Operation Flip This Baby

We had an ultrasound last week.  We were thrilled to hear that the baby is growing and developing just as it should be.  The technician said “looks great” and “we like to see that” enough times to get me giddy.  The baby weighs approx. 2.2kg (4.5 lbs or so).  It was so exciting to squint at that screen and make out a beating heart and little feet.  I never knew the vertebral column could be so beautiful!

In all my efforts to be prepared for this journey of pregnancy, childbirth and delivery, one thing the ultrasound technician did say was something that had never crossed my mind.  The baby is lying in a transverse position. Uh, that’s not a good thing is it? I hesitantly inquire.  In his incredibly jaded, my-job-is-boring tone he says “we like to see them head down by now, talk to you doctor”.

Leaving the office, all I could think was that if this baby doesn’t do an olympic-worthy flip in the next seven weeks I will be looking at a c-section.  And so begins Operation Flip This Baby!

A few google searches later and I have a plan.

  • Step Two – Hands and Knees position.  Although I’m not motivated enough to scrub the floor, that is what I have read kept our mothers from having transverse and breech babies.  Our habits of reclining on the couch and working at computers may be a reason that it is more common to see non-optimal fetal positioning nowadays.  So I now try to lean forward more often!  I haven’t yet figured out how to watch tv on all fours, but I’m working on it:)

  • Step Three – Hypnosis.  I believe in the mind-body connection.  I have been thinking happy thoughts and encouraging this baby to head south, but I’ve enlisted the help of an audio track from Hypnobabies.com.  Boy, is it powerful!  I have listened to it three times and have yet to stay awake through the whole thing.  I don’t know if it will work to flip this baby but I am getting the best sleep in weeks!


It is difficult to find any concrete evidence that these tricks work.  There are many more things like bouncing on a birthing ball, headstands in a pool, acupuncture and chiropractic work that are suggested, as well.  It also seems that some babies just wait until they are in the mood and then turn all by themselves.  I am 33 weeks pregnant.  There is lots of time for turning, right??!

Did you try any techniques to help turn your baby head down?  What worked and what didn’t?

Here are some resources:

Birthing Naturally

Spinning Babies


6 thoughts on “Operation Flip This Baby”

  1. Hi… I also tried the inversion and hipno-birthing… and moxibustion… I had convinced two doctors to deliver my breech baby… one was giving me an induction date the other was more into the natural process so obviously I picked the second one. When my water broke, I had no choice but to have a c-section as the 2nd doctor was going off call at that moment and I only saw fear of the possibility of a breech delivery in the eyes of the emerge proceeding doctor. So, I did try everything but my hard head baby never turned. Oh! I also tried the doctor’s way of hand turning, manually turning the baby by 4 hands – it was worse than giving birth (my first was a home birth)! I so do NOT recommend it, not only it didn’t work, it was excrutiatingly painful and I ended up in tears and stretch marks because the docs didn’t even use cream or anything… oh that was so painful! 🙁

    1. Thanks for sharing Ale!
      Yikes, the manual turning does not sound fun. I have read quite a few stories like yours and am definitely looking to avoid it! It is difficult to predict these things, but I guess we have to let the babies have their say too:)

  2. Hi Sara!
    Just to say that my 1st daughter was head-up until 39 weeks!!! We tried everything (osteopathy, acupuncture-moxibustion, positions, etc.). We wouldn’t consider a c-section, so all our hopes were put on a manual turning.
    And we did it! Really, the pain, as in everything else related to pain, is a very relative thing: the IV and the clumsy nurse were SO PAINFUL compared to the turning itself. I was very confident (my midwife was, too!), and the practice of yoga and relaxation really helped through the procedure. It was uncomfortable, awkward even, but totally bearable for me. I kept mantra-ing “i am jello, i am jello”, and the baby flipped!!!
    If you can, do try it: and ask the md what his-her success rate is. The “hands in” experience makes a huge difference. At least, you will be able to say that you have done everything in your power to flip that babe…
    Hang in there!!!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I really appreciate your comment. I will do all that I can to get this baby to flip:) It is nice to hear that the manual turning did work for you. I will have to do more research on the topic and talk in depth with my doctor. All options are on the table; I will do everything before a c-section!

  3. We tried all of the above, including an unsuccessful attempt at manual inversion (which, I won’t lie, wasn’t comfortable but using the relaxation techniques that we learned in hypnobirthing helped a lot), but our stubborn little breechling never turned. Luckily for us we had an awesome midwife who hooked us up with an OB who was willing to let me try to deliver vaginally. After about 6 hours of active labour (but only about 5 minutes of pushing), our daughter became the first vaginal breech delivery to a first-time mom at our local hospital in over 20 years- yay us! We discovered as she was being born that our little breechling hadn’t been able to turn because she had become wrapped up in the umbilical cord. She is now a healthy, happy, and thriving 3 1/2-month old little girl.

    My advice would be to relax and keep doing what you’re doing … inversions, hypnosis/relaxation, moxibustion, knees-to-chest position, etc, to try to get baby to turn one way or the other. You’ve still got lots of time, and Baby still has enough room to turn fairly easily, if s/he is able. Spinningbabies.com has lots of different ideas to help babies move into position – you might try a package of frozen peas on the side of your belly where Baby’s toes are, and simultaneously having your hubby/partner talk to Baby down at the bottom of your belly, to get Baby to tuck toes in and spin down to hear him better!

    You may want to try to find a midwife or a doula who can help you try to convince Little Mister/Miss Transverse to turn occiput anterior. I’ve also heard that there are some chiropractors that can perform a maneuver on you that helps to free up your pelvic muscles & ligaments, to allow Baby to turn more easily in utero.

    All the best to you! Keep us posted on how things go…

    1. Thanks Karyn,
      Congratulations on your breech birth! That is awesome.
      I will definitely keep trying the many ideas out there. I really appreciate your encouragement.
      I’ll keep you posted:)

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