Thursday, May 03, 2007

How To Prevent A Breech Birth?

A friend of mine is about to give birth in the next few weeks. Currently the baby is in a breech position. My friend is trying to get the baby to turn around so that a normal vaginal delivery can be done.

Aside from medical advice, she has been advised to make sure that all the seforim (Jewish books) in her house are right side up.

My question is really very simple: is there some authentic Jewish source that recommends this, or is it just a bubbe ma'aseh (i.e. books turned around = baby turned around) that some old midwives came up with.

(Please no bashing here -- I'm not asking for scientific studies of whether or not making sure your seforim are right side up helps. I just want to know if there is any authentic Jewish source for this.)

The Wolf


Anonymous said...

In addition to checking seforim, I was told to check the Mezzuzahs and hubby's Tefilin.

I was told about a well in Mevasseret, just outside of Jerusalem or it may be in Lifta and I should drink the waters. Or maybe hubby has to give me the water or first I have to ask for a Bracha from the Rav affiliated with this well.

Anonymous said...

"authentic Jewish source"

There's a loaded phrase :)

Anonymous said...

In this realm, "some old midwives' bubbe ma'aseh" is as authentic a Jewish source as anything you might find in a book. They both come from the same place of folk religion - and they both have the same efficacy.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading a Mishpocho magazine article about Segulos. The basic upshot was they are created over time and stick if they work. There was a contemporary example of some Rav suggesting (on his own!) the drinking of some Mikveh water some Tzadik had dunked in. Because the suggestion worked, it became a segulah.

This seems absurd - how can someone make up a Segulah? Look in the Droshos HaRan. He has a piece about how Segulos work. His basic point is they work like spiritual medicines. Just as medicines are established remedies that work to change certain physical properties of patient and enable a healing, so too Segulos enable the patient to latch onto a certain spiritual force in the world and that can change his/her circumstances.

Of course, prayer, mitvos and emunah are the best segulos. I never have liked the chasing of segulos, treating them like talismen. It takes away from one's connection with God, in my opinion.

Trust in God, not segulos!

Gil Student said...

I vote for Bubbe Ma'aseh

BrooklynWolf said...

The basic upshot was they are created over time and stick if they work.


By that logic, the best "segulah" for parnassah is...


The best "segulah" for finding a shidduch is...


... and so on.

Somehow, I don't see that making the rounds in some circles. :)

The Wolf

Just Passing Through said...

I friend of ours first heard of this when she was in breech. While the doctors said they would either have to do some sort of manual repositioning (no idea what that is,but she was told its painful) or c-section. Someone told her of the seforim thing and she gave birth OK. I'm not sold either way, but good story.

Anonymous said...


No need to yell. I agree completely with your "segulos". It's always good to do what works.

Tzipporah said...

from the other side (hanging out with midwives) there are some "bubbe meisahs" that are based on bubbe's practical experience -

1. Relax. Take some time for yourself. spend time thinking about how you feel about the baby, being a mother, etc. - breech happens most often in stressed-out women, and the thought is that baby is keeping its head up near mom's heart for the reassurance of the heartbeat, when flooded with stress hormones. If checking your seforim makes you relax, do it.

2. Talk to the baby. Tell it that it's safe to turn around, you're going to be there with it helping it along all the way. (Sounds loopy, but it helps in many cases)

3. See a midwife (or search online) for spinning babies - there are excercises/positions you can do that encourage baby to turn.

Kelly said...

Not being Jewish, it makes me wonder about all the non-Jewish breech babies. Their parents have no Jewish books to turn around.

Zev Stern said...

Quite a while ago, Rabbi Tendler commented at an AOJS meeting that such things smack of idolatry. God operates through natural law. If an intervention has not been empirically determined to work, and there is no basis in natural law to think that it will work, then one might as well throw cats' guts on the floor and see which way they fall. This goes for laetrile and "segulot" alike.

Anonymous said...

and if there is an "authentic jewish source" for turning the books around, isn't it still a load of bollocks?

Anonymous said...

Crude and disgusting superstition. Can you imagine that God gets so bent out of shape over an upside down sefer that He'd put a baby's life at risk? Not a God I'd care to know (or whom I'd want to know about me).

This is a superstition, and not a good one.