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November 2016

How We Use Acupuncture and Moxa to Help Turn Breech Babies

Moxa sticks, pictured above, are a useful treatment in encouraging a breech baby to turn.
Moxa sticks, pictured above, are a useful treatment in encouraging a breech baby to turn.

If you’ve been told by your midwife or OB/GYN that your baby isn’t in the best position for a vaginal birth, you know what kind of stress this can bring on! Most women facing a possible Cesarean section for breech presentation will search far and wide for things they can do to help their baby get into a better position for delivery.

If you end up consulting Dr. Google, you have probably come across others talking about using acupuncture and moxibustion (moxa) for turning breech babies, and you probably have some questions. It is true that we safely use these techniques to turn many breech babies and it can be successful much of time!

 

What to expect: At the Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture we use a combination of acupuncture and moxa to help encourage a cephalic presentation.

  • Acupuncture: We generally recommend acupuncture 1-2 times per week to help encourage baby to turn, reduce stress, and to relax any tight muscles that might be preventing an ideal presentation.
  • Moxa: You will be given moxa sticks and instruction for their use at home. Our protocol involves moxa treatment 2 times a day for 15 minutes for a course of 7 days (or until the baby turns).

After treatment, you will generally feel an increase in fetal movement, and an overall sense of relaxation and well-being. New to acupuncture? Here is what you can expect.

 

When to receive treatment: The ideal time to use acupuncture and moxibustion is between week 33 and 35 of your pregnancy.

Beyond week 35, the chances of success decreases as baby is starting to get larger, but many breech babies have turned in the last weeks of pregnancy or even as labor starts.

It’s best to call as soon as you find out you are breech and discuss your personal case with our acupuncturist. We can walk you through your options and what the best course of action is for your situation.

 

What else can I do?

  1. Swimming: any type of swimming with your stomach down in the water can take the pressures of gravity off your uterus and allow baby to move into a good position
  2. Dance: put your favorite music on and make sure to let your hips rock!
  3. Talk to your baby: Baby can hear your voice and some women have reported success with asking baby to adjust his or her position.
  4. Webster Technique: This is a chiropractic technique that is helpful in turning breech babies. Be sure to seek out someone trained in this technique.
  5. Spinning Babies: The positions on this website can help your baby settle into position and are highly recommended. We also recommend using this site throughout your pregnancy to help prevent breech presentation.
  6. Talk to your doctor about performing an external cephalic version or other medical interventions.

 

What are the chances that it will work?

In one study, where moxa and acupuncture was compared with a watch and wait approach, 75.4% of women treated with acupuncture and moxa had a cephalic presentation vs 47.7% of the control group. Both groups were offered external cephalic versions and results included the successful versions.

 

In addition to the recommendations here, we encourage all pregnant women to take advantage of Pre-Birth Acupuncture starting at week 36 to help get your body ready for labor and help support a vaginal birth. Prenatal acupuncture done in the last weeks of pregnancy can reduce the need for interventions like epidurals and emergency C-Sections.

Please give us a call at 865-315-3845 or contact us online for more information or to set up an appointment. We look forward to working with you!

 

 

Resources:

https://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/acupuncture/research/moxabustion-breech/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20430289

https://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/acupuncture/fact-sheets/evidence-base-acupuncture-and-moxibustion-breech-presintation/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15280133

http://www.cochrane.org/CD003928/PREG_cephalic-version-by-moxibustion-for-breech-presentation

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/188144

Case Study: IUI Success After 7 Years. Diagnosis: Endometriosis and Low Progesterone

IUI and acupuncture success after 7 years of infertility!
IUI and acupuncture success after 7 years of infertility!

A 33 year old woman came to our office after experiencing infertility for 7 years. She had a history of endometriosis and low progesterone. Her husband had a history of low motility. She had never been pregnant and was feeling very frustrated.

Her previous fertility treatment included multiple medicated cycles using both clomid and letrozole and two previous IUI cycles. She had undergone two laparoscopies to treat endometriosis. She began fertility treatment in another state before moving to Tennessee, where she began seeing Dr. Doody in Knoxville.

She came to the Tennessee Center for Reproductive Acupuncture for her third IUI cycle. She took 150mg of clomid to stimulate follicle development in preparation for the IUI. You can read more about our general treatment recommendations here.

We saw her a total of three times during her IUI cycle.

The first treatment was done on cycle day 6 to support follicle growth and reduce the side effects from the clomid. Supporting the first phase of the cycle and making it as healthy as possible sets up the rest of the cycle for optimal fertility and can help treat luteal phase defect.

The second treatment of the cycle was done the morning of the IUI itself. This treatment helped to facilitate ovulation. Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective means of ovulation induction and we like to use it along with the trigger shot.

The points used for the first and second treatments followed a modified Stener-Victorin protocol. This protocol has been specifically shown to increase blood flow to the uterus and is used successfully to improve IVF cycle success and regulate hormones.

The third treatment of the cycle was done 6 days following the IUI to support implantation, reduce uterine contractions, ease stress and support healthy progesterone levels. The points used for this treatment followed a modified Paulus protocol. The Paulus protocol is commonly used before and after embryo transfer during an IVF cycle and has been shown to improve pregnancy rates.

She received a positive pregnancy test about a week later. Her HCG levels rose an appropriate amount between her tests. The pregnancy was confirmed by ultrasound, and has been going well for mom and baby.

We are very excited for her success and hope the rest of her pregnancy goes well!

If you’d like to add acupuncture to your upcoming IUI cycle, call or contact us and we will find a protocol that is best for your cycle! 865-315-3845