Moxibustion is a technique of traditional Chinese medicine that uses a burning herb (with or without needling) to activate acupuncture points and stimulate the flow of qi to heal and improve general health. The heat produced by this procedure can increase blood circulation in patients suffering from cold and stagnant conditions. It can also reduce menstrual cramps by increasing circulation in the pelvic area and uterus.
Stimulating circulation in the uterus can increase fetal activity. This effect can be used to turn a bottom-first (breech) presentation to a head-first (cephalic) position, during the final weeks of pregnancy, to facilitate a vaginal birth. This reduces the risk of asphyxiation and brain damage to babies, maternal complications, and also reduces the need for Caesarian deliveries(1)(2).
A full-term pregnancy is, normally, 40 weeks. Spontaneous repositioning of a breech presentation may occur up to the 32nd week, but rarely occurs after the 35th week.
Obstetric Turning of Breech Babies
In the West, knee-chest exercises by the mother and/or external cephalic version (ECV) – the forceful external manipulation of the mother’s abdomen by a doctor – are used to rotate the baby within the womb. But these procedures can distress the baby and ECV may cause the premature separation of the placenta from the lining of the uterus (placental abruption).
How Does Moxibustion Work In Turning Babies Who Are Breech?
Moxibustion involves burning a formation of tightly packed dried leaves of Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – on, or above, an acupuncture point. In traditional herbal medicine, this plant is known to have “an affinity” for the nerves, stomach and womb.More