What does a breech baby really mean?

Our guide to understanding what is meant by a breech birth

The lowdown on breech births

What you really need to know about breech births

Woman in labour

You may have heard the term breech baby, but what does it really mean and what do you need to know about it. 

When your baby is breech it means he/she is bottom first ready to be born. During pregnancy your baby moves around a lot but ideally by the time you are full term your baby has turned to be head first.

There are different types of breech position your baby can be lying in in the womb.

Frank breech is the most common form of breech baby. In this instance your baby’s bottom is coming first and their knees extended with feet near their ears.  

A second form of breech is complete breech where the baby’s knees and hips are flexed as if cross-legged, with feet by his bottom.

If your baby’s feet are coming out first, this is known as footling breech and their bottom is in a higher position. 

The last form of breech is kneeling breech which is very rare. As the name suggests, the baby is in a kneeling position, with one or both legs extended at the hips and flexed at the knees.

So how do you know if you have a breech baby?

Once you get into your third trimester your midwife will begin to feel the baby to determine his position. If your baby is still breech by around 36 weeks, you will have an ultrasound scan to determine if your baby is breech and what options you may need to consider for the birth.

How can you turn a breech baby?

There are a number of simple things you can try to help your baby move into a better position for birth. Simply walking can help gravity turn baby or you can try massaging your bump at the top in a circular motion which can encourage the baby to roll over and into a better position.  

What does a breech baby really mean?