Heads Up Breech Birth Study!!

I was mostly-happy with my new OB, who delivered Fiala, who is now 8 months old (after switching OBs at 30 weeks from one I didn’t like, to whom I had switched after my former — beloved — OB retired).  However, one thing I wasn’t happy about was that he kept mentioning a possible induction, given the size of all my babies, and the fact that I was at an increased risk for hemmorhaging.  I finally made it clear to him that I would rather vaginally birth a 10 lb. breech baby, past term, with no medications, than be induced, and that he was to mention it no further, until I was at a minimum of 42 weeks.  Happily, he complied.  Happily, too, that wasn’t necessary, as Fiala was born the old-fashioned (non-breech) way at 40 weeks, 2 days.

Still, at some point in my pregnancy (I’ll have to look back on my blog to see exactly when!), Fiala was still breech, so I had started looking into birthing breech.  I was fairly alarmed that it appeared to be standard protocol to do a c-section.  I knew it was possible to vaginally birth breech, as the sister of a friend birthed her breech baby — I don’t remember the exact term for the birth, but her son was breech, but came out with one foot first, so he came out in the “splits”, one foot first, bottom down, also posterior — face up — all with no medications.  😮  From her birth story, it was a traumatic, painful experience.

By the time I was going to ask my OB about his stance on vaginal breech birth, Fiala flipped.  🙂

One of my very favorite blogs, Stand and Deliver, is written by Dr. Rixa Freeze, a natural childbirth advocate.  (She has had two children at home, one unassisted, one with a midwife.)  She is starting a study regarding breech birthing in North America.

If you gave birth to a breech baby, or if your baby was breech at some point during pregnancy, we would like to invite you to participate in a research study. Please share this announcement with others who might be interested in participating.

Research goals:
Breech research is often aimed towards health care providers and tends to focus on maternal and fetal health outcomes. Our research explores women’s experiences and feelings about carrying a breech baby; their decision-making process when discovering that their baby was breech; their care providers’ recommendations and protocols for breech birth; and the birth options available to them, from vaginal breech birth to elective cesarean section. We will present the results at the Second International Breech Conference in Ottawa. We also hope to submit an article to a peer-reviewed journal. Participation is confidential.

Who can participate:
All North American women who have had breech pregnancies or births are invited participate in an essay-response survey, which takes approximately 15-30 minutes to complete. We are interested in participants who had breech pregnancies (breech babies who turned head-down before birth). We would also like to hear from women who have given birth to breech babies, whether vaginally or by cesarean section; with midwives, physicians, or unassisted; at home, in a birth center or in a hospital. We welcome input from both singleton and multiple (twin, triplet, etc) breech pregnancies and births.

How to Participate:
To take the survey, please visit the Breech Pregnancy and Birth Survey.

About the researchers:
Dr. Rixa Freeze has a PhD in American Studies and focuses on childbirth and maternity care. She blogs at Stand and Deliver. Julie Searcy is a PhD candidate at Indiana University with interest in the cultural discourse around birth.

Please contact us at breechbirth.study@gmail.com.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on July 6, 2009, in Babies, Birth. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. A family at church just lost a baby in an assisted at-home, several days past due date breech delivery. 😦 Very sad situation.

    • I do think that if I had a breech baby, I would want to deliver in a hospital, but with a doctor familiar with breech birthing, who supported my choice to birth vaginally. (Doctors of that variety are rare, though!)

      Birth can end in death, whether at home or at the hospital, and as I remember, the statistical risks of delivering at home are no greater (lesser perhaps?) than delivering in a hospital. However, one can’t help thinking that maybe the care that the mother received could have been better from an MD or DO. Maybe not, though. Here in Phoenix, there was a high-level politician whose wife died during birth, and the baby a few days afterwards, all in the hospital. Tragic and sad, either way. 😦

  2. Tragic and sad, either way. I ache for that family that just lost their baby and pray that the parents aren’t second guessing their birthing decision with guilt.

  3. I have to admit that breech birthing always frightened me a little. But I think that I would still give it a go if it was necessary.

  4. This was interesting. I didn’t know of all of the techniques listed that you can do to try to change baby’s position! I had 2 pregnancies where baby was in breech position in the weeks leading up to my due date. In both situations, thankfully baby changed. I spent a lot of time with my rear in the air while watching tv though!

  5. I had a midwife for my pregnancy and (hospital) delivery and she told me about several studies that have been conducted in Europe with breech births. As long as proper precautions are taken during birth, breech births can go quite well generally. I think that in North America we are way too quick to jump into c-sections and inducements, especially if we have an OB-GYN as our primary pregnancy caregiver.

  6. glutenfree4goofs

    I remember my fear having one baby who insisted on carrying breech until the very last minute as well. Someone told me to dive into a pool of water! 🙂 Ha, might have worked but he turned on his own (boy does that hurt when they are full term). My heart and prayers go out to your friend Penny. 😦

  7. newbeginnings09

    I took this survey and was surprised at how it played out. I gave birth by planned csection to a footling breech baby boy. It was a HARD birth, much harder than my others. I can’t imagine, me personally, giving birth to a breech baby vaginally. However, his birth scarred my uterus and although I went on to have another child, I was told I nearly died during birth (I passed out, don’t remember a thing 😦 ) and I won’t be able to have any more.
    If I had it to do over again, I probably would have fought much harder to have a natural birth. I know they can flip at the last minute, because he did, at 39 weeks, into the footling position!
    Neat survey. Thanks for the link Karen!

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