Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Acupuncture and Moxibustion To Create Free Flowing Qi
A few weeks before birth, most babies turn to a head-down position and stay there to prepare for delivery. Babies who have not turned to this position by week 36 of the pregnancy are considered to be in the breech position.
However, if your baby is breech there’s no need to panic.
In our experience, most healthcare providers won’t be overly concerned about a breech baby because the baby may still turn to a normal position that is optimal for delivery. As long as the baby has enough room, it can turn around to a normal position as late as labor. Also, some doctors are comfortable naturally delivering babies in a Frank breech position, where the baby’s buttocks are pointed to the birth canal with the legs sticking straight up in front of the body and the feet near the head.
Of course, healthcare providers and moms-to-be would prefer a normal position to a breech position before labor begins so that delivery options are not limited. Depending upon the specific situation, many Frank breech babies can be successfully delivered via vaginal birth in a hospital setting. However, healthcare providers are keenly aware of the complications that can occur when feet or hips exit first during a natural vaginal birth. This is why most healthcare providers attempt to manually turn the baby prior to labor using a procedure called external cephalic version or scheduling a cesarean birth.
Home remedies to turn a breech baby include swimming, music, and breech tilt: an exercise for mom designed to help the baby flip on its own. Chiropractic adjustments aimed at pelvic balance (such as the Webster Technique) may provide enough room in the mother’s pelvis to allow the baby to turn naturally on it’s own. Still others turn to acupuncture with moxibustion to help free the flow of Qi.
What is Moxibustion?
In our office, we often use acupuncture alone or in conjunction with chiropractic techniques. Depending on your preferences and how close to term you are, we may also incorporate a technique called moxibustion. All of these methods are safe during pregnancy.
Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese technique that involves the burning of a Chinese herb called Moxa to help promote healing of the body. If you are looking forward to having a natural birth, this ancient Chinese method may help you.
In a study on Moxa, researchers Cardini and Weixin found that moxibustion was a safe and effective method for turning breech babies to a normal position (1998). In order to scrutinize the effectiveness of moxibustion for expectant mothers who have breech babies, the researchers studied 260 women who were 33-weeks pregnant. Of these women, about 50% had moxibustion sessions that lasted for 30 minutes a day for two weeks. The other half received no treatment at all. The study found that 75% of the women who had received moxibustion had their babies turned during their 35th week of pregnancy, compared to only 48% of the women who had no treatment. Further, 75% of the women that received moxibustion had their babies born in the normal head-first position.
How Does Acupuncture and Moxibustion Work?
Moxibustion is the burning of a moxa stick on or near a person’s acupuncture points. For pregnant mothers who have a breech baby, moxibustion is ideal during the 34th-35th week of pregnancy at Bladder Point 67 or UB 67. This point is located on the mother’s outer, lower edge of her little toe. Moxibustion is best used when combined with certain positions and acupuncture needling at UB 67. UB 67 is an important point in acupuncture because it is located on the longest meridian of the body. It is also the most distal, or farthest point away from the center of the body. By needling and using moxibustion on this location, an acupuncturist is stimulating the the mother’s Qi to keep her UB channel flowing freely.
During this process, a moxa stick is burned approximately 2-3 centimeters away from the mother’s toe. It is believed that this creates an ascending movement of Qi up towards the mothers body that will help expand the mother’s uterus to allow for the baby to move. this creates the most space possible for the baby to move around and to find a head-down position, which is the ideal position for a natural birth. This is believed to have no side effects and studies have proven it to be safe.
We recommend a treatment of using moxibustion sticks for half an hour each day for about two weeks to help you create a free movement of Qi.
Contact us now for expert advice from our expert acupuncturist, to help you make an informed decision on opting for moxibustion.
Cardini, F., & Weixin, H. (1998). Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation: a randomized controlled trial. Jama, 280(18), 1580-1584.
Vas J, et. al. (2013). Using moxibustion in primary healthcare to correct non-vertex presentation: a multicentre randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med, 31(1), 31-8.