I often get calls from pregnant patients who need help turning their breech babies into a better position for labor and delivery. Chinese Medicine works beautifully in many of these patients. I always work closely with their midwife or doctor and make sure that the position of the baby will be monitored regularly to ensure that the baby has been turned to the cephalic position (head down). Once the baby turns into the vertex position, the patient is instructed to discontinue the moxibustion (moxa) treatment.
What is Moxa?
Moxibustion is an herb that we burn over specific points. It comes in many forms including sticks, cones and punk (a fluffy, cottony substance that can be formed into cones). It is primarily made up of an herb called Artemisia vulgaris, common name “Mugwort”. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, when used externally, it warms the Yang Qi and moves the Qi and Blood. It has specific action when used over “empirical points” (see below).
Evidence for the Treatment
The treatment I do is based on research studies published in American Journal of Chinese Medicine in 1991 by Cardini, et al., and again in 2001 by Kanakura, et al. These studies showed that moxibustion on acupuncture point Bladder 67 turned babies in a significant number of their test subjects. Bladder 67 is what we call an “empirical point”- a point that has been proven over time (thousands of years) to be effective for a particular issue.
Optimal Fetal Positioning
In addition to the moxa treatments I advise my patients to do specific pelvic tilt poses and other exercises to facilitate the baby’s movement from breech to cephalic position. In my experience, the moxa treatment combined with these exercises works very well.
When Should You Get Started?
Many breech babies turn by week 32 into the head-down position on their own, but if they haven’t by week 32, I recommend coming in to see a licensed and well-trained acupuncturist who can work with your midwife or doctor. In my experience, the treatment works the best between 33-36 weeks.
Why Do Moxa to Turn Breech Babies?
Having had a c-section with my first son and a vaginal birth with my second, I have a desire to help any woman avoid a c-section. Hospitals and midwives usually do not want to (or legally cannot) deliver breech babies so I strive to do anything I can do to facilitate a vaginal delivery and avoid c-section.
Have you had this treatment done with your breech baby? If so, I would love to hear about your experience.
Contributed by Liz Richards, acupuncturist at Blossom Clinic, Portland, Oregon.
“I was 8 months pregnant & found out my baby was breech – I searched for local acupuncturists that do moxibustion to assist with turning a baby naturally & Liz Richards @ Blossom Clinic came up. I remember Liz from a while ago & I was very excited to see her. Got an appt. right away she & her scheduler fit me in right away.
Saw Liz she was extremely knowledgeable – we did both acupuncture & moxi – and it was so relaxing. The baby turned the next day! Liz is a great assets for mamas to be. Thank you!” -Liz S , Portland, OR
moxa breech presentation Acupuncture Breech Babies in Portland Oregon 5032870886 at Blossom Clinic.