Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Is there still time to flip my breech baby?

Spinning Babies helps flip a breech 
The look that says, "I did it myself!"

At 36 weeks the midwives were adamant there was a less than 3% chance of my baby turning from the frank breech position and had never heard of any exercises to do. 
I was recommended to have ECV [external cephalic version is when a doctor (or occasionally a midwife) tries to turn the baby by pushing on the abdomen in a very specific way] or a C-section, and told my homebirth was out of the question.
I did the exercises you outlined. And at my 37-week scan little Pearl was head down. The Sonographer [ultrasound specialist] said she had never seen it before and said she had thought it was anatomically impossible for a baby to have turned that late?!
She was born in the pool in our sitting room while her 2-year-old big sister slept upstairs.

"Spinning Babies empowered me to have 
the most perfect birth for my family."

Spinning Babies offers hope for women who want a vaginal birth. Many women will succeed in improving baby's position with self care techniques. Others will find interventions are less taxing. The sooner you begin, the more likely you will find the "balance" you need for more comfort in pregnancy and more ease in birth.

Typical timeline for breech position 

10-24 Weeks Gestation

Baby is often transverse or a bit oblique. Few babies are vertical now.
By adding body balancing now, the baby has an increased chance of ideal positioning later at 34 weeks and beyond.

24- 30 weeks

Babies are moving towards a vertical  Routine good posture with walking and exercise will help most babies be head down as the third trimester gets under way.

30-34 Weeks Gestation

Chiropractors  may add specific maneuvers for fetal positioning, sacral and symphysis alignment, Webster Maneuver, and other soft tissue work. 
The best time to flip a breech is now. Oxorn and Foote recommend external version at 34 weeks, but most doctors want to wait for baby's lungs and suck reflex to be more developed in case the maneuver goes wrong and starts labor or compromises the placenta.
There is often enough amniotic fluid for an easy flip before 35 weeks.

34-35 Weeks Gestation

A study showed this is the most effective period for moxibustion to help babies flip head down. We suggest doing moxibustion as part of a complete routine for helping baby head down.

36 -37 Weeks Gestation

An external cephalic version may be recommended about this time for the doctor or midwife to manually turn the baby head down. It's about a 50-50 success rate. We wonder if preceding the maneuver with body balancing will increase the success or ease of moving baby. Less tension or torsion in the path of the baby seems like a goal to me.

38 Weeks to Birth

A small number of babies will turn head down in late pregnancy. It may be that up to 1% of breech babies flip head down during labor. That's not a big chance, but it shows it's possible and does happen.
An external cephalic version might be appropriate to try even up to and including early labor.
You can work with your body to prepare and work with your care provider to turn baby safely, if possible, until either your water releases or contractions are regular.

Dr. Michel Odent in his book "Cesarean" suggests waiting for labor even if you plan for a cesarean birth for a breech baby. It's a bit challenging to pull together a surgical team in the middle of the night, but helps baby establish the brain changing catecholamine and other changes for living in air.

Gail and a pregnant couple show a short version of advice for helping the breech baby get head down, Spinning Babies Parent Class.

Planned birth benefits and risks

Women today are sometimes encouraged to finish pregnancy and have their babies delivered.
The suggestion can create a sense that induction or a cesarean is the route to safety. For many pregnant people the alternative of continuing the pregnancy until nature decides the birthday no longer feels natural or safe.

But what are the actual risks? Here is an Australian study looking at the results of delivery baby with technology.

Planned births occur where a considered decision is made to deliver an infant, and in recent years there have been significant changes in clinical practice resulting in an increase in planned births before the ideal time of birth at 39-40 weeks' gestation. This is mostly attributable to the increased use of elective caesarean section and induction of labour.
The study of 153,000 Australian children published today in Pediatrics reports that overall, 9.6 per cent of children were developmentally high risk. In particular, infants born following planned birth before the optimal time of birth were more likely to have poor child development.
Using the Australian Early Development Census instrument, children in the study were assessed in five domains: physical health and wellbeing, language and cognition, social competence, emotional maturity, and general knowledge and communication.
Children scoring in the bottom 10 per cent of these domains were considered 'developmentally vulnerable', and children who were 'developmentally vulnerable' on two or more domains were classified as 'developmentally high risk'.
Compared to children born vaginally following spontaneous labor, the combined adjusted relative risk of being 'developmentally high risk' was 26 per cent higher for a planned birth at 37 weeks and 13 per cent higher at 38 weeks. This is after taking account other important factors associated with poor child development such as socioeconomic disadvantage, lower maternal age, maternal smoking in pregnancy and fetal growth restriction.
"The timing of planned birth is potentially modifiable, and the benefits of waiting should be communicated to clinicians, mothers and families," says study co-author, Dr Jonathan Morris of the Kolling Institute and the University of Sydney.
The study also reports that the risk of being 'developmentally vulnerable' increased with decreasing gestational age.
Compared to children with a gestational age of 40 weeks, the adjusted relative risk of being 'developmentally high risk' was 25 per cent higher at 32-33 weeks, 26 per cent higher at 34-36 weeks, 17 per cent higher at 37 weeks, and six per cent higher at 38 weeks.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Doctor was surprised: Transverse baby went head down at term

