41 responses to “Breech A Variation Of Normal”

  1. Radical Midwife

    Once again, that you for this post! I just attended my first breech birth, and the placenta did follow out the baby (mom was in a supported-standing squat). We have another client with a breech baby. I also really feel that breech is a variation of normal, especially with a skilled but hands-off midwife at home.

  2. Pamela

    thank you, thank you, thank you. you echoed many of my thoughts and feelings on this.

    the pictures are gorgeous!

  3. Lisa Barrett

    the grammar on some of my late night musings is a little off. Hope to correct and improve.
    Thanks for reading.

  4. BirthRight Midwife (in training)

    Thank you for this post and the amazing pictures. As a new midwife in the end of my apprenticeship, I often struggle to connect with my preceptor and nudge her to the side of seeing breech birth as normal. I will pass this post along to her and hope that it will facilitate a discussion.

  5. CNH

    Simple beauty. I’ve been “afraid” of a possible breech since I am carrying twins and Baby B has been off and on breech. I’m sure he’s just trying to find a good spot that’s not all squished! ;) It’s outside of my norm, so it freaks me out a bit. Reading your commentary and seeing the photos are a great calming effect.

  6. Lisa Barrett

    CNH, Twin births are magic. Baby B will slide out. I hope you are birthing with a known midwife, always the best way. Check out the lotus birth article where there are twins with a shared placenta.

  7. Rixa

    Thanks so much for your post. Those pictures are phenomenal! Kudos for a wonderful hands-off breech birth (and to the mama and baby especially!).

  8. Naomi

    Thank you Lisa for this article. Perfect timing!
    I just finished a workshop where the lecturer(s) were telling us that breech isn’t normal and the head will get stuck because the body can’t wiggle the head out (like a head first). As a mid student, being with mumma’s with breech babies will be a priority on my ‘must acquire’ skills list.

  9. Sarah Stewart

    Amazing photos. Thanks a lot. Sarah

  10. I am Brooke...

    Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    Jeez woman, I love your blogging. You just make so much sense. No bullshit birth. That’s you!

    Shine on you crazy diamond.

    x B

  11. Crunchy Domestic Goddess

    so awesome!
    from a mother who had a surprise footling breech, but only has one picture of a foot coming out, it’s amazing to me to be able to view this and see what my son’s birth more or less looked like. :) thank you.

  12. cathicog

    thank you! what a beautiful learning experience! (wish I lived closer to learn from you directly!) I have had one surprise breech, footling and she did fine. Hope to meet you at a conference someday. Keep up the great work! :) cathi

  13. PCMidwife

    Beautiful story. Thank you, as I see a breech coming my way in the not so distant future.

  14. CNH

    I did in fact give birth to a breech, but it wasn’t baby B! Both babies flipped breech and baby A was born complete with a dangling foot. She was a teeny 6 pounds 6 ounces and literally fell out after I passed her head through my cervix. PAINFUL birth. Baby B then flipped vertex and posterior and I had a HECK of a time getting him born as I was so exhausted from fighting that need to push for 2 hours while his sister’s foot dangled into my vagina! LOL

    But it was a wonderful birth and I am SO thankful to have done it at home.

  15. Anonymous

    I had 2 Births , a Boy at 52 hours, at home for 42 hours,then hospital for 10 hours…7.8 # …2nd Birth a gorgeous boy with 5 hour lovely homebirth, 9.7#… then the 3rd birth, planning for a homebirth but found out 2 weeks before due date we were going to have twins, husband was not happy to birth at home, so we found a dr, had them it the hospital (with my midwife along as a support person), the dr told me if I went through with the birth, they were both breech, one would be a paraplegic & the other would be a retard, every one (except my midwife)thought I had gone nuts. Twin fraternal girls were born after 8 hours of labour, both breech 37 minutes apart,6.5# & 6.8# no bleeding whatsoever (actually made Dr mad I did not bleed as he had predicted I would hemorage big time)
    The twins are now 4 and a half years old & wonderful

  16. midwife of the plains

    Hello Lisa~
    Thank you so much for this post. I have read it many times.
    What are your contraindications for breech birth at home? For instance, what if a mama has had an u/s at 40 wks and found a nice size baby (~10lbs) and a nuchal cord.
    What is the largest breech baby you have attended at home?
    Here in the US breech birth is becoming extinct. And the whole world is watching with a certain look in the eye, while holding in the breath, if any mama decides to birth her breech baby at home. Thanks for the bold print.

