Breech Baby and Moxibustion
It is common for 3-4% of babies to be in breech position towards the end of pregnancy. Currently, most breech babies will be born via Caesarean section. Many mothers would prefer to birth naturally whenever possible.
The use of moxibustion has been documented in Chinese Medicine for centuries as a natural method to possibly turn breech babies. Moxibustion for turning a breech baby involves using a burning moxa (mugwort) stick to stimulate and warm a specific point on the mother’s small toe. Specific home treatments techniques may also taught to assist the process.
Below are three actual cases of treating breech babies using this method. Let me emphasise that your primary carer is always your paediatrician and their advice should be followed closely as instructed.
Please be aware that every case is different. While these results cannot be generalised or exactly reproduced, these examples give readers an idea of what Chinese Medicine can and cannot do. You will note that in one example below the baby did not turn by the due date and was delivered successfully by Caesarean section. Always consult with your paediatrician first. Moxibustion is not an alternative, substitute or replacement for qualified paediatric care.
Baby 1, August 2008:
Baby is in breech position 7 days prior to the due birth date. An ultrasound scan is scheduled for the day before the due date to determine if c-section is necessary.
Treatment: Moxibustion 5-10 minutes bi-laterally.
Homework given to mother: Self-treatment (moxibustion) daily; “Pelvic tilt position” exercise daily
Outcome: Baby turned (head-down & engaged position), 3 days after 1st treatment. He was born naturally, but 10 days overdue. Mother and baby are both well.
Baby 2, Felix, August 2008:
Baby is in breech position during the last week of gestation.
Treatment: One in-clinic treatment was given.
Outcome: The baby turned before labour. Natural birth with both mother and baby doing well.
Baby 3, Oct 2009:
On 36-week routine pregnancy check, the baby was engaged and head down. 4 days later, the mother felt strong movement of her baby inside the womb. On 37-week routine check up, the baby is in breech position again. The mother is anxious and worried.
Treatment: Acupuncture for relaxation; Routine Moxibustion bilaterally, but treatment took longer than 40 minutes because of difficulty warming up the relevant Acu-points.
Homework: “Pelvic tilt position” exercise taught for home; Self-treatment (moxibustion) daily.
In total, there were 3 in-clinic treatments and 2 self-treatments were performed.
Outcome: A lot of baby movements were felt in-utero during the treatment period, but the baby had not turned by the due date. During the caesarean birth, a pre-cancerous grapefruit-sized ovarian tumour was discovered which had not shown up on any previous ultrasound scans. Necessary medical intervention was therefore performed immediately to the mother. This case illustrates that specialised paediatric care is vital for your pregnancy and delivery.
Summary of Breech Baby and Moxibustion:
Moxibustion is a safe and sometimes effective treatment to use for turning breech position babies. However, always consult with your paediatrician first because moxibustion is not a replacement for timely and specialised paediatric care.