Acupuncture to turn a breech baby
Approximately 15% of babies are in the ‘feet down’ breech position between weeks 29-32 of pregnancy. Most eventually settle into a ‘head down’ position but a small percentage remain in the breech position until labour.
Skillful midwives can turn a baby by doing an external cephalic version (ECV) but if unsuccessful then the baby often has to be delivered by caesarian section.
In my experience women are keen to avoid such intervention and pleased to hear that a simple acupuncture treatment can turn their baby. In fact research shows a 75% success rate with those using acupuncture compared to 46% in the control group.
It is a tried and tested method used by more and more midwives, is very relaxing and what’s more the treatment doesn’t even involve needles!
How can Acupuncture turn a baby?
After taking a full case history to ensure it is the right treatment the acupuncturist will warm up an acupuncture point on the outside of both little toes using a moxa stick (think large joss stick) for 15 minutes on each side. Patients often fall asleep as it is so warming and relaxing.
How does it work? Women usually report that the baby becomes more active during and/or following treatment. The acupuncture point is connected to the uterus and it is believed that it stimulates production of placental oestrogens and postglastin which encourage the lining of the uterus to contract and stimulates fetal activity.
When is best to try? It is best to start trying to turn from week 34 onwards. Women can have success up to week 38/39 but at this point there isn't much room for manoeuvre!
You can continue daily treatment with your acupuncturist or at home - your acupuncturist will show you how! Once the baby has turned it is important to continue treatment in order to maintain the correct position and prevent him/her turning back to breech position.
Who would have thought that the secret to turning a breech baby is in the little toe…?
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