You might be wondering if acupuncture can help when you find yourself with a breech positioned baby. If you end up consulting Dr. Google, you have probably come across others talking about using acupuncture and moxibustion (moxa) for turning breech babies, and you probably have some questions. It is true that we safely use these techniques to turn many breech babies and it can be successful much of the time!
Acupuncture: We generally recommend acupuncture 1-2 times per week to help encourage baby to turn, reduce stress, and to relax any tight muscles that might be preventing an ideal presentation.
Moxa: We will send you home with smokeless moxa sticks and instructions for their use at home. Our protocol involves moxa treatment 2 times a day for 15 minutes for a course of 7 days (or until the baby turns). After treatment, you will generally feel an increase in fetal movement, and an overall sense of relaxation and well-being.
When to receive treatment: The ideal time to use acupuncture and moxibustion is between week 33 and 35 of your pregnancy. Beyond week 35, the chances of success decreases as the baby is starting to get larger, but many breech babies have turned in the last weeks of pregnancy or even as labor starts. They are a bit unpredictable. The babies usually turn, it is just a matter of helping them to stay in the proper position once they move.
What else can I do?
- Swimming: any type of swimming with your stomach down in the water can take the pressures of gravity off your uterus and allow baby to move into a good position
- Dance: put your favorite music on and make sure to let your hips rock!
- Talk to your baby: Baby can hear your voice and some women have reported success with asking the baby to adjust their position. Yes, this really works for some babies!
- Webster Technique: This is a chiropractic technique that is helpful in turning breech babies. Be sure to seek out someone trained in this technique.
What are the chances that it will work?
In one study, where moxa and acupuncture was compared with a watch and wait approach, 75.4% of women treated with acupuncture and moxa had a cephalic presentation vs 47.7% of the control group. Both groups were offered external cephalic versions and results included the successful versions.
In addition to the recommendations here, we encourage all pregnant women to take advantage of Pre-Birth Acupuncture starting at week 36 to help get your body ready for labor and help support a vaginal birth. Prenatal acupuncture done in the last weeks of pregnancy can reduce the need for interventions like epidurals and emergency C-Sections.