  17. Lisa Barrett

    Hi, the baby in the video had a nuchal cord as did the baby in these pictures. I have never had a woman have an ultrasound at term.
    I haven’t birthed a 10lb baby that was breech because I hasn’t occured. We did have a transfer of a woman at christmas who was having her 5th baby it was breech and didn’t seem to be progressing normally. We transferred for a section, baby well and mother well but didn’t want any intervention apart from the operation. The baby was just under 11lb. It’s like any other birth, sometimes there will be indications that the baby just isn’t going to come down.

  18. Michelle

    That was beautiful. And what a gorgeous baby!

  19. AmbyUK

    Thank you, this was great to read! I had a surprise breech at home a week ago today. :) I was really shocked to find she was breech and have been googling it ever since.

    My birth story is here if anyone would like to read:

  20. Salli

    Hi Lisa!
    Thank you for your website and blog spot. I am a midwife. As a student and new midwife I assisted in two breech births. One was a second born triplet. The other was a 38 week. In both the midwife was aggressive in birthing the baby, assisting in birthing the arms and the head. Neither looked very calm and peaceful to me. I am really interested in learning more. I don't know if you know Anne Frye, but she devotes a whole chapter in her book Holistic Midwifery II. to breech birth, very similar to your approach, where midwife is very hands off. I have yet to find a midwife in my community that has this approach. Please keep you posts coming. I would like to know as much as I can.

  21. Carolyn

    I am a 36 week primip with a breech baby due to bicornute uterus. Does this have any adverse affect on labour of a breech.

  22. Lisa Barrett

    No it shouldn't affect your ability to birth at all.

  23. paige

    Hey, not sure if you'll answer questions on here, but i'm 35 weeks pregnant with my 7th & little one is still breech – i'm trying to figure out my options before his birthday. My midwife has warned me that they're not "allowed" to attend breech births… i feel certain that we (me & little one) can do this with no interventions, but am frustrated at the lack of support…
    Anyway – my question was about labouring on hands & knees – i have loved that position in the past but i'm curious if my anterior placenta this time has any affect on that being the ideal birthing position?

  24. Lisa Barrett

    after 7 babies you will birth easily no matter if its a head or a bum. Having an anterior placenta shouldn't matter. There are midwives in Canada that will attend breech. Look at Gloria Lemays blog.

  25. MrsKatherineA

    AmybUK – thank you for posting the link to your beautiful story!

    And seriously – God bless you Lisa Barrett and all midwives who practice this way! Your blog has helped me so much in my search for information on normal healthy breech birth. I am currently 30 weeks with twins and one is breech – he still has time to turn but I'm confident he'll be born perfectly no matter which end is up!

  26. paule bézaire

    you are so wonderful ~ and sharing those amazing pictures… THANK YOU!

  27. Kat

    Beautiful! Thankyou for sharing!

  28. Kalena Cook

    Hi, I loved the photos and learned something too! I was a breech baby and so was my mom which is why I did so much research to avoid a c-section for our son’s birth. At age 39, I gave birth naturally to our 8lb. 4oz. baby with a wonderful midwife, Susan Akins. It inspired me to collect other positive stories with evidence-based medicine for a new book! Birthing a Better Way: 12 Secrets for Natural Childbirth. Since the press is nonprofit, we are doing a birth “blog tour” and if you would like one to read and hopefully add to your “recommended books” let me know! Thank you, Kalena

  29. sue watson

    wonderfull read
    i am a comunity midwife and maily birth women at home.i too had a wonderfull home (unplanned) breech not to long ago.it was a client whom i had cared for before with a previous homebirth so when she rang to say she was labouring i went to attend her.when i arrived she was very obviously well established in her labour so i saw no reason to do anything except have a quick listen in to the baby.whilst i was getting my bag from the car she had SROM which was clear.during this time she was standing and walking around.shortly aftershe asked to sit on her bed this was quickly followd by a few spontainious pushes she then said Sue it feels different to my last my reply a smile and its ok jus do what you need to she did and out popped a nice rounded bottom her responce WOW SUE THATS DEFFANANTLY NOT THE HEAD! i advised her not to push just to breath the baby out as it was her 4th baby this was not difficalt and with just 3 well controled contractions her son was born! the whole time i was sat on her bad with her and did not touch the baby at all.he cryed spontaniously at birth and waighed 4010kg.placenta followed bout 15 min later.although i have delivered many a baby at home this was my 1st breech but as with most of my births i support but the women self deliver this was no different. except i still remember that amazing experiance in great detal which is more than i do with some of the births i attened.i live and work in the UK whee breech vaginal birth does happen and is becoming a wee bit more aceptable as women find thier voices and request to deliver HOW THAY WANT

