Acupuncture for Turning Babies (Malposition Foetus)

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Acupuncture and moxibustion are safe and natural options to turn stubborn babies. A recent study shows that over 81% of cases of malposition foetus had turned successfully with between 1 and 2 acupuncture treatments.

How does it happen and why does it cause complications in pregnancy?

Malposition foetus occurs for many different reasons. Some of which are known little about in western science, but are understood from a Chinese Medicine point of view.

Commonly it can be due to the baby being under or overweight, previous C-section, too little or too much amniotic fluid, structural abnormalities of the uterus, thyroid dysfunction and stress in the mother. Twins can also contribute to varied positioning within the uterus.

Unfortunately, while we would like our babies to develop in whichever position they see fit, there is a chance that the malposition can complicate the pregnancy and lead to potential difficulties in birth. Rather than put yourself and your baby at risk, there are simple techniques which ensure the proper positioning for natural labour. Ask your primary carer or acupuncturist about baby positioning.

Types of Malposition Foetus

The most common incorrect birthing position seen is Breech where the foetus lies head up and bottom down, followed by transverse where the baby is lying horizontal, and then the shoulder position where the baby is horizontal with their arm extended into the cervix.

The ideal position for birth is with the babies head down and feet up and facing the mother’s spine to allow more room in passing the tail bone and hips. Providing that you are safe for treatment, acupuncture can have great results in helping to encourage baby to position itself the right way.

Am I an ideal candidate for treatment?

Ensuring that your primary carer (Midwife or OBGYN) is aware of your plan to get treatment, and you are at low risk of complications, you qualify to receive acupuncture and moxibustion to turn your baby.

There are a few occasions where acupuncture is limited though, and unfortunately to be on the safe side we exclude them from treatment.

If you are any of the following you are NOT eligible to have acupuncture for malposition foetus.

  • Pre-eclampsia: Due to lack of blood flow to the baby and depending on the position of the foetus a C-section might be necessary.
  • Multiple pregnancy – Twins can tumble into each other and create complications for the second child.
  • Placenta Previa: If the placenta lies between the baby and the exit, stimulation can lead to haemorrhage.
  • History of Haemorrhage
  • History of Premature Labour: If the uterus is prone to early contractions, stimulation is best avoided.
  • Certain Structural Abnormalities of the Uterus or Pelvis
  • Oligohydramnios or polyhydramnios: too little or too much amniotic fluid can create complications when the baby is stimulated.
  • Hydrocephalic Foetus: If the babies head is abnormally large changing the position will not help.

Remember to bring your hospital card or any other information from your primary carer along to the session as it will help us to get started.

When should I start acupuncture to turn my baby?

Acupuncture and moxibustion treatment is safe to begin from 30 weeks however because there is still plenty of time left for baby to move and room for them to grow, it is more common to see patients from 32-35 weeks in their pregnancy. If your baby has not assumed the ideal position by 34 weeks then it is recommended to begin acupuncture and moxibustion as soon as possible.

A recent study (please put the link in), recommends acupuncture with home care has shown to be effective and low-cost treatment for turning breech babies.

When might the treatment not work?

Sometimes despite being a low risk and ideal candidate for natural repositioning, the baby just won’t turn. In some cases, natural delivery is still possible however it is best to speak with your primary carer about your options. Some reasons that the baby might not turn to include:

  • The condition of the baby is weak
  • Abnormally short umbilical cord
  • Positioned in footling breech with both legs acting as a splint
  • Frank breech with both legs extended
  • Baby is uncomfortable with their head down. In this case, babies turn and then turn back quickly afterwards.

Our acupuncturist

Angela is experienced in the treatment of foetal positioning and is happy to answer any questions you might have regarding the treatment or your pregnancy.

So don’t hesitate to contact us via email or phone us on 07 3367 0337 with any questions that you have.


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