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You might have guessed from this post’s title that the baby is still breech. At 4 AM on Thursday morning, the day of my last sonogram, I awoke to the baby moving so dramatically that I was sure she had shifted, not into the correct position (a full 180-degree rotation), but maybe back into a transverse position. So, you can imagine my disappointment when my doctor informed me that the baby was in the exact same position as the previous week.

How could that be? All the time, effort, and expense I had gone to opening my hips, doing breech tilts and forward inversions, and seeing a chiropractor, with no response at all? Really?? I’ve been joking with friends that this is my daughter’s first act of defiance.

So where does that leave me?

I had such high hopes for the Webster Technique, a chiropractic maneuver that’s supposed to have over an 80% success rate at flipping breech babies. Even though I’ve never received any chiropractic care to see its benefits, last week I made myself a series of daily appointments (which, I might add, I paid for out of pocket and dragged my daughter to). At each visit, the doctor applied pressure to the back of my hip bones and then my round ligaments. Even though she seemed pleased with my progress, I can’t say I ever left the office feeling any different than when I walked in.

If it just gets harder and harder for the baby to turn as the days go by (because she’s growing bigger and bigger in there with less room to shift), and daily chiropractic care at 36 weeks didn’t do the trick, does that mean I should just give up on this method for flipping the baby? It also makes me wonder about all those women who had success with the Webster Technique: How far along were they? How many times were they adjusted? What was the frequency of their adjustments? (Answers are nowhere to be found.)

Do I really have to be one of the 3-4% of women whose babies are breech, AND one of the 20% of women whose baby doesn’t turn with the Webster Technique? This is getting ridiculous!

The other recommendation that comes up frequently for turning breech babies is acupuncture. Now, if I was unsure of the benefits of chiropractic care, I’m downright skeptical of the benefits of acupuncture (especially since I spoke with one acupuncturist who specializes in pregnant women that wouldn’t even treat me this late in my pregnancy since she’s found it’s no longer effective). But as I rationalized with my husband, there’s probably a reason things like yoga, organized religion, and acupuncture have been around for thousands of years; there’s got to be something to them. And is there any harm in just giving acupuncture a try?

So, desperate as I am, I made myself an appointment to see a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Yesterday morning, she began by showing me a chart of all the paths of energy in the body, one of which somehow connects the baby toes to (among other things) the uterus. I tried to remain calm and open-minded as she stuck needles in both of my ears, my little toes, and my “third eye.” Painless? No, but not a huge deal. Then, she lit a cigar-sized moxa stick that she circled around the needles protruding from my toes for about 30 minutes, while I meditated and visualized the baby flipping.

acupuncture chart

Acupuncture point body chart (source)

Strangely enough, I did feel the baby moving—a lot more than usual—especially when the acupuncturist worked on my right side, the traditionally feminine side. But has the baby flipped? No way. Am I just being impatient about waiting for the effects of acupuncture? Should I try it again?

I’m devoted to the exercises I’ve been doing at home to help move the baby, and I’ll keep at them until the bitter end, but what about the rest of this stuff? I’ve already spent hundreds of dollars and too many hours visiting a chiropractor and now an acupuncturist. If it were you, would you continue with an open mind (and wallet)? Would you cut back but not stop all treatments? Or would you give up on them all together? Am I destined for a c-section, and I’m just wasting time, effort, and money trying to make myself feel better about an inevitable outcome? Be honest with me: What would you do?

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11 thoughts on “What Would You Do? Adventures in Baby-Flipping

  1. Okay, you asked me to be honest, so I’m going to be totally honest…even if it’s not what you want to hear. If it were me, as scary as the C-section may appear, I think I’d give up trying to flip the baby. I’d trust in my body and the baby – maybe she put herself in that position for a reason that is keeping her safer than if she were head down. (O was in the OP position – head down but face up – keeping him way high up in my pelvis. He never really did drop until I went into labor. And it was a good thing because the cord was wrapped around his neck – twice! Dropping earlier may have been an issue. You never know…) Enjoy your last few weeks/days as a mom of one. You’re going to have many new worries once that baby gets here! So, spend extra time with A and also pamper yourself a little before she arrives. Good luck!

