Traditional Chinese Medicine uses moxibustion in combination with acupuncture. Moxibustion is a technique which involves the burning of mugwort, a spongy herb shaped like a cigar and smokeless. The moxa stick is shaped like a cigar and is held just a couple of inches above the major acupuncture point on the pinky toe which is specifically used to turn a breech presentation. The patient just feels a warm glow on the little toe which is soothing and relaxing. It is said that the moxibustion can relax the uterus and allow more room for the fetus to turn around.
The herb (Artemisiae argyi) , is used to move and strengthen Qi, which can in turn facilitate the turning of the baby into a downward position. In China, where this practice is common, there is a 75 percent success rate in turning breech babies. The highest success rate is when moxibustion is performed in the 34th week for a period of 7 to 10 days.
Breech presentation is very common up to about 28 weeks but most of the time there is nothing to worry about because the baby will turn head down naturally. Only about 3% of babies are breech by the end of a pregnancy. Very seldom is a woman allowed to birth a breech baby and about 90% of breech presentations result in a Cesarean section.
I myself experienced the turning of a breech fetus first hand with my third baby. I was in Acupuncture school at the time and had already had two caesareans with my boys. I was a pregnant with my daughter who was also breech. My teacher told me of the very high success rate that they have in China. I had tried an external version, a process where the obstetrician manually tries to turn the baby with my first son and found it stressful and was not going to try that again. I gladly climbed up on the treatment table, and my professor did moxibustion on my pinky toe. While on the table I could feel the baby become much more active. For me, it worked very quickly. The next day I felt a significant flip in my womb. I called my obstetrician and did an ultrasound and much to my amazement my daughter had flipped and was head down. I was thrilled by the outcome. I had a VBAC, Vaginal birth after (two) caesareans.
Using inversion exercises prescribed by your midwife or OB and receiving acupuncture and moxibustion is a wonderful way to address the malposition of your baby you can also help along a transverse presentation. The treatment for breech presentation is very soothing and you leave feeling very relaxed and rejuvenated.
Moxibustion should be done by a licensed Acupuncturist and any inversion exercises should be prescribed directly by your midwife or OB. Come into my office on Pine St. and see if it can work for you.
Call for an appointment in Burlington Vermont 802-859-8900.