Turning breech babies naturally

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Jun 11

These days I find most women want to do everything they can to increase their likelihood of having a natural labor.  Soon-to-be mothers and doctors alike are recognizing the important benefits of a vaginal birth.  But when it comes to breech babies, most women are presented with very few options and end with cesarean deliveries.

I help women turn breech babies naturally so they can avoid cesarean sections all together.  In my private practice, I find a three-prong approach of combining acupuncture, moxabustion and positional release postures to be the most effective and least invasive means of safely turing a breach baby.  This protocol is best performed between weeks 34 and 38 and is safe for any pregnant women except those with excess amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) or high blood pressure.

Acupuncture removes structural tension and restriction
I begin the protocol by needling specific acupuncture points in the back, arms, hands, legs and feet to open pelvic joints and release tension in the sacrum, uterine ligaments and related muscles.  These types of restrictions in the body can actually prevent the baby from being able to move into a head-down position.  With restrictions in energy and movement out of the way, the pelvic bowl can relax and the uterus can open, allowing more room for the baby to move into place.

Moxabustion increases fetal movement
Next, I use the time-tested Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique of burning moxa (a Chinese herb) to stimulate a very specific point on the outer edge of the baby toe, BL67.  Stimulation of this specific point for turning breech babies has been used successfully in China for hundreds of years and has been studied and validated in several modern-day randomized controlled trials (listed below).  Moxa can be applied directly to the point or the point can be stimulated using a moxa stick which is held close to the skin.  Burning moxa to stimulate BL67 encourages the baby to move.  In fact, most women will report an increase in fetal movement immediately during the treatment.

To enhance the treatment, I provide women with moxa sticks and train them in the technique so they can continue the treatment at home over a period of several days.

Positions & Postures create space and encourage baby to flip
I also teach women several postures that open up the uterus and give babies more room to adjust their position.  Even just the slightest change in available space can make the difference for a baby who needs to turn.

The exercises I recommend come directly from Midwife, Gail Tully’s teachings.  She describes these exercises and many more in detail at her website, www.spinningbabies.com.  Gail is a pioneer in the field of balancing the mother’s body to help the baby get into the proper position.  These positions are simple but powerful tools to help the baby get into optimal fetal position.  My favorite two positions are the Forward Leaning Inversion and the Breech Tilt.  Both positions actually help shift babies out of the pelvis, while gravity encourages babies to tuck their chins and flip.

I have found that it is the combination of these techniques that helps so many babies turn into a heads down position.  They work by removing restrictions in the body, stimulating movement in the baby and creating space in the uterus.  Combined, these methods give babies every opportunity to move into optimal fetal position, potentially avoiding an otherwise unnecessary C-section.