Breech Positioning

During the last trimester, it is possible for your baby to turn (or not turn) in such a way as to be considered a breech position, i.e. not in the accepted cephalic or head down position.  If this happens and you want to avoid a C-section, Traditional Chinese Medicine may offer help in turning the baby.

Treatment

Treatment is generally given between weeks 30 through 38, with week 34 being the optimal time. If treatment is applied after week 38, it is not as effective.  Treatment involves the burning of an herb called mugwort (moxa) over a point on the fifth toe.

How it works

 Applying heat to this point appears to stimulate production of placental estrogens and prostaglandin, both of which are maternal hormones.  This hormonal increase encourages uterine contractions, which in turn stimulates fetal activity.

Research

 In a 1998 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, 75.4% breeches successfully turned in the moxibustion intervention group compared to 47.7% in the control group.  260 pregnant women diagnosed with breech positioning, who were otherwise healthy, were randomized into two groups: the intervention group received moxa treatment; the control group received no treatment other than routine care.  All were at 33 weeks gestation.   This study has been replicated several times with as high as a 90% success rate.