Not everyone is so fortunate. (And in general, you should avoid inverted positions late in pregnancy; get your doctor’s OK before trying this maneuver.) But many women say they don’t mind trying natural ways to turn a baby in utero. These include prenatal yoga, walking, and swimming the crawl stroke to help lift the baby and give him room to move. Here’s what we know about some alternative choices:
Moxibustion An acupuncture method now gaining credibility in the West, moxibustion involves burning the herb Artemisia vulgaris, or mugwort, next to the outer corner of the small toenail. A clinical trial in China that was published in 1998 in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed an 81 percent success rate for women who underwent moxibustion twice a day for two weeks, and a 75 percent success rate for those who did so once a day for two weeks.
The Webster technique The thinking behind this method is that certain chiropractic adjustments can relax the ligaments and muscles supporting the uterus, easing pressure on the baby and allowing him to move. While the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association—whose founder designed the technique—claims a high success rate, no independent trials have been conducted. So if you want to try it, consult your obstetrician. “No good studies say it’s effective, but if a woman has a low-risk pregnancy, it couldn’t hurt to try,” says Catherine A. Buerchner, M.D., an obstetrician at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego. “However, I would advise against it for women who are experiencing bleeding or are pregnant with multiples or if the placenta is covering the cervix.”
3) Is your doula a dud?
Birthing doulas—women whose function for centuries has been to provide emotional support to women during labor and delivery—now are commonplace in many delivery rooms. Unfortunately, a few doulas have created havoc, either by giving medical advice or by disregarding physicians’ or nurses’ orders. Such incidents have prompted some hospitals to be more careful about allowing just any doula to provide services. Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center in California, for example, has a list of recommended doulas; other hospitals have doulas on staff. According to Lynn Sullivan, community program manager at Santa Monica-UCLA, some physicians and nurses are wary of using doulas because not all have undergone proper training.