The Indian bridge originated in yoga and is designed to get the baby to turn when he or she is in breech presentation. Some advocates recommend this exercise even before the 33rd week of gestation. However, the baby often does not turn into the correct position until the 36th week of gestation. A miracle can also happen shortly before birth, and the baby turns after all.
You can read about what you need to do here.
Table of contents
What Is The Indian Bridge?
Indian bridge comes from hatha yoga and is designed to get the baby to turn into the correct position before birth. Some proponents recommend starting the Indian bridge as early as 32 weeks of pregnancy. The baby should then still be small enough to turn.
If you perform this exercise already in the 33rd week of pregnancy or earlier, the strains can be completely unnecessary for you. In a normal pregnancy, the baby lies first with the pelvis towards the vagina.
Most babies turn in the 35th week or 36th week. This is the called final pelvic position. So you still have a chance that your baby will change position. Doctors even try to encourage the baby to change position in the 37th week of gestation with the external turn.
The external turn, but also the Indian bridge, do not guarantee that your baby will actually be persuaded to turn around. It is still possible that the baby will turn on its own after the 36th week or after the 37th week.
Since the Indian bridge is a very uncomfortable position for you, you should get a midwife or at least your partner or a friend to help you. This way, your partner or friend can quickly call the midwife or the emergency doctor if help is needed.
How Is The Indian Bridge Performed?
The baby does not turn into the normal cranial position in about five percent of pregnancies after 34 weeks’ gestation. The risk for a cesarean section is higher in a breech position than in a cranial position. Cesarean section cannot be ruled out even with Indian bridge.
- Complications from Indian bridge, for example, premature detachment of the placenta.
- The fact that the baby does not always turn and therefore remains in the breech position.
- Possibility that a cesarean section can be performed even in a breech position, if the baby has turned and there are complications.
To perform the Indian bridge, you should lie down on a yoga mat or at least a slightly thicker blanket. You lie on your back, bend your legs and lift your buttocks. To make this uncomfortable position more comfortable, you should place a pillow under your buttocks.
Some advocates recommend placing the lower legs horizontally. This can be done on a sofa, coffee table or low chair. Raising your pelvis will create a hollow back.
You should lie as relaxed as possible and breathe in and out deeply. This position is not very comfortable for the baby. You should stay in this position for about 15 minutes.
At the end of this exercise you should stand up swinging. The baby should somersault and turn. Since the Indian bridge is not always successful right after the first use, some advocates recommend trying it after the 34th SSW or still in the 36th SSW. There is even talk about the 37th SSW.
You should closely monitor your baby’s position during Indian bridge. If your baby has managed to turn in the cranial position, the Indian bridge is unnecessary.
What Can Happen During The Indian Bridge
Since the Indian bridge is a very uncomfortable position, you should not perform it after the 37th week of gestation. The baby is already bigger by then. Turning could cause difficulties for the baby. Actually, an Indian bridge is supposed to have a relaxing effect and positively support the baby’s turning.
If this position is uncomfortable for you, for example because you suffer from back pain, the desired relaxation effect will not occur. You should stop the Indian bridge if you.
- Experience pain.
- Feel nausea.
- Experience dizziness.
Some women even report that they feel black before their eyes. In general, you should not perform the Indian bridge if you are in poor health, have back problems, such as herniated discs, or feel nauseous frequently during pregnancy.
Even after the 36th week of pregnancy or the 37th week of pregnancy, the doctor may try to get your baby to turn around by turning it externally.
Chances Of Success With The Indian Bridge
Some advocates believe that the chances of success are greater if you start early. They recommend an Indian bridge starting at 33 weeks gestation. In most cases, however, the baby does not turn on its own until after the 34th week of gestation. So you can wait and see if your baby turns by the 36th week.
Basically, there is no guarantee of success with the Indian bridge. Some sources report that the success rate is around 70 percent. However, this is doubtful, because the success rate for external turning by the doctor is even lower than for the Indian bridge.
The size of the baby, for example, from the 36th SSW or the 37th SSW, may reduce the chances of success. Also, an anterior wall placenta or an umbilical cord that is too short can at most lead to complications, but not to the turning of the baby.