  30. sara r

    A baby in my community died during a breech homebirth a couple of months ago; I went to the birth story. It was very sad and the midwives ‘ first homebirth death. The parents also came to the conclusion that if they had chosen a c-section the risks were about the same as the risk that the baby would die in childbirth. There are never any guarantees.

    1. cayla

      I wonder if this will be published.

      In any event, re:sara r’s tragic story – How did they know the outcome by c-section would be the same? For all its flaws, the Term Breech Trial did establish that overall, the risk of major baby problems with vaginal birth is 3 times more as compared to caesarean section. 5% of vaginal breech births will go wrong – if you end up assisting in 20 vaginal breech births, 1 of them will end tragically, as with sara r’s story; with C-sections, you would do 60 before getting the same result. Lisa has been fortunate so far – but do a few more (i don’t know how much experience in total you have had, but 4 in a year is not many), and unfortunately the odds are something may go wrong.

      Women need to know this. If you try for a vaginal breech at home, yes, you have a great probability of success (95%). But the 5% that you risk is of great significance (death or severe neurological impairment) in anybody’s eyes. If you have a Caesarean section, the risk is still present, yes, but three times less.

  31. hong1029

    i would like to know that the mother is in her first delivery or the two or more, can first delivery be this way? with hand off and no assistent delivery ? thanks for your wonderful contributions!

  32. Rose

    yes, it was her 1st baby!

  33. Bonnie Critchfield

    Lisa, Thank you so much for these wonderful stories about breech birth! It’s so encouraging and helpful! I’ve done several breech births and they’ve always gone really well. I wondered if you’ve ever done an OP breech? I have a mom with a baby in this position.


  34. Louise

    Wow, I’m truly amazed to see this view on breech births! My first baby was breech, and my fear was that the head might be too big (father’s head is quite big ;-) .
    I read a couple of birth stories with the baby dying of brain damage in hospital births… (apparently after a birth that was not progressing well, so maybe it’s due to a wrong decision or who knows what.)

    My question to you is: how do you know if the head’s going to pass? Couldn’t it be that some babies are ‘heads up’ because their head doesn’t fit in the pelvis?


  35. RBBrown

    Hi Lisa

    Woah this was amazing to read. I am 20 and my first bub is very close, she is Breech and I’m honestly in despair over having a C-section. My midwives keep saying to have the C-section as it’s safer, is this true? Am I entitled to say no?
    I might sounds silly with that question but I’m so confused!
    Pictures are beautiful by the way, the whole process of birth is so beautiful to me.

  36. Veronique Smith

    My mother had 4 out of 4 breech babies. I have had 4 babies, the first baby was footling breech – all born at home, all went well with care of doctor and midwives. Most likely I would have had a caesarian for the first babe if in hospital, therefore all 4 would have automatically most likely have been caesarian.
    The eldest is now 31years, the youngest 19.
    Yey to homebirths (if that’s where you feel most comfortable).

  37. Julia

    Hey! I’m Julia and my 1st baby was breech (ended up with a c-section). Now I’m pregnant again (17 weeks) and I was told I have a medium size septum in my uterus and that it means I have more chances of having breech babies. Is that true?
    I know a woman with the same issue and she had 3 head down babies. Why do doctors always scare you with that kind of comments? I mean, he does not even know how my 2nd baby will be positioned, then why the hell he “predicts the future” telling me he is probably gonna be breech again?

  38. Rechelle

    I have just found out I am having twins, I have a 6 and 4year old.
    I had perfect births 3 hours 20 mins and the second birth 1 hour 15 mins, both natural and enjoyable.
    I don’t have private health, so guess I will be going through public system in rockhampton.
    Just very worried about what I have read with twin births and epidurals/ ceserians/ when I mostly sure my body will give birth again naturally again.