Giving birth vaginally to a breech baby almost never happens anymore. Especially not in hospitals. Its one of default reasons for a "necessary C-section." And since C-sections are the obstetrics bread and butter, the more the better. As result, its become archaic for OBs to know how to assist in the vaginal birth of a breech baby.
Some midwifes make it their business to know how to assist in breech births. Ina May Gaskin writes in her book about learning how to do it. However, many midwives will not attempt to assist in the process because of increased liability to their practice.
It is true that there is a small degree of increased risk in giving birth vaginally to a breech baby, but it can be done and it can be done safely with proper skill and training. Is it really necessary to cut a woman open if her baby is going out coming into the world a little differently than most? Have we really become a society where no one can be unique anymore?
As my friends will tell you, I am proud that I am unique and different. I strive to be an individual and do things differently as a matter of course. I am a person to dance to a beat of a different drummer. So is it any surprise, that I was a breech baby? Why wouldn't I start my descent into the world being a little different?
And how many OBs inform their patients with breech babies of techniques to turn a baby into proper position? The website spinningbabies.com provides techniques to move a baby into optimal positioning to birth. Meditation, talking to the baby and even patiently waiting a few days is often enough to turn a baby. There is also a chiropractic technique that uses spinal adjustments to get a baby to move. Most invasively (short of surgery) is a procedure called an external cephalic version where an OB or midwife uses external force to manually move the baby into proper position. This technique does not have a great success rate (65%) and can be painful for the mother, but it is an option to be considered.
And last but not least, there's the possibility of allowing a baby to choose her own way into the world. Amy of Crunchy Domestic Goddess fame shares the story of the surprise footling breech birth of her son. Sarah J. Buckley, author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, also shares the story of the breech birth of one of her children.
So it can be done! And I'm suggesting it should be done more often. I firmly advocate that women be given the information regarding breech birth without being pressured into a C-section that is also fraught with risks (see my blog What they don't tell you about C-sections). We might find more babies dancing feet first into this world!