, 2014 at 5:39 am

Yes, I am that crazy, panicked pregnant lady, frantically googling how to flip my baby! (although it’s not 4am!) Just turned 36 weeks, and my lovely little transverse baby has decided to go the wrong way. I’ve already been out and got the Moxa sticks, the ironing board is set up, I’ve upped my yoga workout, hanging off the sofa in inversions and about to set off to the pool! When the husband gets home it’ll be a brisk walk around the block, followed by more of the above, I feel that this might become an exhausting couple of weeks but I’ll do anything to flip this baby! My Doula is on holiday this week too… I think the key is probably the acceptance, but it’s just so much to take in and let go. I have to keep reminding myself its more important that Baby and I are safe and well that the experience I have. Wish me luck! Turn baby, turn!


Lara May 28, 2014 at 7:09 am

Aww, good luck! There is still plenty of time!


Maureen August 14, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Hi Lara. It’s only 2:20am but not only did your opening make me chuckle, it made me feel less alone. Thank you! I am just shy of 34 weeks along. It seems for the past month (maybe longer) my ObGyn has been saying the baby is breech, but she didn’t seem concerned therefore and neither was I; until now. I have googled, pinned, read and watched numerous blogs, videos and suggestions. I’m just not clear on the acupuncture. How many sessions do you need? Is there any worry that toxins are released that could harm the baby? Most importantly…how painful is it? (GULP!) This is my fourth pregnancy. I am having a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact I have had 3 quick and relatively uneventful vaginal births just to get sliced open on the last. So thank you again for giving this stubborn, crazy and panicked lady some hope.


Lara August 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Aww Maureen, there is still plenty of time! My little guy hadn’t even flipped to breech at that point yet, and then he flipped back to head-down by 38 weeks 🙂
I did two sessions of acupuncture. I don’t know if it helped, but it was actually very relaxing! Pretty much painless, and at one point I actually fell asleep. I don’t know anything about toxins or safety of it, but I am pretty sure it is considered very low risk, and people have been doing it for thousands of years!
Good luck to you…please let me know if baby flips!


Morgan May 4, 2016 at 11:12 am

I had a breech baby and nothing worked. The doctor and 2 nurses tried to manually turn him by pushing and moving the baby through my belly. It was painful and a nightmare. They got the baby sideways then the baby moved right back and I had to have a c section.


Vida September 29, 2016 at 6:15 pm

U look so much like me .when I first saw the picture I thought it was me but no I’ve never taken a picture like that. It’s so amazing u can find someone just like u.


Vida September 29, 2016 at 6:18 pm

Buy the way I have the same dog. And my first child which now is 14 was breached too.


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