Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Worried your baby will be breech?

Many Soon-to-be-Mommys are concerned about the same things. If baby will be healthy, if breastfeeding will be easy, if they will be able to handle the late night feedings, and many other concerns on the general care of baby. But the most resounding and worrisome questions for mommies tend to involve the birth of their baby and challenges associated with birth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cesarean rates have increased yet again in the United States. In 2009, the rate of cesarean section was the highest it has ever been in history, a resounding 32.9% which is approximately 1/3 of all births. This trend has been increasing even for low risk mothers who've decided to electively undergo c-section. It is also common practice for mothers with breech position (head up babies that haven't flipped) to undergo C-section due to a study published in the Lancet in 2000. This study was ended early after suggested higher risk to vaginal delivery for breech babies and almost all obstetricians are now performing c-section for breech birth due to the results. However, breech births are a complex process that has not been studied enough and one trial should not be the standard to shift obstetric practice towards elective c-section. Read more about birth trends in the US here.

So what can you do to help reduce your risk for breech or turn baby head down for your approaching due date?
1) Stay flexible. Tight muscles in the pelvic floor coupled with weakness in the supportive core muscles can lead to an unnatural pelvis position that will make it harder for baby to flip head down and also decrease the size of the birth canal. Talk to your doctor or chiropractor about exercises you can do to loosen these muscles and keep a strong core.
2) Make sure you're balanced. If you're experiencing pain on one side of your stomach or pain in your low back it could indicate that your pelvis and the supportive ligaments of the uterus are out of balance. If these are unbalanced it can lead to twisting of the uterus which can cause longer birth times, more pain during birth, and a higher risk of interventions. If you're experiencing this I highly recommend visiting a chiropractor familiar and well versed in Webster's Technique. This chiropractic technique helps to realign the pelvis to a natural position and also addresses ligamentous strain causing uterine twisting. As a plus, pregnant women have found decreased birth times and easier birth with chiropractic care.
3) Put together a birth plan. You and your partner should discuss what you'd like to do on the day of delivery including what you would interventions you'd like for your child. Baby Center has a great worksheet for parents to fill out with many different options. Click here to fill out that worksheet.
4) Prepare for delivery. Many first time moms or VBAC moms are unsure of what to expect on delivery day but many are well versed in how to know if you're in labor. The biggest key is to listen and trust your body. Many women that find themselves in labor tense up when contractions start which can increase the time it will take for baby to descend and make you miserably tired when its time to push. I recommend talking to your doctor about your concerns and things you can do to speed up labor time.

If  you feel like you've reached a wall and would like to talk about some other options for flipping your baby to the correct head down position before birth, don't hesitate to contact me!