Acupuncture, Moxa and turning Breech Babies/Cephalic Presentation
Studies have shown that Acupuncture is successful in turning breech babies to their optimal position for birth, using a Chinese technique called 'moxibustion' or 'moxa'. This could be an effective route for those whom had hoped for a natural birth, or a birth with as little intervention as possible.
There is evidence that moxibustion is useful for turning babies from breech presentation (bottom first) to cephalic presentation (head first).
Breech presentation of babies is common in the second trimester of pregnancy but most babies turn themselves before the onset of labour; some do not. A baby coming bottom first can have more difficulty being born, which causes trauma to the mother. A vaginal birth has to be planned or a caesarean section may be suggested.
Moxibustion is a type of Chinese medicine that may be helpful in turning a breech baby. It involves burning a herb close to the skin at an acupuncture point on the little toe to produce a warming sensation. A Cochrane Review found eight randomised controlled trials involving 1346 women. Women randomly assigned to moxibustion had daily to twice weekly treatment at between 28 and 37 weeks.
The review found Acupuncture plus moxibustion is more effective than observation in revolving fetuses in breech presentation. Such a method appears to be a valid option for women willing to experience a natural birth.
Neri I, Airola G, Contu G, Allais G, Facchinetti F, Benedetto C. Acupuncture plus moxibustion to resolve breech presentation: a randomized controlled study. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2004 Apr;15(4):247-52. doi: 10.1080/14767050410001668644. PMID: 15280133. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15280133/