What is Breech Presentation?
As uterus space reduces when the baby grows and the head becomes heavier, most babies turn into a head down position around 32 weeks gestation. Some babies, however, will present in a breech position with their bottoms down and heads up, and fewer than 5% of breech babies remain in this position until labour.
Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine
Acupuncture and moxibustion are effective in gently assisting the baby in turning into a head down position. Treatments encourage this movement out of breech position by helping to increase uterine and overall blood flow, regulate hormones and enzymes, and relax the body by increasing the release of ACTH, beta-endorphins, serotonin, and noradrenaline. This increased state of relaxation creates a more favourable environment for the baby increase movements and turn around naturally in.
Moxibustion involves the warming of acupuncture points with a moxa-stick (dried and rolled mugwort leaves) and is an effective treatment to turn breech babies. The stick does not come in contact with the skin, but warms and stimulates the acupuncture points. Moxibustion, when taught appropriately by a trained practitioner, can be performed at home 1-2 times per day for 15 to 20 minutes.
Nutrition & Diet
It is important to note that unhealthy diet and weight can lead to a higher risk for complications during pregnancy, so it is critical to ensure optimum nutritional health before, during, and after pregnancy and childbirth. Ensuring a diet rich in healthy foods (and enough of them!) is critical for the health of the baby and mother.
Lifestyle & Mind-Body Medicine
In addition to acupuncture and moxibustion, learning relaxation techniques can be beneficial for breech presentation. The mind-body connection is especially important during pregnancy, as there are two minds and two bodies involved. A higher incidence of breech presentation has been observed among women who are highly anxious, fearful, and/or stressed. Anxiety, fear, and stress can negatively affect the sympathetic nervous system and can cause uterine tightening, making it circumstantially more difficult for the baby to want to naturally turn. By increasing the release of endorphins, acupuncture is effective in reducing stress and pain, stimulating blood flow and allowing the uterine muscles to relax. In this way, the key to assisting a breech baby to turn may be in helping the mother reduce levels of anxiety, fear, and stress.
Practicing focused deep-breathing, meditation, yoga, tai-chi and other activities are among those that can increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy. Listening to music, focused breathing, or being outside in nature are also effective methods of managing stress. Calming the heart and mind is particularly important in the context of Chinese medicine for a successful pregnancy.