I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Natural Born Breech!

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
All too often women are whisked off to surgery because their baby is in breech position (bum first rather than head first).  It's true that some breech babies are in need of surgical rescue, but more often than not, they can still be born naturally, or at least through the birth canal rather than abdominal surgery.  
Unfortunately, many doctors are not confident in the body's ability to birth a breech baby.  They would prefer to take control by turning to Cesarean surgery right off.  As one senior obstetrician once told me, "The skill of breech birth is being forever lost to the skill of the knife."

This is a refreshing story, told by a doula in Dubai.  It's so promising to read of birth attendants who value the doula's role and who encourage the mother to birth her breech baby without much intervention!  I wish they all were as trusting in the woman's ability to birth her baby.

I hope you enjoy this story and will share yours too!  Now on to the story...Natural Born Breech!...

I have to tell you it was the best experience as a Doula I have ever had.  Her waters broke a week before her due date and her husband wasn't even in the country.  She called me and said that her waters were not clear.

Next she called the hospital.  The Midwife over the phone said, "Come in; you will need a C-section immediately!!"... nice.  

We went in expecting some theater action.  However, the same midwife from the phone came in and had obviously read the notes (which stated she wanted a natural birth).  She said, "We'll see how the baby is doing. If he is ok we'll let you labor!"

When the obstetrician arrived the baby was doing okay so she said, "A little bit of poo is expected due to the pressure on the baby's bum.  I'll give you the night to get the contractions going.  But if nothing progresses, then we will C-section in the morning, or before if the baby is distressed."  We felt a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel!

When the fetal monitoring was done, we moved to another room.  I pulled out all the Doula tricks to get her into labor and it started to work!

It was a very very long night!  This was my first labor without her partner present.  I actually thought it was better, no nervous jokes or comments, total silence at times, generally calm.  It felt right!

From 1 cm at admission, to 3 cm, then through the night to 4/5 cm, and the early morning she progressed quickly to 8 cm.  We were moved back to the labor room where she started to get the urge to push!  I could even feel it when she was contracting as she liked my hands on her lower back.  I could physically feel her pelvis enlarging!

The obstetrician came back and was concerned.  She stated that she must have an epidural to take away the urge to push as the baby's bum and body was already through the cervix but the head was not...potential disaster!!!!  So the epidural was done; she was fully dilated; but the doctor wanted to slow everything down.

So we waited.  My lady was happy and relaxed and was giving me updates on which parts of her body she now couldn't feel.  She has only rated her pain at 4 out of 10 just before the epidural so she felt it was crazy that women take it as an option so quickly.

Anyway, finally Hubby arrived (flew in from Africa over night) just in time for the grand finale!!! Typical.

The obstetrician arrived and the theater was on standby.  The head midwife was directing proceedings really well and giving my lady loads of encouragement about trusting her body.  (I loved to hear it).  She was directed to push and slowly her little man emerged.  

Scrotum first, then bum, body, legs flicked out and down, and then the head.  It was superb!!

As the baby was Frank Breech I was not prepared for his legs to be all over the place which was a little shocking to see initially, however all was ok.

The doctor had been really welcoming of me as a doula and at no time did I feel like she didn't want me there.  She even give me a quick lesson on the golden rules of breech birth:  totally  hands off, cervix must be fully dilated, the mummy's body will know what to do, etc!  

She did mention however that she has come across some Doula's here in Dubai, who have overstepped the boundary of their role as a Doula, so something for us all to take onboard.

Overall it was physically and emotionally draining for me as a Doula, knowing that the risks were so high.  However, it was all well worth it and the baby boy is beautiful!

P.S. After a check and double check by the doctors, mum was given her baby boy, skin to skin and he started breast feeding.  :-)


  1. UmmuYahya SultaanahMay 2, 2011 at 1:42 AM

    mashaAllaah! I LOVED reading this and i CANNOT wait to share it cuz i know so many women who confidently tell me their baby was breeched so they HAD to do the C-sec. Ignorance is bliss but knowledge is POWER!

  2. Salam alaikum, Ukhty,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the story and I pray many women and birth attendants will benefit from it.

    I too am saddened when women are rushed into surgery for a simple breech or meconium spill. Too many times, it just isn't necessary.

    However, some presentations are more complicated than others and may require the life-saving intervention.

    Of course what matters most is healthy mother/healthy baby. But I, like you, truly value the birth experience and feel that all chances should be given for the natural birth...for the best health and recovery of the mother and baby.

    Please feel free to share the article. In the end it's all Qadr Allah and thankfulness for our decree is paramount.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  3. I'm due any day now, baby not breeched inshaAllah, but this story was inspiring! I have a midwife and Doula here in USA and I intend on truly trusting my body, so this was great encouragement!

  4. Salam alaikum, K Malik,

    May Allah bless you with an easy birth and healthy baby who is pleasing to HIM and his/her parents...Ameen!

    I'm thrilled that you were inspired by this story. I'm also glad to hear you will be attended by a midwife AND a doula. Is this your first baby? Are you planning a home birth? I'd love to hear about your birth plans, insha'Allah.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  5. AOA Aisha, so glad to have discovered ur blog, my first son was born by a c section as i didn't dilate for a long time, but i feel, with some help this could have been avoided, as doulas and pre-delivery education is unheard of in pakistan as far as I know....what do u have to say abt non-dilation?
    Well i did a lot of dua cuz i wanted a natural birth and alhamdulillah, inspite of ppl telling me its 'impossible' my 2nd son was born naturally and really it felt so much better, except that i had no doula with me through the long, painful night in the hospital and a birth attendant told me to do a really wrong thing (bite ur lip when u wanna push, that gave me a major cut on my lip and this was in the best specialized delivery hospital in Abu dhabi)and they didn't really guide much abt the process at all. so a doula sounds very helpful and a good idea :)
    wassalam Um e Abdullah