Breech birth is normal birth.

Is it possible to have a breech birth at home?

Breech birth is a variation of a natural, normal birth. There are many instances where breech babies are born at home, which may seem counterintuitive considering the mainstream narratives around breech babies.

In many pregnancy care settings and in mainstream thinking (including mainstream media), a breech baby is only depicted as something as cause for concern and even alarm. There are strong beliefs across the medical system that vaginal birth is smoother and less risky when a baby is born headfirst.

But as with most things related to pregnancy and birth, the reality is not so black and white. There are options!

Firstly, there are many different types of breech babies, meaning different bottom-down positions they could be in. The perceived risks associated with vaginal birth differ for each type of breech position, so it’s worth getting clear with your pregnancy care provider on which breech position your baby is in which cases they are willing to support vaginal delivery.

Common approaches to breech babies

Most care providers are keen for breech babies to turn before they will support vaginal delivery. You can consider if you are comfortable with supporting your baby to turn, which could include complementary medicine or holistic health practices such as traditional Chinese medicine or massage. Many hospitals offer a procedure known as an ECV (external cephalic version), where a midwife or doctor will externally and manually manipulate the belly in order to try turning the baby.

Other holistic methods of supporting breech babies to turn include prenatal yoga, Spinning Babies, and other movement modalities. Movement and certain postures can gently encourage baby to find the space to turn on their own.

There is no way of knowing if a breech baby will turn. If a baby remains breech, most mainstream settings (and even some homebirth settings) will “require” a woman to have a Caesarean section. You may be on board and decide to plan for an empowered Caesarean section in a hospital setting. There are also some hospitals and birth centres which have dedicated breech birth clinics, which support women to have natural births with breech babies.

Homebirth and breech babies

However, perhaps you are still committed to having a homebirth. It is absolutely your right to decide where you want to birth – and if certain criteria are met and with the correctly trained care providers, it is definitely possible and perhaps even preferable to attempting a vaginal breech birth in a hospital setting.

There are countless examples of women birthing breech babies at home, and there is a lot of evidence to support the safety of vaginal breech birth at home under many circumstances. Dr Stuart Fischbein, a world-renowned obstetrician and educator, says “I am confident in saying that laboring with a vaginal breech birth succeeds or fails for the same reasons that a head first baby succeeds or fails.” Again, breech birth is normal birth!

There are many care providers who are trained and confident in supporting breech birth. If your current homebirth midwife cannot support you, why not ask them who they can refer you to and research other care providers? There is plenty of evidence (links below) to show that vaginal breech birth is often not the riskiest option (there are risks with ECVs and Caesareans!), and there is plenty of advocacy work about the importance of women being able to make their own informed decisions.

A breech baby is not a dead-end in decision making. With the right support and in the right setting, the power is still (of course!) in your hands. If you want to build your knowledge and confidence around breech birth, there are many inspiring breech birth stories available online (links below) and on popular birth social media accounts.

And yes, breech babies are known to have been safely born in water with skilled and trusting care providers!


Dr Stuart J. Fischbein an expert in breech birth