    1. Dawn, this is really helpful to hear, actually! You know, both my OB and chiropractor said that sometimes babies just won’t budge if it’s not in their best interest to do so. And hearing your story, it makes me wonder…

      I’m trying to come to grips with the idea that this may be out of my hands, and I should just focus on delivering a healthy baby, regardless of the delivery method. Thanks for your input!!

  2. I’m never one to give up hope that’s for sure. But when it comes to time and money I have to draw the line somewhere. I would say if you felt progress with one method and you think it may help than maybe cut out the others that cost you money and stick to the one you feel is most productive! I would of course continue any suggested at home methods as long as your spirits remain high! Don’t be hard on yourself your a dedicated mommy of 2 already! Your putting in so much effort before blessing No. 2 even arrives to make sure things are positive for you both! Remain positive! What’s meant to be will be! There’s a reason for everything!
    So much truth to Dawn’s comment! Maybe your body and the baby simply know best!
    I’m sending all my positive thought and energy your way! And as Dawn mentioned above I’m sure the first few weeks will be hectic and a learning experience for everyone so take some time to do the things you love before your little blessing arrives! Even if its just taking a night out for you and your husband, or a day out for you and A!!!
    Sending Lots of Love and well wishes your way!!

    1. Thanks so much, Jacqueline! I almost wonder if the baby would flip if I just stopped worrying about it so much :)

      In the last few days, I’ve been trying to stick with my at-home, no-cost exercises, which don’t require a ton of time either. I can feel the baby moving, but she’s just not making any big adjustments to her position, so maybe she’s meant to stay that way for some reason, as Dawn and my doctors all mentioned.

      This may be an issue I can’t “fix.” I just have to let my control-freak self come to terms with this!

    1. I think something’s gotta give. I’m just not sure I want to throw my hands up entirely (not yet, at least).

  3. Gosh…Dawn makes such a great, persuasive and rational argument that it’s hard to disagree. I think if I were a rational person, that is all I would need to hear. I would choose to relax and release the worry by booking a pre-natal massage with the money I was going to use for whatever treatment. (Although if I am being honest, I would secretly hope this would turn the baby, right? So it’s not really releasing anything. Hmm…)
    Who am I kidding? I’m not a rational person. If it were me, I would try the thing/treatment that I thought was the best option one more time. Only because I would want to say with certainty that I did everything in my power, and then I could move forward with no regrets. (Even though it seems like the only one with power in this situation is your little girl!)
    Either way, I know you will do what’s best. I’m wishing you all the best!

    1. I got such a kick out of reading your comment, Alisa, because as much as I’m trying to be rational and let go of my concerns, I just can’t do it! I’m with you that I want to feel like I did everything in my power to get this baby to move, but at a certain point, I wonder about how much money I’m really willing to spend on this. Or how many mornings I’m going to spend with A at the chiropractor’s office rather than having fun with her in our last couple of weeks with just us. It’s a tricky balance. I’ve got appointments with the chiropractor and acupuncturist scheduled for Saturday, and I think I might keep them. One visit a week isn’t excessive, right? :)

  4. I had a c for purely elective reasons. The pain was very minimal. I thnk cs have such a bad reputation but there is evidence that electives cs are marginally safer for the baby.

    My advice would b to look at the positives of a c. For example- n stretching, tearing or guessing when the baby is going to arrive.

  5. What ever happened with you and your baby? I am 33 weeks and in the same boat… I feel like I’ve tried everything and the baby won’t budge. I’m wondering if the baby is breech for a reason and I should just give up.

    1. Hi Courtney, the long and short of it is that the baby did not flip. On the way to the hospital, I actually called and cancelled an appointment with the chiropractor. I shared my birth story here, with details about why she wouldn’t have been able to flip.

      Good luck! My best advice to you is to let fate/God/mother nature take its course. I absolutely hated having a c-section because of the baby’s breech position, but she’s a healthy, happy one-year-old today, and that’s all in the past.

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