Turning A Baby

In my last blog, I wrote about a Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) treatment called Mother Warming. With the use of a moxa stick, Mother Warming is carried out in the early post-partum period. This week, I would like to share another wonderful TCM indication which uses a moxa stick. The moxa stick  is used during pregnancy to help turn breech- or posterior-positioned babies.

In an ideal world, by weeks 34-36, we would like a baby to settle into a cephalic or head-down, anterior-position within the pelvis. That is, the baby’s spine facing outward, toward the mothers abdomen. For various reasons, this does not always happen. You may hear your doctor or midwife say your baby is lying posterior, meaning it is head-down, but the baby’s spine is angled towards the mother’s spine. This position can prolong labour and cause increased back pain for mom, during labour. Or you may be told your baby is breech.

Breech can present in different ways (i.e., full, frank or footling. To give you an idea of each, full breech is when your baby is sitting crossed-legged over your cervix. Frank breech is when the baby’s bum is over the cervix with legs extended up to the face. Footling breech is when one or both feet are presenting over the cervix. Complications arising due to breech presentation can include intracranial haemorrhage and/or prolapse/compression of the cord.


Don’t panic, there are things that can be done, especially if caught early on, to help your baby move into a better position. Among these is moxibustion therapy. Research and personal experience suggest that holding a moxa stick over the acupuncture point BL-67 can help turn a baby to a more favourable position. Stimulation from the heat of the moxa stick acts to release certain hormones, encouraging the lining of the uterus to contract and thereby facilitating fetal movement. Following consultation with a qualified acupuncturist, this is a simple home treatment to do on your own or with the help of your partner. The moxa stick is applied bilaterally (20 minutes/side) for 10 consecutive days. Greatest success with this treatment is seen if carried out between 32-36 weeks, but can still be effective in the later weeks of pregnancy.

So Momma’s, if this applies to you, quick, get your moxa on!



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