Doctors schedule a cesarean when a baby is lying sideways in the womb and the due date is less than a month away. This may be because it is rare to have the transverse lying baby move on their own to a head down position. 
The transverse baby lies sideways
across the top of the pelvis and
can't be born naturally.
Transverse lie is normal in early pregnancy
until about 26 weeks or so.
By 29-30 weeks we expect baby to be head down.

Common Strategies for a baby in the Transverse position after 30 weeks: 
  • Wait and see (less likely to help)
  • Manual External Version (doctor manually turns baby)
  • Cesarean (baby can't be born naturally when lying sideways)

Spinning Babies offers an uncommon strategy:

Dr. Carol Phillips, DC and Gail Tully
taken after one of Carol's weekend workshops. 
Dr. Carol Phillips, DC, friend and teacher of Gail Tully's, developed the Forward-leaning Inversion after watching the sudden ease of a birth following a ride down three flights of stairs in a gurney to the ambulance. The mother had been pushing and not able to move the baby. Dr. Carol had done all the techniques she usually saw get good results. So the midwives decided to transfer from the home birth to the hospital and get the baby born there. They just didn't want mom walking down three flights of stairs at ten cm just in case baby did come out on the stairs. So they called the ambulance crew in to help. They carried mom down on the stretcher head first -in case the baby came out on the stairs.  When they put the mom into the ambulance, swoosh, out came baby crying and kicking. 
What made that possible, Carol asked herself? The ride down the stairs head down! What anatomy did that effect?! The utero-sacro ligaments to the cervix!

Dr. Carol figured out a posture to replicate the ride this mama took. The Forward-leaning Inversion was born. 

Now we find it the perfect solution to the transverse lie. 

Read on the website about dangers and risks before you go upside down, please.

Here's the amazing story which came in today. This Mama had emailed a couple times this pregnancy and she had the same issue with her first pregnancy and used Spinning Babies to help in that pregnancy as well. Let's see what she says: 

Dear Gail, 
I have fantastic news for you. So to update you in my last email I mentioned that I was 39 weeks pregnant and had a fall 10 days earlier due to which my baby changed from head down to transverse lie position. My gynac [she may mean Obstetrician-Gynecologist] had scheduled me for a c-sec at 39 weeks 6 days because the baby was too big and they didn't think it was possible to change positions so late in the pregnancy. I consulted a second gynac who said the same thing. I had 3 days in hand to do your exercises and see if the baby's head would turn down.

On 16-18th December, I did the forward-leaning inversion and pelvic tilt. On the 17th, I felt the kicks higher up but wasn't sure where the head was. So to be sure we got admitted to the hospital at 1am so we could check the position of the baby before the scheduled csec at 8am. To our disbelief the head was down and not only that, the loop of nuchal cord around the neck was also gone. 

My [OB GYN] was in utter disbelief that the baby had turned for the following reasons:
1- the baby was fairly large - 3.6kg
2- she manually tried to spin the baby and it didn't move 
3- I was 3 days away from being full term

My labour only lasted 45mins from start to finish and I would also owe this to you for your tips of opening up the pelvic area to make labour easier. 

I am truly grateful to you for all your guidance on your website. It not only worked to spin my first baby back in 2014 but worked this time too. Your tips and exercises on the website were instrumental in helping me otherwise I'm sure I would have had to get a csec which is something I didn't want. 

I didn't end up purchasing the video but would like to donate to your organization. Please can you give me the details of how to go about it. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am spreading the word to everyone I know and my gynac will also recommend your website to her patients.

Lynn Saldanha, Mother

Learn how to do the Forward Leaning Inversion properly in this video excerpt of the Spinning Babies Parent Class. Purchase the full class on Vimeo to help you prepare for birth!
  Transverse Baby Consultation from Spinning Babies on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Belly Mapping

In your lasts months of pregnancy your baby’s kicks and wiggles become more certain, more perceivable. When you lie on your back with your knees bent your abdomen is often soft enough to feel through your skin and uterine wall to contact your baby.

Feel your baby’s contours. The womb and your belly muscles, even though they are likely softer now, will protect your baby during your gentle but determined touch. Getting to know your baby’s shape will help you picture baby’s position in your womb. You can see the steps on my website or get a more detailed description and a template to draw in the Belly Mapping Workbook.

