What happened if you had a transverse/sideways baby?
October 16, 2017 8:31 PM   Subscribe

If you had a baby that never turned head down by 36 weeks, what were the options or instructions given to you? I'm mostly curious if your doctor recommended admission to the hospital in the last 2 or 3 weeks of your pregnancy due to the risk of premature labor and cord prolapse?

So I know babies can turn at the last minute (and also turn back to transverse or any other position even during labor). I'm also familiar with options for spinningbabies techniques, moxibustion, Webster, acupuncture, etc. I am now totally fine with a scheduled c-section. I really am just curious how other people's doctors in the U.S. (I'm in California) approached the stubbornly transverse or malpositioned baby issue - was it strongly recommended that you get admitted to the hospital at 37 or 38 weeks or did you just stay home and hope to not go into labor too soon? If you were admitted to the hospital early, what was that like?
posted by KatNips to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My doctor asked if I was ready to not be pregnant anymore at 38.5 weeks. Then scheduled a c-section the following Wednesday. He said to remind him that we weren't head down if I went into labor spontaneously before then. Denver, CO 8 months ago. He also checked right before and offered to try an external version while warning that her size and position made it unlikely to be successful.
posted by stormygrey at 10:03 PM on October 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

My OB, in Wisconsin, let me go until 37 weeks with a breech baby. On that day we went in to attempt an external version. I had pre-e and it was progressing rapidly so they didn't even try the version and I was immediately into the OR for the section.
posted by sulaine at 12:15 AM on October 17, 2017

My first was breech and IUGR. We scheduled a CSection at 38.5 weeks but did not attempt an external version as baby was not a good candidate for vaginal birth. It’s a good thing- what the U/S didn’t show was that the cord was wrapped three times around her little neck.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:12 AM on October 17, 2017

Got confirmation around 38.5 weeks that our son was transverse breech (feet down, head to the side), and I didn't want to try an external version. So I had a scheduled c-section at exactly 40 weeks. No bed rest or hospital stay prior to delivery day.
posted by jenny76 at 5:39 AM on October 17, 2017

Breech baby confirmed around 36.5 weeks; from the ultrasound they couldn't tell what 'type' of breech, just that he was head up. I had a midwife, so she did let me know that ultrasound interpretations weren't really her specialty. I was advised that they try to schedule breech C-sections around 39 - 40 weeks instead of 40 - 41 since it's preferable to have an OR ready and waiting instead of risking it being a sudden emergency. We scheduled a C-section for 39 weeks, didn't need to do anything different or go to the hospital earlier. They just told me if I went into labor before then, to come in immediately (& call ahead so they could prep an OR) and not wait around for contractions to get stronger. On the day of, they did another ultrasound to confirm baby was still breech and right before, asked me 'have you decided what you'd like to do if the baby has changed position to head down?' which threw me for a loop because we had really planned to have a baby that day! But he was still firmly head up so we went ahead with it.
posted by castlebravo at 8:24 AM on October 17, 2017

My baby was transverse during much of the later part of my pregnancy, but we assumed he'd turn when it was time. He didn't. There was never any discussion of scheduling a c-section. I had read in multiple sources that babies who are born by c-section before their due date could suffer as a result of it, even if they were over thirty-seven weeks, so it would have required a clear danger to convince me to a section before my due date. Given that my first labor was a full seventy hours long, I was not at all worried about a quick labor that might result in an emergency need for a section in the middle of the night. No bed rest, hospital stay, or other restrictions. Since I had a comfortable desk job, at an office within walking distance of the hospital and my OB's office building, I continued to go to work until the very day my baby was born. I don't even remember how we got my car home afterwards.

One week after my due date, still pregnant, I was seeing one of my OB's partners, and he observed that he could very easily give my baby a push in the right direction. It wasn't difficult, as external versions often are; I'm sure he wouldn't have tried if it had been. He got the baby into the right position and then had me sit for a while being monitored, just to make sure nothing bad had happened. While I was doing that, my baby turned back to transverse. It was clearly hopeless.

So we decided to do the c-section that evening. A friend of mine came over to sit with me, while we were waiting for my husband to get there. I'd been having Braxton Hicks contractions for some time and didn't take much notice of them. After a while, my friend asked, "Do you realize that you're having a contraction every five minutes?" I was actually in labor. That made me feel better about having the c-section. At least it was the right day.

When my baby was born, he turned out to weigh nearly ten and a half pounds, much bigger than my first baby, long and relatively lean. I am not a tall woman, and I am short in the torso, for my height. He was sideways because there simply wasn't room to be comfortable in there in the right position.

This was my second c-section. After my first one, which was for a different reason, I had been taken to a different recovery room than my baby, so I was forced to be apart from him for an agonizing hour after the birth. The instinct that pushed me to be close to my baby made me miserable when I wasn't able to be. I explained how much this mattered to me to everyone I talked to, while waiting for the second c-section, and so they managed to do much better for me this time. They brought the baby to the same recovery room as me, and gave him to me to be nursed as soon as possible. What a difference that made to me!

