Talking 'bout a revolution.....
One of the better-known treatment protocols in Chinese Medicine is the use of moxibustion to help turn breech babies. It's something I have been doing in clinical practice for almost a decade now but over the years I have undertaken more specialist postgrad training, both in acupuncture and with Spinning Babies, which has greatly informed how I work with women and their babies at this time.
And, excitingly (for me, at least) here's what I can tell you.
Since June 2020 I have been keeping track of how successful my treatments have been in helping encourage babies to get into the optimal position for birth (cephalic, or head down) because it was important to me to track where it was working or where it may not have been.
9 out of 10 babies turned.
I believe in Chinese Medicine but, honestly, even I was surprised by that! But what we are taught is this: if the baby can turn, it will turn.
Here I suggest you try and start moxibustion as close to 34 weeks as possible but I have worked with several women who didn't know their babies were breech until 36 weeks, and they turned too.
Of course sometimes babies turn, and then turn back. That's where they want to be, they know why and we need to trust that too.
Why are babies breech?
There are many reasons a baby might present as breech past 34 weeks (many turn spontaneously before then) and 3-4% of babies present this way. I don't know if this has increased statistically during lockdown - I have seen more than usual but that is definitely not a representative sample.
Certainly the recent months have certainly led to a decrease in activity for many women in the UK - they may not be commuting, socialising as they would, can't access exercise as easily and the curtailment of these things can really affect the pelvic alignment and flexibility as well as the abdominal and rib spaces.
I always recommend the Spinning Babies daily stretches to clients, now more than ever, because this definitely makes a difference. And of course if the baby is breech they have special techniques to try.
A friend also told me that when the mother is sad the baby moves its head towards the heart to comfort her. I don't have any idea if this is true, but it feels true. Certainly I have treated women who needed a much broader treatment approach than just a 'straightforward' breech treatment and releasing emotional stagnation seemed to play a major part in helping the body open properly and find its optimal alignment.
It's not just about moxibustion.
I also work with an incredible network of osteopaths and chiropractors with extensive experience and training in this work (if you are looking for a chiropractor make sure they know the Webster Technique). I regularly refer my clients to them because it is all very well for me to direct the baby to move, but we need to make sure they have enough room to! This is especially important if you are around 35/36 weeks.
Our bodies hold all kinds of tension and effects of impacts, accidents and surgeries and pregnancy can often bring this to the fore or exacerbate underlying imbalance in the musculoskeletal system. It's not just about getting the baby to move head down, it's sometimes also about making sure the baby can engage with the cervix in the optimal way for labour. That's a whole other post as it is a big topic, but important to mention here too.
When might we not offer moxibustion as a Chinese medicine practitioner? These don't all preclude you from trying moxibustion (and this is not the full list) but we may refer to your obstetrician or midwife to have them sign off first.
Any recent surgery, including a c-section, low-lying placenta or placenta prevue (we can treat that too if you come and see us earlier in pregnancy, that's a separate post!), any uterine or pelvic abnormalities, issues around amniotic fluid levels, history of bleeding in pregnancy, threatened premature labour, any hint of foetal distress, twins and triplets, maternal hypertension or any signs of pre-eclampsia, diabetes, and Rh negativity.
Passionate about the pins.
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