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Breech Presentation: Acupuncture Treatment

Breech or transverse fetal positions can lead to complicated deliveries. Acupuncture, specifically moxibustion, has emerged as a simple, economical, safe, and effective method for correcting fetal position and is now widely used.

A study involving 2,069 pregnant women between 29 and 40 weeks of gestation reported a 90.3% success rate in correcting various abnormal fetal positions using daily moxibustion at bilateral Zhiyin (BL67) points for 15 minutes. Of these, 86% were corrected within 1 to 4 sessions, and the remaining 14% were corrected after 5 to 10 sessions. Among these cases, 2,041 had breech presentation, with 1,841 corrected, and all 28 cases of shoulder presentation were corrected. The study observed that patients with average abdominal wall tension had higher correction rates than those with high or low tension. Women in the 30-34 week gestational period had higher correction rates compared to those above 34 weeks, but even in the latter group, an 84.6% success rate was achieved. Of the 1,869 cases where abnormal fetal position was corrected, 1,794 (96%) felt fetal movement during moxibustion. In the 200 unsuccessful cases, no fetal movement was felt during the treatment.

Acupuncture at Zhiyin has shown similar effects to moxibustion, requiring fewer treatment sessions.

The mechanism of action in acupuncture for correcting fetal position primarily involves stimulating uterine and fetal activity. Moxibustion at Zhiyin has been proven to stimulate the secretion of adrenal cortical hormones and enhance uterine activity, along with increasing fetal movement intensity and heart rate. These factors facilitate the spontaneous correction of fetal position.

To improve the success rate of fetal position correction, the pregnant woman should relax her belt and ensure that her body, especially the abdominal muscles, is relaxed during treatment. Relaxation Qigong can be performed in conjunction with acupuncture stimulation for better results.

A common concern is whether acupuncture might induce premature labor. Generally, this is not the case. Instead, acupuncture can be a preventive method against premature labor, as its influence on uterine contractions is regulatory in nature, dependent on the uterine functional state before acupuncture. Acupuncture can thus be a useful tool in controlling labor.


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