Information for mums-to-be
WHAT IS A “BREECH” BABY?
So you’ve been told that your baby isn’t in the optimal position for a vaginal birth by your OBGYN. Now what? Well, if you’re between weeks 34-37 acupuncture and moxibustion might just be the answer you’re looking for, especially if you’re looking to avoid having a manual external cephalic version (ECV) or a cesarean section.
There are a few different types of breech presentation:
- Complete breech- baby sitting on it’s heels.
- Footling breech– feet first
- Frank breech– bottom first, with feet up by head
Breech presentation affects around 4% of all pregnancies, but most of the time babies will flip on their own by the 36th week. However, if the baby continues to be breech, most OB’s advise having a C-section so it’s worth trying to get the baby to turn if you can.
Moxibustion is a traditional East Asian Medicine technique to turn a breech baby to head first, usually around 34–36 weeks of pregnancy. Moxa – sticks of dried herb – are used to heat specific acupuncture points on the outside corner of the pinky toes. The heat is absorbed into the points triggering hormone changes which relax the muscles in your uterus to allow extra “give”, and increasing your baby’s activity, encouraging your little babe to turn.
HOW DO I DO MOXIBUSTION?
You can do this at home – but you’ll need someone to help you. Check with your midwife or OBGYN that your baby is still breech and please tell her what you intend to do. Two types of moxa sticks are available from Chinese medicine shops (paper-wrapped or charcoal-impregnated) – be sure to ask for moxa specifically to turn breech babies.
During your first acupuncture treatment, your acupuncturist will teach you how to perform the moxa on yourself at home. A course of moxa for breech presentation is 10 days long. If the baby has not turned head-down, a second course of 10 days is performed provided there is still enough time.
An important thing to mention here, is to continue this treatment until the 10th day even if you’re feeling the baby turning before. It is quite normal for your baby to become more active during and right after the moxibustion therapy. This movement is a good thing because it creates the possibility for repositioning.
- Moxa stick
- Mason Jar
- Using a candle, light one end of the moxa stick. It may take a few minutes for the stick to really absorb the heat and start glowing red. Think of it as charcoal, it takes a bit of heating up before it is hot enough to become a glowing ember
- Moxa is then performed on the acupuncture point Bladder 67 which is found at the outer corner of your pinky toenail.
- Steadily hold the moxa stick 1-2 inches away from this point. You will feel a gentle warmth on the skin. Once it becomes uncomfortable or even too hot, move the stick up and back a little bit. Repeat this motion on this point for 10 minutes. You can alternate between the right and left foot as well for a total of 10 minutes. NEVER allow the moxa stick to touch the skin!
- When finished with the treatment, place the stick in the mason jar and seal the lid tight in order to put out the heat. Do not run the moxa stick under water to extinguish the ember of the stick. The goal here is to put the heat out and preserve the herbs and use again in your next treatment.
- Repeat this twice each day for 10 minutes
- * While it is possible to perform the moxa treatment on yourself (in most cases), we recommend that you have someone else do it for you. This allows you to relax and fully experience the treatment. After the moxa, we suggest doing a round of postural exercises that encourages the baby to turn such as forward leaning inversions and breech tilts. Spinning Babies website offers tons more information on these exercises
Moxibustion point⭐: outside corner of either pinky toe, where nail meets cuticle