Acupuncture prevents breech birth

Acupuncture prevents breech birth

Acupuncture prevents breech birth
NANCHANG, CHINA. The threat of a breech birth (buttocks rather than the head appear first in the birth canal) is particularly high among women having their first child. A breech birth can often be avoided by external manipulation (ECV) prior to labor, but in some cases necessitates the use of cesarean delivery with the accompanying dangers and discomforts for both mother and child. A team of Chinese and Italian researchers reports that moxibustion (stimulation of acupuncture points with burning herbal preparations containing moxa [Artemisia vulgaris, mugwort]) can markedly reduce the risk of breech birth by increasing fetal movement and can actually turn the fetus around so that a normal head-first birth (cephalic presentation) is achieved. Their study involved 260 women in their 33 week of a first pregnancy who had all had an ultrasound diagnosis of breech presentation. Half the women were given a daily 30-minute treatment with moxibustion (self-administered at home) for one or two weeks while the other half served as a control group. The moxibustion was aimed at stimulating acupuncture point BL 67 (Zhiyin, located beside the outer corner of the fifth toenail). During the 35th week of pregnancy 75.4 per cent of the fetuses in the moxibustion group had changed to the cephalic (head-first) position as compared to only 47.7 per cent in the control group. The fetuses in the moxibustion group also showed greater mobility with an average of 48.45 movements per hour as compared to 35.35 in the control group. Twenty-four of the women in the control group and one in the moxibustion group later underwent ECV to turn the fetus around. Despite the greater use of ECV in the control group the number of babies delivered head-first was still significantly higher (75.4 per cent) in the moxibustion group than in the control group (62.3 per cent). The researchers conclude that moxibustion performed for one or two weeks starting in the 33-week of pregnancy is an effective and safe method for converting breech presentations in first-time pregnancies.
Cardini, Francesco and Weixin, Huang. Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation. Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 280, November 11, 1998, pp. 1580-84

TILMELD NYHEDSBREV