The best position for a baby to be born is with its head down, chin tucked in and with its spine facing outwards towards the mothers abdomen.
A breech presentation means that the baby’s bottom is the presenting part near the cervix and the head is at the top of the uterus. Women with a baby know to be in the breech position may undergo western medical intervention to try and reposition the baby. For women with a breech baby a caesarean section is usually advised if the baby cannot be turned by manual external version.
The turning of breech babies using moxibustion from week 33 onwards is a successful and natural method to avoid medical intervention or where medical intervention has failed to achieve the desired result.
The acupuncturist will apply heat in the form of a moxa stick close to particular acupuncture points on your feet. This will result in the production of prostaglandins and will encourage the baby to move. In my experience the effect of moxa on these points encourages the baby to move into and remain in the best possible position for birth. Women will usually say that their baby becomes more active during and following the moxa treatment. Not all babies however will turn. An Italian study published in 1998 concluded that 75% of breech babies turned in the moxa group compared with 47% in the control group.
The moxa treatment needs to be carried out for 10 days. It is extremely safe and relaxing and the great benefit of this treatment is that you can continue the treatment with your partner or friend in the comfort of your own home once we have taught you the technique and frequency of treatment.
I therefore always encourage the woman’s partner to attend so that they may be instructed on how to administer the moxa as they will need to do this at home twice a day for ten days.
The benefits of using moxa to turn a breech presentation are that there are very few if any side effects for the baby or the mother to be. If the baby turns, then the chances of having a normal delivery and avoiding a caesarean section are much greater. Also the benefits of a normal delivery are very important to the new mum as she can be up and about much sooner than she would following a caesarean section.
Even women with a very late diagnosis of breech presentation have found that their babies have turned with the use of moxibustion and/or acupuncture.
Clinical Studies: Acupuncture and Moxibustion For Breech Presentation
In an Italian Study, 260 women experiencing their first pregnancy with breech presentations in the 33rd week, 130 women were treated with moxibustion to the acupuncture point, Zhiyin, BL-67 for seven days, and 130 women formed a control group.
75.4% of the babies in the moxibustion group turned, compared to 47.7% in the control group. Results showed an increase in foetal activity in the moxibustion group.
A study in China took 505 women with breech presentations with the gestational range of 28-34 weeks. 241 received moxibustion for seven days on BL-67 and 264 women formed the control group.
81% of the babies in the moxibustion group turned compared to 49% of babies in the control group.