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The Four Different Types of Breech

  1. Frank- bottom first with legs extended towards baby's trunk
  2. Complete- legs folded so that feet are very close to the buttocks
  3. Footling- one or more feet coming into the pelvis first-the bottom is above the brim and the feet are below, at 37 weeks the knees may be bent so that the baby seems to be sitting on the top of the pelvis dipping his feet into the pelvic tunnel.
  4. Kneeling- both knees are coming first, the feet are folded up behind the baby's thighs.

According to Gail Tully of, a baby in an oblique or transverse lie is not a breech position and should not be labeled as such. Babies who are oblique (in the diagonal) or transverse (lying across, sideways) cannot get through the pelvis in this position.  If the "breech" baby doesn't have his or her buttocks over or in the pelvic brim (whether feet are between the brim and baby's buttocks or not), then the baby may not be truly breech. This can lead to confusion about the safety in laboring. Find more information go to

How to Help Spin or Turn the Baby

The following will include techniques to help encourage a breech baby to “turn” or “spin”.  These techniques also help for posterior or transverse lie positions.  Any mother can also choose to be proactive and may implement a daily practice of these techniques long before your baby’s position may become an issue.  Remember to combine these techniques with the bodywork techniques in order to create balance and tone so that your baby has enough space in your womb to “turn” or “spin”.

  1. The Forward–Leaning Inversions
  2. The Pelvic Tilt
  3. The Breech Tilt
  4. The Sacral Release

What are your options if you find yourself pregnant with a breech positioned baby and you want to ensure (whether baby flips or not) you can find a care provider who will be trained in breech delivery?   Well the good news is there are options.  The bad-ish news is that they may be somewhat limited due to the fact that, according to Gail Tully, “nearly all American doctors have poor training in breech skills, and many midwives are untrained in breech.”

Tips to Help Locate a Breech Birth Care Provider:

  1. The chief of staff of Labor and Delivery at a big hospital
  2. A country doctor
  3. The rare breech-skilled, home-birth midwife
  4. A birth activist, doula or childbirth educator may know the name of someone with breech skills
  5. Some woman and couples make the decision to travel far to a doctor or midwife experienced in natural breech birth

Unfortunately these names are not likely to be advertised in this manner due to the current climate surrounding breech birth and the high cost of potential legal costs.  Even when a breech birth goes smoothly and mommy and baby are healthy, midwives and doctors can face severe opposition for supporting a mother’s vaginal breech birth. 

What Makes a Care Provider Experienced With Breech Birth?

  1. Having experience delivering breech babies
  2. Having a good knowledge of the physics and cardinal movements of breech birth
  3. Knowing when to keep hands off during the birth of a breech baby and when and how to help the shoulders and head without pulling.

Lastly, when choosing a care provider experienced in breech birth make sure you have an understanding of the types of breech presentation they are trained in delivering.  In my personal situation I found a care provider who was trained and experienced in breech delivery, however what I did not find out until I was in labor was that he would only deliver a specific breech presentation vaginally.  If I am ever to find myself in this situation again, I WILL be driving to Summertown, Tennessee to birth my baby at The Farm Midwifery Center.  Knowledge is power.  Educate yourself and know your options. 

Please continue educating yourself on the importance of Optimal Fetal Positioning by visiting and purchasing “The Belly Mapping Workbook” by Gail Tully, BS, CPM, CD author of

Also see Causes of Breech Positioning & How to Prevent It




Published in Labour

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