Healthwise

Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Postural Management for Breech Position

Topic Overview

By the end of a pregnancy, a fetus is typically positioned head-down (vertex), ready to pass head first through the birth canal. Sometimes a fetus is in a bottom-down, or breech, position as the due date approaches. Postural management is a way of attempting to turn a fetus from a breech to a vertex position by lying or sitting in a certain position several times a day.

Postural management is controversial, because it has not been proved effective for turning a breech fetus into a head-down position. This practice has not been studied very much. More research is needed to find out if it works.

Postural management is generally considered a safe practice for pregnant women. But be sure to consult a doctor before trying any of these methods, especially when being treated for a medical condition, such as high blood pressure.

Postural management methods that use gravity to try to turn the baby's head down toward the cervix include:

  • Propping up your hips by lying back on a firm surface with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Raise your hips up by about 12 in. (30.5 cm) using large pillows (such as couch cushions) placed under your lower back and buttocks.
  • Raising your hips by lying on a slanted board. One end of a wide board (such as a full-size ironing board) is propped up about 12 in. (30.5 cm) to 18 in. (45.7 cm) off the floor, on the seat of a couch or sturdy chair. Lie on the board with your head toward the floor, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the board.
  • Sitting in a knee-to-chest position with your thighs pressed against your stomach.

These positions are usually held for 15 minutes and repeated several times a day for a week or more. It is helpful to do them with an empty stomach and bladder and to relax as much as possible while in position. You may need some help getting into the correct position safely. Because you may feel lightheaded when you get up, have someone help you rise slowly to prevent a fall.

Credits

Current as of: March 17, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
William Gilbert MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine

Due to the threat of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we are taking precautionary measures to protect our staff and patients. We are implementing a temporary NO VISITOR policy at this time. Only patients or patients and their guardians will be allowed into the office. Please note, this is not to inconvenience anyone! The virus is a very real threat and it is essential that we stay healthy in order to provide needed care for our patients. If you are sick, we ask that you CALL the office to speak with a nurse before you come in. The nurse will provide specific instructions for you. Please DO NOT enter the office if you are sick (upper respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, or flu like symptoms). We are closely monitoring the situation and will update you as circumstances change. Thank you for your understanding!!