Breech Babies and How Chinese Medicine Can Help
by Julie Colby, L.Ac.
It is becoming harder and harder to find a provider willing to attend a breech birth, particularly in the hospital or birthing center. There are many homebirth midwives who will gladly assist at these births, but the percentage of families choosing out of hospital births is small in relation to how many women give birth overall. The following approach is used clinically by licensed acupuncturists to encourage breech babies to flip. This protocol is applicable to frank, footling, or full breech positioned babes.
Moxibustion, a warming therapy which is made from the herb artemisia vulgaris (mugwort), is applied bilaterally, directly above the acupoint Bladder 67 for about twenty minutes. This point is found on the outer aspect of the pinky toe. Women are instructed to follow this protocol for ten days. This therapy proves to be the most effective at around thirty four weeks, although women who are full term have had their babies flip while following this protocol.
Bladder 67 is a jing-well which means it is a site where qi (energy) emanates from. It is the most powerful point to address the uterus.
In conjunction to this method, women are encouraged to squat, lunge, and go up and down stairs to make as much room in the pelvis as possible for babies to flip. Acupuncture and ear seeds, beads, or pellets are also often used.
One theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine for why babies remain in the breech position is due to Kidney Qi Deficiency, a pattern diagnosis which relates to the Water Element. Moxibustion and acupuncture can be incredibly useful tools in nourishing Kidney Qi.
Lovely proactive ways to nurture Kidney Qi throughout pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum phase: eat high quality protein with vegetables at least twice a day, avoid processed foods, get at least eight hours of sleep per night, stay hydrated, avoid excessive sugar, sing to your baby daily!