It is true that 1 in 25 babies remain in breech position at birth, meaning that they are head up and buttocks down.
Types of breech positions include:
1. Frank Breech - This is where the buttocks is facing downwards, knees are extended and feet are pointed upwards.
2. Complete Breech - Similar to Frank Breech, the buttocks is facing downwards, however, in this case the knees are folded and feet are facing downwards.
3. Footling/Kneeling - In this case either one or both knees are extended and the foot/feet are facing downwards. In kneeling it is one or both knees are facing downwards with the knees folded and the feet facing upwards behind the thighs.
The breech position is completely normal for an early developing fetus and only becomes a concern and must be addressed when the fetus remains in the breech position between 32-37 weeks of development. This is because during late pregnancy the mother releases a hormone called Relaxin, which does exactly what it sounds like, relaxes all of the ligaments of the pelvis to increase the space in the uterus. This increase in space in the uterus is what allows for the baby to flip into the birthing position.
There are a number of different reasons why a fetus may remain in the breech position. The most common reason is that the pelvic joints are out of alignment which creates an imbalance in the uterine ligaments. Pelvic torsions are relatively common, does not indicate danger and can be resolved through manual therapies including craniosacral therapy, chiropractics and osteopathy. Another common reason is that the fascial tone overlaying the uterus is causing a restriction of motion which can typically be resolved with myofascial release.
In my experience with breech position I have had success in using a combination of manual manipulations on the pelvis to balance the pelvic ligaments, release the surrounding fascial tissues and increase circulation to the area in order to bring the baby into birthing position. The manipulations performed are gentle and in 2 particular instance the babies both flipped into birthing position within the following 24 hours. Depending on the reason for the breech, this process may take longer or shorter. Osteopathy is about enhancing your bodies own capabilities.
Another common reason may include a decrease in volume of amniotic fluid. The amniotic fluid has a number of functions, but one is sometimes overlooked. This fluid itself creates a pressure within the uterus that determines the amount of the space that the baby has to move around. We have to remember here that the amniotic fluid is contained by the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby. When the volume of fluid is normal or higher, it pushes out against the amniotic sac creating more space for the baby to move around. However, if the volume of fluid is low, the amniotic sac shrinks as the pressure to hold it out decreases. Think of the amniotic sac as a balloon and the fluid inside as the air that fills the balloon. The size of the balloon is proportional to the volume that exists inside of it. The fluid levels can also be addressed relatively easily with the help of naturopathic doctors. Naturopathic doctors who work with fertility and pregnancy are practitioners who are well equipped to help you make changes to your diet and increase your hydration status to return the amniotic fluid levels to normal.