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  • Writer's pictureSharon Waltho

Moxibustion to turn Breech Babies

Updated: Mar 14

Approximately 3 in 100 babies are in a breech position at 34-36 weeks’ gestation and unlikely to turn to head down by themselves. It is likely that they will be in one of the following positions

  • Frank or extended – baby is bottom down with its thighs against its chest and feet up by its ears - this is the most common

  • Full or flexed – baby is sitting bottom down, cross legged with its feet by its bottom

  • Footling breech – feet of one or both feet are below baby’s bottom

It is not known why babies don’t turn and remain in the breech position, but it is more common in

  • First pregnancies

  • Twin pregnancies

  • Where the woman has a different shaped uterus

  • If the placenta is low-lying

  • If there is too much or too little amniotic fluid

If your baby is still in a breech position at 34 weeks, then you will have the following options

  • Moxibustion using Chinese medicine to encourage your baby to move into a head down position – I will discuss this further in a moment

  • External Cephalic Version (ECV) – a specialist midwife uses their hands to turn your baby to a head down position – usually at 36/37 weeks

  • Planned caesarean section

  • Planned vaginal breech birth – this is less common and needs to be discussed with your midwife or consultant


Moxa is a dried version of the herb Mugwart, and for the use of moxibustion to help turn a breech baby a moxa stick (which looks like a cigar) is lit and the heat from it is placed near just one acupuncture point on each little toe. This point is known as BL67 Reaching Yin and research indicates that it is effective in turning about 60% of breech babies. In channel theory, breech presentation is believed to be due to a loss of equilibrium between the Kidney and Bladder Channels and heating this point corrects it.

Before the appointment you will be asked several questions to make sure that the treatment is safe for you and your baby and may include

  • If you have had a caesarean less than 2 years ago

  • If it is a single pregnancy

  • If you are Rhesus negative as you will need to have had the anti D injection

  • If you have a low-lying placenta

  • Any recent vaginal bleeding

Your acupuncturist will then explain clearly how to do the moxibustion safely, as for the treatment to be effective you will need to repeat the treatment at home for the next 9 days even if your baby turns sooner. You will also be given clear written instructions and enough moxa sticks to take home.

If you would like more information on moxibustion or to book an appointment, please give me a call


07941 567053


Betts D The Essential guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth (2006)

Maciocia G Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Chinese Medicine (2011)

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