Breech Presentation

Several studies have found that traditional Chinese medicine has been shown effective for treating breech presentation. Let's take a look:

Study One
The objective of this randomized, controlled trial was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of moxibustion to correct breech presentation. 130 women having their first baby received regular treatments with moxibustion at 33 weeks gestation. An additional 130 women received no intervention with moxibustion and were used as a control group.

The moxibustion was administered for 7 days. Women were then assessed and an additional 7 days of moxibustion treatment was given if the position had not changed.

At 35 weeks gestation 75.4% in the intervention group were in a proper cephalic position, compared to only 47.7% in the control (non-moxibustion) group. At delivery 75.4% of the women in the moxibustion group presented in the cephalic position, compared to only 62.3% of the control group.

At 33 weeks gestation with breech presentation, moxibustion treatment for 1 to 2 weeks increased fetal activity during the treatment period and corrected cephalic presentation at 35 weeks and at delivery.

From a safety perspective it was reassuring that no adverse events (such as intrauterine death or placental detachment) were noted in the treatment group. It was also interesting that while the number of premature rupture of membranes was similar in both groups the number of premature births was lower in the moxibustion intervention group and that the use of oxytocin, before or during labor, was also reduced in the moxibustion group (8.6% in the moxibustion group compared to 31.3% in the control group).

Study #2: Published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine (AJCM) by Yoichi Kanakura, et al.

In this study, breech presentation was successfully corrected by stimulating acupuncture points with moxibustion or low-frequency electrical current. Only patients with breech pregnancies at the 28th week or later were entered into the study.

The study looked at 357 women with breech presentation. 133 women received treatment with acupuncture and/or moxibustion, while an additional 224 women formed the non-acupuncture control group.

The results of this study soundly concluded the effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on correcting breech pregnancies. The acupuncture treatment group had a correction rate of 123 out of 133 (92.48%), while the non-acupuncture control group had a spontaneous correction rate of 165 out of 224 (73.66%).

Acupuncture stimulation, especially when combined with moxibustion, provides a safe and effective modality in the management of breech presentations in a clinical setting, and can effectively lower the incidence of cesarean surgeries.


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