What is a breech baby?
By the time a pregnancy has reached week 36 or 37, the baby is typically situated in a head down position in the uterus, in order to come out head first through the birth canal.
Occasionally, the baby is positioned upside down, meaning the baby would come out feet or bottom first.
There are three types of breech positions that can occur. They are:
- Complete breech – this is when the baby’s legs are folded at the same level as the bottom, and are pointing downward
- Footling breech – the feet are aiming downward, so the legs would come out first
- Frank’s breech – the legs are positioned upwards, so the feet are by the baby’s head
What options are available if your baby is breech just before your due date?
The most common solutions for a breech baby is a manual turning of the baby (where the Obstetrician physically tries to turn the baby to a head down position) or a planned C-section. Unsurprisingly, these are not ideal options for most women. Especially if there is a safe and effective alternative.
The alternative option we are talking about is called Moxibustion, or Moxa.
What is Moxa?
Moxa, also known as mugwort, is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy that is used to stimulate acupuncture points (or acupoints) on the body.
In the case of a breech baby, the acupoint being targeted is called Bladder 67, and is located on the outside of the small toe.
How does Moxa work?
It works by using a moxa stick to apply heat to acupoint Bladder 67. The moxa stick is lit and held next to the toe to stimulate the targeted acupoint.
It is recommended to repeat this practice twice a day for about 5 days. Also recommended after each session is one of these inversion techniques, a Forward Leaning Inversion or a Breech Tilt.
The heat generated by the moxa stick sparks the release of two hormones related to pregnancy, prostaglandins and placental estrogen. The release of these hormones leads to uterine contractions, which help stimulate movement in the baby.
Treatment can be started as early as 30 weeks and is most successful between week 32 and 36.
Is Moxa safe?
Yes, moxa is a safe treatment for mom and baby.
A very small percentage of women reported nausea and dizziness, but in most cases treatment is comfortable.
If you are past 30 weeks pregnant and your health care professional has determined that baby is breeched Moxa is a safe effective means of helping your baby turn to a head down position. Treatment is comfortable, non invasive and has no negative effect on mom and baby.