How to Safely Turn a Breech Baby

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There are lots of ways to turn a breech baby. Some require nothing more than holding certain positions with your body and others require assistance from a doctor or midwife. About 3% to 4% of babies are breech, including frank breech, near the end of pregnancy.

Many of the turning techniques can be started around week 30, or even sooner. Others are done closer to labor.

Frozen Peas

Before you start laughing and wondering how frozen peas can help turn a baby, it's simple—it's cold. Babies, like the rest of us, prefer comfort. So using frozen peas placed at the top of your belly near the fundus can encourage your baby to turn away from the cold.

Some people say that this works really well while laying in a warm bath , Others use a warm pack like a rice sock on the lower part of their abdomen. This can be used as often as you like because it's not risky in any way (just don't place ice directly on your skin; wrap peas or another ice pack in a thin layer of cloth).


Playing music towards your pubic bone is another method employed safely at home. Place headphones near the lower part of your abdomen. Play the music loud enough that you can hear it, and make sure it is towards your pubic bone so that the baby will want to come towards the sound.

Some people start by trying to get the baby to move slightly, playing the music to the side of their abdomen. Then they move the sound downwards towards the pubic bone.

Breech Tilt

The breech tilt is an exercise that you can do at home. You want to put your pelvis above your head. The easiest way to do this is to lay an ironing board on the couch (still closed). You lay with your head towards the floor, allowing your feet to be up.

While this isn't a medical treatment, it can make you dizzy and should only be done for a few minutes at a time. If you're feeling light-headed, talk to your doctor or midwife before attempting it again. Some people do a variation in bed with a pile of pillows under their buttocks.


Sometimes all your baby needs is a bit of encouragement to flip head down. Finding positions that give your baby room can be very simple. Good positions to try include hands and knees, kneeling leaning forward, and lunging.


In acupuncture, a practitioner inserts disposable needles just into the skin to release qi, prevent it from being blocked or help it move. This release of energy is said to help the baby find a better position by allowing the parent's body to move freely and the baby to have the room they need to be well placed in the uterus for birth.

Chiropractic Care: The Webster Technique

The Webster Technique is used to help the pelvis open and the ligaments soften, allowing the baby enough room to assume a good position in the pelvis. A chiropractor should be trained in this technique. Also, be sure to ask how often they've used it. This is not usually a one-time technique, though it can be.

External Cephalic Version

A medical attempt to turn a breech baby is known as an external cephalic version (ECV). This simply means that your doctor uses their hands on the outside of your abdomen to encourage your baby to get into a head-down, or vertex, position.

This procedure should be done in a hospital setting, because it does have risks, including placental abruption and umbilical cord prolapse. Ultrasound monitors the baby and the location of the placenta before, during, and after the procedure. Some practitioners prefer to use this with a uterine relaxant like terbutaline (Brethine) and some also use epidural anesthesia because of the pain involved.

Most parents who have had ECV report that they would much rather have the version than a cesarean section, even with the pain involved. This is typically attempted once or twice, after 37 weeks of gestation.

Other Options

While they're not backed up by conclusive scientific evidence, there are other methods to use to try to turn a breech baby. These options are primarily anecdotal or theoretical in nature.


Like music and temperature changes, light is designed to encourage the little one to follow the source. Using a flashlight, simply point it at your lower uterus and allow the baby to move in that direction. This can also be used in conjunction with the frozen peas trick.


Swimming is one of those things that feels really good at the end of pregnancy. The breaststroke and crawl may be beneficial in getting the baby to turn head down. The theory is that being in water allows the muscles to relax, giving the baby more room to move.


Some studies have found that receiving moxibustion treatment (often in conjunction with acupuncture) makes it more likely that your baby will turn. This form of traditional Chinese medicine involves burning a moxa (mugwort) stick near a certain point on the small toe of the foot (bladder 67).

More research is needed to confirm the efficacy and effective treatment protocols. You can find practitioners in a variety of settings including acupuncture clinics and other practitioners.

Be sure to consult your doctor before trying any methods to turn your baby to be sure your efforts are safe for you and your baby. Additionally, your doctor can recommend which options they believe will be most effective in your case.

A Word From Verywell

While many babies will turn, the truth is that not all of them will. Some babies turn once labor has begun. Or, despite the best efforts of a parent and their practitioner, some babies will remain breech until delivery.

Your practitioner may be skilled at vaginal breech birth or refer you to someone who is, if you are a good candidate, while others may suggest a cesarean birth if your baby does not turn.

7 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. If your baby is breech.

  2. UT Southwestern Medical Center. Can you turn a breech baby around?.

  3. American Academy of Family Physicians. Breech babies: What can I do if my baby is breech?.

  4. US National Library of Medicine. Breech birth.

  5. Baxi L. External cephalic version: ACOG Practice Bulletin Number 221. Obstet Gynecol. 2020;136(3):634-634. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000004076

  6. Pai M, Kushtagi P, Chakravarti S. Manual of Obstetrics, Fourth Edition. Elsevier India.

  7. Miranda-Garcia M, Domingo Gómez C, Molinet-Coll C, et al. Effectiveness and safety of acupuncture and moxibustion in pregnant women with noncephalic presentation: an overview of systematic reviewsEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019;2019:7036914. doi:10.1155/2019/7036914

Additional Reading
  • Cunningham FG, Leveno KJ, Bloom SL, et al. Breech delivery. In: Williams Obstetrics. 24th ed. McGraw-Hill Education.

  • Hofmeyr GJ, Kulier R, West HM. External cephalic version for breech presentation at term. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;4: CD000083. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000083.pub3

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.