Is there anything I can do to make breech baby turn?

There has been a suggestion that spending 15 minutes every 2 hours of the waking day in the knee-chest position will help the baby to turn (Elkin's manoeuvre). Although the first report of this was very encouraging, subsequent studies have not found it to be useful.

There is some evidence that hypnotherapy may be useful, though only one study has looked at this.

Acupuncture has been suggested and the results of a more formal study are awaited.

Caesarean Section

There is no doubt that caesarean section is a safe operation, but it is not without problems, and this is why many doctors and midwives still feel that there is still a place for normal breech births - particularly if you have had a vaginal delivery before.

A caesarean section means a stay in hospital of around 4 to 5 days, a more prolonged recovery, and implications for future pregnancies or operations. Overall, caesarean section is a relatively safe operation, but infections and above average blood loss are not uncommon.

Scar tissue formed during the healing can lead to pain and make future operations more difficult.

For elective surgery, you normally come into hospital either the night before the operation or the morning if it is to be done in the afternoon.

Most often an epidural or spinal anaesthetic is advised. This involves a very small needle in the back, which numbs everything below the navel so you feel no pain. Most women feel a bit of tugging and pulling, but it should not be uncomfortable.

This type of pain-relief is safer for you than being asleep (general anaesthetic). It also means that you can see your baby immediately, and usually hold him before the operation is finished.

You will need to have a drip in your hand and a catheter in the bladder to ensure it is empty. Both of these will be removed the day after the operation.


Although vaginal breech birth is now less commonly offered, ECV is a useful option to help avoid the need for caesarean section.

If you are keen for a breech delivery then it would be sensible to discuss this with your obstetrician or midwife who can advise on the availability of delivery staff who have appropriate experience.

Further Reading
If you would like to read other opinions on managing a breech births from the British Medical Journal:
How to Manage a Breech Birth
Inappropriate Use of Randomised Trials to Evaluate Complex Phenomena: Case Study of Vaginal Breech Delivery

Our pregnancy forum has more information on a variety of pregnancy complications and much more.

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