All of this was twenty years ago. At that time it was agreed that a VBAC was a much better idea than an automatic c-section. I'm not sure how much that has changed.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 10:38 AM on October 17, 2017

My midwives seemed pretty concerned about the positioning of my transverse/oblique baby, who was still flipping and changing position every few days up until he was born (this was in 2012). However, when they brought in the consulting OB, he was not especially fazed. He seemed to think that the risk of cord prolapse was relatively low, possibly because it was my first baby and therefore I was likely to dilate more slowly? Hospitalization was never recommended to me. I believe I went in for more frequent checks after 36 weeks, like maybe twice a week. And then I went to the hospital on my official due date (40 weeks 2 days) to do an external version + induction. And then, of course, the baby had finally turned head down.

If I remember correctly, breech positioning doesn't have nearly as high a risk of cord prolapse specifically, so the recommendations may be different there.

(I spent the last few weeks of pregnancy doing All of the Things to try to turn my son. Bridge pose! Hanging upside down off the couch! Acupucture! Moxibustion! Headphones and cold things on my belly! Mayan abdominal massage! I'm not convinced that any of it made a difference; if I had it to do over, I would spend that time lounging around and taking naps. But I guess it was a good introduction to the relative powerlessness of labor, birth, and parenthood.)
posted by Siobhan at 10:40 AM on October 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Breached baby at 36 week check up in Denver. Scheduled acupuncture (in network at Kaiser, to my surprise), and were advised to burn mugwort (again, by the Kaiser acupuncturist). Also recommended to go to the pool and do some flips. Manual inversion scheduled for the following week, but in the interim went into labor and had a fairly routine c-section.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:26 AM on October 17, 2017

Mine was transverse at thirty-mumble weeks. The doctor was willing to humor me (that was definitely the attitude) and try an external version, so we went to the hospital and were prepared for an emergency c-section. The version went well, and the baby was born vaginally at 41 weeks.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:27 AM on October 17, 2017

My baby was breech at every ultrasound starting at 20 weeks (and we had a lot of ultrasounds for Reasons). At my 34-week visit, my doctor told me I was a poor candidate for an external version (which they normally do at 38 weeks at her practice), so she suggested I call the hospital to schedule a C-section for the Monday after my Saturday due date. No mention of bed rest, an early hospital stay, or even any extra monitoring. Like somebody upthread said, though, there may be less concern about breech babies than transverse.

Before the hospital had a chance to return my calls, my water broke in the middle of the night at 35+5 days. I called the doctor's emergency line, read the Wikipedia article about premature rupture of membranes to freak myself out, packed a bag, went to the hospital, was finally told after I'd been there for an hour that yes, I would be having a baby that night, freaked out some more, and got wheeled into surgery as soon as the on-call doctor arrived. My husband says they pulled the baby out butt first.
posted by liet at 2:48 PM on October 17, 2017

Twenty-five years ago my son was transverse a couple of weeks before my due date. He was staying in that position and my obs said that if he was transverse when I went into labour it was an immediate C-section. He said it wouldn't be possible to change the baby's position. I had previously had a c-section and was hoping to give birth to this one with the c-section, so I decided to try an at-home external version.

My first problem was not being sure which of the bumps was his butt and which was his head. So I did a bunch of gentle prodding and made a decision that was basically guesswork. Then I very gently, over the course of a few hours massaged him around until he was position with a bump up and a bump down.

I had been informed that I could tear where I had the first c-section so I shouldn't mess around with version, internal or external, nor should I be allow myself to be in labour for very long. For this reason I didn't tell anyone I did the version. I figured as long as I didn't hurt or do anything that made me uncomfortable neither the kid or I should take any harm from it.

I got him head down. I went into transition while I was getting into a Johnny shirt for my first examination after showing up at the hospital saying I was in labour. I did spend the evening at home in labour going from about six PM to eleven PM, but since the previous kid had involved several days of unproductive labour I figured I was just having early, non effective contractions.

Once the head got fully engaged he stopped moving. The kid was again too big for my unterine muscles to dislodge. Forceps were used. He was born about 1 AM.

I throw big babies. I am not a particularly big person.

I'm not sure I have admitted to doing external version on my kid before. I felt very nervous about it.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:48 AM on October 18, 2017

In Canada, but -- at thirty-six weeks? Nothing. It was a non-issue; nothing excited was said, no plans were made. I have loads of parent friends and read plenty about pregnancy/L&D while pregnant (2007) and assumed the kid would either turn, or, a decision about how to proceed would be made when I went into labour. Up until reading this question I had no idea that this was a thing women are ever hospitalised for. When told she was not head down at 36 weeks I read a bit about it and decided my doctor was right and it wasn't something I was going to worry about at that point.

(The kid did turn, no idea when. Delivered vaginally at 42 weeks.)
posted by kmennie at 12:55 AM on October 19, 2017

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