Seeking your baby in your mind is not as awakening as actually sketching your baby on paper or creating another visual image. “Seeing” your baby ignites fires in your heart beyond the more abstract thoughts without image. The highly technical ultrasound scan increases positive perceptions of the baby early in pregnancy while late pregnancy ultrasound has mixed results in increasing or decreasing anxiety and closeness. So, ultrasound may not inspire the same neurological firings of gentle feelings which a drawing may connect.

Let’s explore how bonding may increase. Your hand moves the pencil or crayon towards the curves and lines of your child. It’s as if you discover this mysterious visitor as you draw. You see the image, you feel the love of creation as you draw. This is the being within and this is the art which expresses your hope, your wonder, your own emerging self.

Belly Mapping is a three-part process to discover your baby’s position in late pregnancy.

1.    First, draw a circle adding four parts to help you draw baby’s small parts in location. Fill in the “pie” you’ve drawn with marks to indicate the kicks, flutters, bulges and firm, smooth areas.

2.    Sketch the baby around the circles and lines, like connecting the dots in a coloring book page.  Next, put a doll over your map and then over your belly to visualize your baby’s actual position. Do the hands match the location of small flutters or are the doll’s hands going the other direction? Put the doll’s feet where you feel the biggest kicks and swing the dolls back around to match the largest firm, smooth part of the baby that you feel. (An anterior placenta will mask the baby with the big, smooth placenta.)

3.    Lastly, you can name your baby’s position with Right, Left, Anterior, Posterior or other words. Learn more in the BellyMapping Workbook.

We show photos of paintings to help you see the end result here. But the real result is in the connection between mother and child within.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Three Levels to avoiding a cesarean

The pelvis has 2 distinct areas for birth, the area for getting in and the area for getting out.

But there is also the middle.

Three Levels of the Pelvis

Inlet for Getting In
Mid pelvis for turning
Outlet for Getting Out
Assessing progress in labor includes noting which of these three levels the baby is in. In medical terms, nurses talk about "pelvic stations" which, like train stations mark the journey. But unlike train stations, each pelvic station is associated with a level of the pelvis that moves in ways that are not much like the other stations.

Pelvic Stations
-3 and -2 are at the top in the Inlet
-1, 0, +1 I call the Midpelvis based on effective solutions
+2 or lower (numbers go up) are effectively the Outlet

When providers think of techniques that "open the pelvis" they are not often associating which level that move actually opens.

Side view of Pelvic Stations

Baby's head crossing the Inlet... Whoops!

Baby's head tipped (asynclitic) in the Midpelvis

Looking up to the Outlet
The pubic arch  come down each side (past the IPR noted here) to the
sitz bones or Ischial Tuberosities (IT)
and the ligaments place the coccyx (C) and sacrum's position

Here's what can happen when a provider doesn't ask, 
Where's baby? but only asks the question of dilation.

A mother writes today, 

"I labored for 24 hours before the C-section. I was 4 cms. and not feeling any pain when they admitted me in the hospital. I was doing squats and walking the halls until 5 cms. with no pain.  The doctor thought labor was not progressing quickly enough after 7 hours and decided to break my bag of water at around 6 cms. That was when the pain shot up (More of shock than pain really). I panicked and asked for an epidural. 8 hours later and still at around 6 or 7 cms , I was wheeled into the operating room. "

One of the things I developed in Spinning Babies to ease birth and avoid unnecessary interventions to force babies through the pelvis is what I call "Pelvic Levels."  

Pelvic Levels thinking asks, Where's baby in relation to the pelvis?  
Cervical dilation is one clue. But the point is where is the wide part of baby's head? This is where we need room. Birthing women can make room at all three levels with different moves. Opening the top closes the bottom and squatting to open the bottom closes the top. So know where baby is before expecting to open the pelvis -in the right level!

Then, when we know where baby was and where baby ended up, we can see, "Whoops!", breaking that water bag (amniotic sac) may have dropped and locked baby into the mid pelvis. Baby's forehead may be against one ischial spine and the back of baby's head locked over the other side in a "deep transverse arrest" (baby's head is stuck sideways in the narrow mid pelvis). 

On our enewsletter linking you to this blog, you saw that the Spinning Babies recommended activities  for any kind of a mid pelvis stall in labor:

Lay on your side with knees together and feet open and apart, but knees together!

What not to do? 
Intense pelvic floor exercises or chronic gripping of the pelvic muscles (tends to add aches or shooting pains) can shorten the pelvic floor and cause a labor stall when baby gets to the mid pelvis and expects to rotate through the hole in the pelvic floor which turns out to be held tightly closed from mom's power moves before and during pregnancy. 

Soften the way by lengthening pelvic floor muscles and doing complementary exercises for the muscle pairs that nurtured together make the balance of birth. 

