Breech presentation occurs in approximately one out of every 25 full-term births. Breech presentation can be caused by excess or low amniotic fluid, a short or twisted umbilical cord, placenta previa, or a variation in the shape of the uterus. However, the cause of many breech presentations is unknown.
Western medicine’s treatment for breech presentation is an External Cephalic Version (ECV), which is successful about 50% of the time. This method of manually turning the baby is usually done around week 37. ECV can be quite uncomfortable and carries the risk of fetal distress, ruptured membranes, and placental separation, sometimes resulting in the need for an emergency caesarean section.
The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment for breech presentation has been used for thousands of years. It is successful around 75% of the time (see below), and carries no risk to the mother or baby. It is generally done between weeks 33-36, when there is still enough room for the baby to turn, although it can be attempted later in pregnancy as well. The method involved is very relaxing and causes no discomfort. When successful, the baby will usually turn within 24 -48 hours of the treatment. Sometimes only one treatment is needed, and sometimes it may take several treatments for the baby to turn.
Acupuncture proven to turn breech foetuses
New research shows that acupuncture is an effective method for turning breech foetuses to the proper position for a healthy vaginal delivery.
In a 1998 Italian study, (reported in a November 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association) 130 women with breech presentation had treatments during the 35th week of gestation. The study showed a 75% success rate in turning the breech babies head down.
In a Japanese study conducted in 2000, 357 women had daily moxabustion, with a very impressive 92.5% correction rate.
Five different randomized studies conducted by the Department of Fetal Medicine at Hautepierre Hospital in France demonstrate that acupuncture is an effective means for turning a breech foetus. This French study concludes that “acupuncture should be attempted in cases of breech presentation.”
Another study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine (which includes a lead researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts) concludes that acupuncture reduces the number of breech presentations at term, thus, reducing the number of caesarean sections, and is cost effective compared to expectant management, including external cephalic version.” The latter study included stimulation with both acupuncture needles and moxibustion
(Moxibustion is a technique used by acupuncturists to stimulate an acupoint with heat).
Please click on the links or menu for information on Acupuncture for other pregnancy conditions or Breech Presentations .