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What is Moxibustion?

Updated: Sep 8, 2021






As a Breech Birth Mentor I know a thing or two about turning breech babies. Trust me, I've been there, twice!


In my opinion one of the most effective, non-invasive, ways to turn your breech baby is via moxibustion. So what is this crazy burning stick? Here goes...


What is it?

Moxibustion is a treatment traditionally used in Chinese medicine (for the record I hail Chinese medicine!). It involves the burning of a herb us westerners call "mugwort" - an aromatic flower that's also known as artemisia vulgaris.


The herb is put into tubes/sticks which you light at the end to burn. As you burn the mugwort sticks you hold them close to the skin of your little toe. Random, right?


But this is the mind-blowing bit...located at the tip of your fifth toe is an acupuncture point known as "Bladder 67". This is a direct channel from your little toe right up to your bladder/uterus which increases fatal activity and encourages your baby to turn.


The technique

The Mona sticks are around 1.5cm in diameter and 20cm in length. The idea is to hold the burning sticks close to your little toes so that you can feel the warming sensation from the sticks, but not so close that it burns ofcourse.


You can choose to have someone help you in doing both toes simultaneously, or you can practise it yourself, and do it alternately.


It is advised that you practise the technique for 15-20 minutes everyday, for up to 10 days to maximise the chances of your baby to turn.


When to do it?

In my opinion this is crucial. In the UK community midwives to start to check the position of your baby from around 30 weeks onwards. But it is only until around 34 weeks do they start to raise concerns about a breech presentation.


Moxibustion is an effective treatment for breech presentation between 32 - 38 weeks. But the more time goes by, the bigger your baby gets and the more difficult it is for your baby to turn. Studies have shown that the optimal time to use moxibustion to turn your baby is 34 - 36 weeks.


So in essence, the message here is: act fast!


I successfully managed to turn Lex using moxibustion. But unfortunately, it didn't work for Sonny. I say unfortunately, I went on to have the most incredible vaginal breech birth (you can read his story below), so it wasn't unfortunate at all.


Side effects?

This is the best bit, there are no known side effects for mother and baby. It's an all-natural, comfortable and promising way to try and turn your baby.


What if baby doesn't turn?

If your baby hasn't turned using moxibustion then it is likely that your care provider will offer you an ECV - an External Cephalic Version. This is offered around 37 weeks to turn your baby so that the baby is in head-down (cephalic) presentation. The success rate of an ECV is 50%. Does it hurt? No. But it's uncomfortable and unpleasant so I'd strongly recommend you listen to some relaxation music and breathe deeply to support the process.


If the ECV is unsuccessful, you may be offered a c-section or a vaginal breech birth. Both of these can be very positive, just take a look at my posts below.


Conclusion

When mothers presenting Breech use my mentor service Moxibustion is my first suggestion on their Breech Birth Journey. It's an interesting journey when a mother presents breech, as certain methods for turning a breech are statistically more successful at certain times. And what works for one mother, may not work for another.


It's important to take the individual into account, look at their pregnancy history, their lifestyle, their gestation and birth preferences to map out the best journey for them.


You can read more about my Breech Birth Mentor service.


Get ready motherhood! Join my Hypnobirthing Course today. For more information on all my upcoming courses, click here.


To get started on all that Relaxation how about downloading your FREE Relaxation MP3 to enjoy at home. All you have to do is sign up to The Birth Easy Club and you'll be the first to receive offers, news and all things bump and baby related.


I've got you!


Georgia x


https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/search?q=moxibustion+to+turn+the+breech


https://www.breechwithoutborders.org


https://www.cochrane.org/CD003928/PREG_cephalic-version-by-moxibustion-for-breech-presentation




Some other posts you might like:


What is Breech position?


Until you get to the last stages of pregnancy, as a new mother you don't give much thought for your baby's position, well I didn't anyway!


It was only until my 32 week check up, when they measure bump and feel baby's position, did it become a thing.






Why is Breech considered dangerous?


Until the year 2000, breech babies were birthed normally. In 2000 a study called the Hannah Trial reached its conclusion. The findings of this report suggested that breech babies were safer to be born via c-section.







Sonny's Birth Story


At 34 weeks the baby was diagnosed breech (not ideal for a hypno birthing Mama) but worse things could happen, I know!


Following attempts via moxibustion, hypnosis, spinning babies techniques, head stands not to mention a clinical ECV, this bubba was having none of it.



What is a Gentle C-section?


I've get a lot of questions gentle c-sections. Many of you haven't even heard of it, and if that's you, that's okay. Neither had I until just before my breech birth.


A gentle c-section is also known as a "natural c-section".

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