"Turn a baby" into optimal birthing position.

Swimming to Turn A Baby

Swimming to Turn a Breech Baby

Can a cardio-vascular exercise such as swimming help turn a breech baby into the optimal cephalic/vertex position ready for birth?

From my experience I believe it can definitely help. I swam for 30minutes 5 days a week along with the exercises in the ‘Turn Your Baby’ program to turn my second baby from a breech position during my pregnancy weeks 34-36.

Why would swimming help?

A good swimmer will tell you how relaxed they are in the water this enables them to float and glide through the water which makes their swimming look effortless. If you are relaxed in the water then this may have a positive effect on turning a baby. Good swim technique relaxes your hips and positions the pelvis anterior (pelvis tilts downwards) which can help your baby turn and descend head down. The gentle rotational movements from your core and hips and tumble turning during the freestyle stroke may also help position baby into the optimal position for birth. I found success combining both swimming and ‘Turn Your Baby’ exercises and postures.

When swimming may not assist

It is not a good idea to start swimming just to try to turn your baby. As a corrective pre and post natal exercise specialist I don’t advise starting any new sport at the start or during a pregnancy. Doing something new can shock the body causing negative effects. A novice or nervous swimmer can create more tension in their body. This might then suggest that a novice swimmer would have the opposite effect that a regular swimmer would experience. A trip to the local pool to turn a baby may not be a relaxing experience at all.  A novice swimmer may also ‘fight the water’ and therefore find it hard to  float or relax whilst swimming. If this sounds like you then walking may be just as beneficial.

If you are a regular and experienced swimmer then you could increase your swimming time if you need to turn your baby to the optimal position for birth. I would suggest swimming for 25-40minutes (this does not have to be continuous) 4-6 times a week and include the exercises in the ‘Turn Your baby’ program. You don’t have to tumble turn if you are not experienced with this movement. I could still tumble turn up to 37 weeks and felt fine during my second pregnancy. If you feel any pain or discomfort then stop what you are doing.

Swimming can also increase round ligament pain so if you are suffering with this pregnancy condition it may be best to stop or as I mentioned earlier don’t even start.

Look out for the next blog “ Why some babies just won’t Turn’

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