As your baby’s accommodations become increasingly more cramped during the last months of pregnancy, he or she is still able to perform some remarkable tricks. During the third trimester around week 32 to week 34 your baby will begin to settle head-down. This is the ideal delivery position, the baby’s head is now near the cervix and facing your back. However in about 3 to 4 percent of pregnancies babies are still positioned head up by the time they are full term. When this occurs it is called a breech position. You probably won't be able to feel whether your baby is breech. But if you are 36 or more weeks pregnant and think you feel the baby’s head pressing high up in your belly or you feel kicking in your lower belly, this is a good time to see your doctor for an exam.
Helping turn breech babies turn is one of my favorite parts of the job. I usually start treating breech presentation at 34 weeks and at the latest 38 weeks. When using moxabustion and acupuncture during this time its incredibility effective, safe and non-invasive. Studies have shown that the earlier treatments are started for breech babies, the higher the success rate. Breech presentation treated after 38 weeks will often times require an aggressive team approach using acupuncture, moxabustion and possibly medical intervention by your doctor.
Three main types of breech positions
How is a breech position diagnosed?
Usually around week 34-36, your doctor or midwife will determine your baby's position by feeling the outside of your abdomen and uterus with their hands. If your baby is breech, their round and firm head will be toward the top of your uterus and the softer and less round bottom will be lower in your uterus. If your practitioner suspects your baby might be breech, they’ll do an ultrasound for confirmation.
Moxabustion and Breech Position
Prior to the use of acupuncture needles, moxabustion was used as one of the methods to stimulate acupuncture points. By burning a fragrant herb over one of the acupuncture points (Bladder 67), the uterine muscles relax allowing the baby to turn. Each foot should be stimulated for 20-minutes daily for five days, then take two days off and resume the 20-minute stimulation for another five days. If the baby turns during the course of treatment, the moxa should be continued until the end of that five day treatment. By continuing the moxa for a full course, the baby is more likely to stay in the correct position
Acupuncture and Breech Position
Acupuncture can help relax uterine muscles and encourage the brain to send signals to the baby to turn. By balancing the meridian systems for both mother and baby during an acupuncture session, stress and tension is reduced and the two bodies can communicate. We recommend acupuncture once to twice weekly for breech presentation starting at 34 to 36 weeks.
We have used a combination of these techniques to help babies turn, time and time again. They work by removing restrictions in the body, stimulating movement in the baby and creating space in the uterus. These methods give babies every opportunity to move into optimal fetal position, potentially avoiding an otherwise unnecessary C-section or other invasive medical intervention.
Want more information on breech babies – give us a call! There is also great information available at www.spinningbabies.com