In 2005, a Cochrane review on turning breech babies with moxibustion showed that moxibustion, a type of Chinese medicine which involves burning a herb close to the skin, may be helpful in turning a breech baby when applied to the little toe.
In 2008, a systematic review of studies assessing the effectiveness of acupuncture-type interventions (moxibustion, acupuncture, or electro-acupuncture) on acupuncture point BL 67 (situated on the little toe) to correct breech presentation suggest that acupuncture-type interventions on BL 67 are effective in correcting breech presentation.
So what is actually involved in turning a breech baby with acupuncture?
Well, in most cases, the acupuncturist will use moxibustion. This treatment protocol is over 1,000 years old and has been developed in China. It involves burning a tightly compacted herb (artemisia vulgaris) near the little toe of the pregnant woman. There is no need for needles and women only feel a pleasant feeling of warmth in the area.
After checking that there is no contra-indication to the treatment, the acupuncturist will do one treatment with moxa, showing the woman (and if possible a partner) the procedure at the same time.
The same procedure will have to be repeated at home for 10 days so full explanation and enough moxa for the treatment will be given too.
It is usually recommended to start the procedure between 34 and 36 weeks in the pregnancy as the baby has more room to turn. However it can be used up to full term.
Moxibustion may also be helpful even if the woman decides to have an ECV (external cephalic version) to help and turn the baby.
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