BREECH BABY:

Acupuncture or Moxibustion (Moxa)

Both acupuncture and moxibustion work to balance the Chi (i.e. “vital energy”) in the body. Acupuncture balances the Chi by inserting needles into specific points on the meridians. Moxibustion balances the Chi by stimulating acupuncture points with a hot herb. The studies on acupuncture or moxibustion for breech presentation indicate that treated breech babies become more active and are more likely to turn on their own than are babies who have not been treated.

Studies looking in to the optimum time for turning a breech baby with moxa have found that intervention is most efficient at week 34, before the baby has grown too large. Unfortunately, not all women will present for treatment at that time, since approximately 50% of babies will have turned spontaneously by the 36th week, many doctors wait until week 36 has passed before discussing the possibility that the fetus will remain breech.

In clinical practice, it is best to see women as close to 34 weeks as possible. If a women as near to the 34 weeks as possible. If a women presents later, even as late as 38 or 39 weeks, I do instruct her on using moxa, as some of these baby do turn. if the patient has been pregnant before a positive outcome is more likely .

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Talking with the baby

This approach involves the mother overtly recognizing her relationship with the baby in uterus, and basically communicating with the baby to help her/him turn.

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Music/Light

This technique has the mother-to-be putting light, and/or music, on the lower part of her belly because babies are thought to be attracted to light and music, thus this process will induce the baby to turn.

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Diet

Chinese medicine suggests breech babies have too much Yin energy and that the mother needs to consume more Yang energy foods such as; fish, poultry, eggs, red meat, dairy, and miso. On this diet, mothers will need to decrease their consumption of Yin energy foods and products such as; fruit, ice cream, oil, coffee, sweets, drugs, chemicals, cigarettes, and stress.

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Water

Submersion in water, or doing hand stands in water, is thought to encourage the baby to turn.

The suggestion that expectant mothers drink more water is related primarily to the volume of amniotic fluid. Birthing professionals have subjectively noted that amniotic fluid volume is decreased in breech presentation, which may make turning difficult or impossible. However, a subjective measurement of amniotic fluid volume has shown no significant difference in amniotic fluid volume between cephalic presentation and breech presentation babies. I believe these seemingly conflicting observations and findings point to the multi-causal nature of breech presentation.

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Tilt Board

Use of the tilt board is also based on a mechanical model for breech presentation. The mother lies with her feet and pelvis elevated for a certain period of time each day (approximately 10 - 20 minutes) to facilitate the baby turning. The only published study of this intervention I found reported no significant improvement with the tilt board. However, many midwives subjectively report that tilt board usage is a secondary cause of babies turning.

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Massage

Although I am not aware of any specific massage techniques for turning a baby, some believe gentle massaging of the abdomen invokes turning.

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Homeopathy

Two doses of PulsAtilla (200 potency). A commonly recognized homeopathic remedy is recommended in intervals of two days during the 35th week of pregnancy.

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Hypnosis

One study found that women under hypnosis who investigated why their baby was breech were more likely to have babies turn than were women who were not hypnotized.

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-Gilli Stuppel, L.Ac
Licensed Acupuncturist, Childbirth Doula, Herbalist, Naturopath

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