Learn more about pelvic levels and the techniques listed in Spinning Babies; Parent Class. 
See step by step instructions on resolving the issues at each level of the pelvis. Birth Geek Heaven. Get your Spinning Babies; Parent Class download on your favorite device. Be sure to have extra room on your device for the download and a little more for function. You can download it only to one device, but you can stream it from any internet source that allows streaming. free membership required. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Daily Activities are "Essential" but...

We at Spinning Babies recommend beginning Daily Activities as you feel fit for simple activities.
We don't recommend "feeling the burn" but rather listening and respecting your changing body to feel the stretch. Moving through a pose slowly and holding it with good alignment is more important for supple flexibility.

If you like the social feeling of a video, even at home, Daily Essentials yoga routine is a real "feel good" stretch half-hour physically and in mood. Starting the daily routine of stretching with Sarah Longacre in the Daily Essentials video at about 20 weeks pregnant has been attributed to shorter births by the parents who use it everyday.

We expect to see baby's position be anterior at each appointment from 30 weeks on to birth (in general, I observe that a first time mom has spontaneous onset of labor between 41 weeks and 41 1/2 weeks). 

The left occiput transverse or left occiput anterior position in the womb most usually allows baby to be curled up and aim the small, round crown of the head into the pelvis.

Daily Essentials: Activities for Pregnancy Comfort & Easier Birth from Spinning Babies on Vimeo.

Unexpectedly, a baby may rarely change position quite late in pregnancy. 

Long car ride? Nope. Not in this case.
Fall? No.
Strange turning movement with a jolt (like golfing or softball or giving a chiropractic adjustment as opposed to receiving one)? No.

Could it be the umbilical cord? This is unlikely but possible. Correct for the other reasons and ask for medical (or midwifery) assessment of baby's heart rate. During birth the baby will be listened to for dips in the heart rate and if they match a particular pattern, it may be assumed to be due to a short or wrapped cord. Often when a provider doesn't know the answer they fill in the "blank" with umblical cord and only after the birth if the cord is seen to be wrapped or uniquely short can we confirm that the baby's lack of descent or rotation was due to the cord.  We leave this question for that time. 

Could there be a twist in the pelvic floor lower down that made baby turn as s/he dropped? This may not be known, but a Physicial Therapist, Pelvic Floor Specialist, professional bodyworker, Osteopath or Chiropractor MIGHT be able to assess this. If getting an assessment isn't practical, doing the corrective activities wouldn't be harmful if they actually weren't needed. 

The answer is the same here as for most mysteries, add balance and go within. 
More practical tips for parents coming!

Spinning Babies Parent Class from Spinning Babies on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Trying Spinning Babies for the first time

Try this food.... you'll like it!
Listen to this electronic brain-wave music.... it'll boost your productivity!
Let's visit my college friend, you'll have fun...

Does trying something new seem risky?

The activities on Spinning Babies can seem novel and strange for many people.
How do we know if something new is beneficial?

Choosing to try a technique from Spinning Babies

  1. Make sure you understand the correct way to do a technique: The way you do your technique is safe.
  2. You don't have a contraindication to the technique: You are medically safe to do the technique.
  3. Match the right technique to your comfort or labor progress goal: Your choice reaches your goals.

Spinning Babies has chosen key techniques from birth traditions and body work brilliance to offer specific results in some cases and general improvement in range of motion and comfort over all.

The when to do what is found on within the articles discussing the general topics of pregnancy and the specific topics on the childbirth process.

Here's one woman's story of moving past her initial hesitation to respond to a physical need for increasing comfort. She writes to Connie, her doula. They live in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Connie! I've been kinda lazy about those three Spinning Babies exercises 😔 - I'm just never in the mood to do a headstand [She means forward leaning inversion, which is NOT a head stand but is an inversion]..... BUT I was having really bad round ligament pain all weekend - like could barely walk, was dragging my right leg behind me, needed help getting out of bed, etc. - it felt like it was on both sides but actually I think it was mostly right side - anyway, it seemed like the [Forward Leaning Inversion] might help so we tried it and it was a miracle! I only did it for 30 seconds and it made everything so much better - I could walk normally again for the first time since Friday! Anyway, just wanted to tell you my Spinning Babies success story - now I'm extra motivated to keep doing that one, and hopefully the others, too - we also did the Rebozo Sifting and I think that might've helped as well

Connie is a coronary nurse and doula. Read more about her journey and services at

 Best technique is easy on the stairs. The neck hangs loose. The head is gently flexed. But it is in coming up that the technique is completed. Rise up to a high kneeling position. Have help the first few times, as your body will adjust to blood movement and the sense of your position from your middle ear.  Be safe. Read the instructions to find out if you can be safe to try this; ask your medical provider if there is any medical reason you couldn't go upside down (high blood pressure, for instance).

Changing the Earth by supporting Birth

Mothers bring forth life; medical corporations do not. Birth can be simple, powerful and loving. Fetal positioning, natural birthing and practical help for normal birth.