Acupuncture & moxibustion for breech


The treatment most commonly used in Chinese Medicine for correcting breech presentation is Moxibustion (Moxa). Moxa is a traditional Chinese herb (commonly known as Mugwort in the Western world) that is dried and rolled into sticks. These sticks are lit and held over acupuncture points on the little toes until a warming sensation is achieved. The initial treatment course is continued daily or twice daily for approximately 5 days (either at home or at the clinic). If the foetus has not turned the treatment will begin for another 5 days with a rest period between the treatments.

The best results for Moxa treatments are achieved if treatment is started during 32 and 35 weeks gestation, with most research showing the 34th week to be the optimal time. If treatment is started after this time or the foetus is particularly stubborn, acupuncture is often used in combination with moxa to strengthen the treatment. It is very important that the moxa is not over used and that the position of the foetus is continually monitored throughout the course of treatment.

Acupuncture is often used in conjunction with Moxibustion but this will depend on your therapist and your specific circumstances.

What can I expect from moxibustion?

Moxa is not painful, whilst the treatment is taking place you can expect to feel the acupuncture point become warm. The most common thing you will experience is movement of the baby. Almost all patients will feel a substantial amount of foetal movement during and even after the treatment.

How does moxibustion work?

There is no concrete Western Medical research on how Moxibustion works to turn a breech baby but it ‘appears that by stimulating production of maternal hormones (placental oestrogens and prostaglandin), it encourages the lining of the uterus to contract, which in turn stimulates foetal activity.  (Acupuncture & Pregnancy in Child birth, Zita West, 2002).

Are there any side effects?

Acupuncture and/or Moxa are considered to be very safe and side effect free treatments. All needles used are sterile and are unwrapped prior to treatment and disposed of immediately after treatment. The Moxa may at times become uncomfortably warm but this is easily adjusted and not detrimental. There are some contraindications to using Moxa on breech babies including twin pregnancies, previous caesarean for breech, raised blood pressure, bleeding in pregnancy and Rhesus negative blood.

How much does it cost?

The cost of an acupuncture treatment is $90 for an initial treatment and $80 for subsequent treatments. The cost of Moxa sticks varies and depends on the type of Moxa, but they are generally inexpensive (approx. $1 to $4 dollar/stick).

Can I claim it on my health fund?

All the Acupuncturists at Maitland Wellness Centre are registered providers and you will be able to claim a health fund rebate if you are covered for Acupuncture with your health fund. Rebates vary between health funds and levels of cover.

Where do I go for treatment?

It is important that you seek treatment from a fully qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner whilst continuing to be monitored by your midwife/doctor.

You can find a registered provider of acupuncture through the AACMA (Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association) website.

At Maitland Wellness Centre our acupuncturists; Bjorn Mella, Meshelle Bell, Lauren See and Michelle Brodie are all registered with AACMA and with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, the government run register of Acupuncturists.