Risks And Complications Of The Indian Bridge
If your baby is in a breech presentation before the 33rd week of gestation, this is completely normal. You should not try to convince your baby to change position before the 34th week. Before you even think about the Indian bridge, you should think about the risks and possible complications.
The uterus is already very enlarged at this time. It can press on the posterior vena cava in the pelvis. This can be painful and cause dizziness or nausea. Even fainting is possible. This can be quite uncomfortable for you and your baby. Premature placental abruption can occur due to the awkward position and the swinging up.
Especially if you start doing this from the 33rd week of gestation, a premature birth can occur. The baby does not always come through the vagina with a spontaneous birth. In some cases, the doctor has to help, so that a Caesarean section is unavoidable. There can even be a danger to your baby’s life if you perform the Indian bridge alone and help is not quick enough in case of complications.
The baby can get strangled with the umbilical cord due to the quick turn.
The External Turning As An Alternative
Doctors recommend external turning as the only way to convince the baby to turn. It is an alternative to the Indian bridge, but it cannot guarantee success. It is not without risk and can be quite uncomfortable for the mother.
This method can take about two and a half hours of time. The external turn is possible only until the beginning of the 37th week of gestation. If it is done after the 37th week, the baby is already too big. The baby must still have enough space in the abdomen to turn.
Furthermore, there must be enough amniotic fluid. The umbilical cord must be long enough. If there are complications during pregnancy, the external turn should not be performed. The doctor should advise you thoroughly on how the external turning is done and what the risks are.
How Is The External Turn Performed?
The external inversion is usually performed in the hospital. Since there may be complications, for example, premature detachment of the placenta, everything must be prepared for an emergency cesarean section. It is performed immediately after the attempted reversal if complications arise.
The doctor performs an ultrasound examination beforehand to assess the baby’s position and size. He decides whether an external turn is appropriate. He checks the position of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid.
During external turning, the baby’s heart sounds are monitored. To ensure that the uterus is relaxed, you will be given contraceptive medication via an IV. By applying pressure to the lower abdomen, the doctor will try to get the baby to change position.
If the doctor has managed to bring your baby into the cranial position, you will remain under control for at least another half hour. If the procedure is successful and there are no complications, you can go home.
Other Alternatives To An Indian Bridge
Indian bridge and external twisting are not the only ways to get your baby to turn in a breech presentation. One alternative is acupuncture, which can be performed starting at 36 weeks gestation.
Needles inserted into the appropriate acupuncture points can be used to get the baby to turn around. There is no information about the success rate. Acupuncture can be supported with foot reflexology massage.
Similar to acupuncture in combination with foot reflexology, moxibustion is performed. A moxa cigarette made from mugwort leaves is held to the little toe to stimulate the baby to turn.
Again, there is no information about the chances of success. There is no scientific evidence about attempts to light the way for your baby to turn with a flashlight or to make him turn with sound balls.
Cesarean Section Not Always Necessary In Breech Presentation
A cesarean section is not always necessary for a breech presentation. It is only performed if complications are expected before birth or if complications occur during birth.
If the baby has not yet turned in the 36th week of gestation or in the 37th week of gestation, it is possible that your baby will be born through the vagina. There are different positions for breech presentation.
It is important for the doctor and midwife to act quickly to ensure that the baby receives sufficient oxygen during birth. Since the head is the last to pass the vagina during birth in the breech position, there is a risk of an undersupply of oxygen. However, this is not the rule, which is why you can do without the Indian bridge.
Indian Bridge: Conclusion
The Indian bridge has its origin in yoga. It is intended to move the baby to turn from the breech position to the cranial position. You lie on the floor. The pelvis is higher than the head.
Some advocates recommend the Indian bridge as early as the 33rd SSW. It can still be performed until the 36th SSW or the beginning of the 37th SSW. The body should be relaxed during the Indian bridge. This relaxation and the subsequent swinging up should make your baby turn.
Alternatively, the doctor may perform an external turn. Both the Indian bridge and the external turn do not guarantee success.