The use of a technique adjunctive to acupuncture, to turn breech babies, has been investigated by researchers at Thames Valley University.
The technique, known as moxibustion, involves the burning of a herb to gently warm an acupuncture point on the little toe. Moxa for breech presentation has been routinely practised by acupuncturists for centuries. In China, mothers with a breech baby practise this in their own homes, whereas in the UK, mothers who are aware of the technique, will consult a private acupuncturist.
This study enrolled 76 women who had presented at private acupuncture practices across the UK, and who were between the 32nd and 38th week of pregnancy. Acupuncturists instructed the women in the use of a standardised procedure to undertake at home daily for seven days.
Of the 62 women on whom full data was available at the end of the study, 44.7% experienced a turning of their baby. Best results seemed to be obtained when the treatment was administered in the afternoon. The authors conclude that moxibustion can bring about spontaneous version from breech to cephalic presentation, and can therefore provide this group of women with an option for a vaginal birth.
(Management of Breech Presentation with the use of Moxibustion in Women in the UK. The European Journal of Oriental Medicine Vol 6 no1.)