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Acupuncture in Toowoomba to Correct Babies in Breech Position

My name is Louis Gordon and I am an acupuncturist. I practice acupuncture from ANTRAC Acupuncture Clinic in Middle Ridge, Toowoomba, 4350, Queensland, Australia. Just as fresh clean water bubbling up from a natural well is vital to sustain life … my WELLNESS information will help YOU to sustain a healthy vibrant life beaming with optimal wellness. Call for more information on (07) 4636 6100.

MISSION STATEMENT: “I aim to get my patients as WELL as possible, as quickly as possible, and then to keep them WELL”.

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Breech Position Correction at ANTRAC Acupuncture Clinic in Toowoomba

What to Wear for the Acupuncture Treatments
As I need to access acupoints on the legs to the knees and arms to the elbows, it is important to wear clothes that allow me to readily access these areas, and that are loose fitting over the abdomen.

The Ideal Time for Acupuncture Treatment to Attempt to Turn a Breech Baby
Research suggests that breech-position reversal is most effective at week 34. Even when women present later, even as late as 38 or 39 weeks, I still perform the moxa procedure, as some of these babies do turn. The procedure is generally considered to be successful 80% of the time.

During the First Treatment
After taking the Case History, I lay the patient down on their back for 5 minutes and I measure all 24 Yuan acupoints with the AcuGraph to determine if there are any major energy imbalances. If there is a problematic Belt Vessel pattern on the Chart, this must be corrected to allow for easier turning of the baby. The patient then lies on her left side, and I needle the points as determined by the AcuGraph. For points that might be painful, I use a painless laser treatment to set about balancing all the meridian energies.

After the acupuncture needle treatment, the pregnant patient is made comfortable on a chair or on the couch wearing loose clothing over the abdomen. Generally it is more comfortable sitting with the feet resting on a pouf, but if they wish to lay down, they lie on their left side to prevent pressure of the baby on the inferior vena cava vein, which if compressed could cause mum to feel faint.

Then, I apply moxibustion treatment to the acupoints on the little toes. The lighted Moxa stick is held over Bladder 67 bilaterally until they feel uncomfortably hot. Then “hen-pecking” moxibustion is applied for twenty minutes bilaterally, for one minute on the left little toe and then for one minute on the right little toe. In this method, the ignited moxa stick is moved up and down over the point like a bird pecking. The hot glowing moxa “cherry” is held about a thumbs width away from the acupoints so it does not burn the skin.

Two Subsequent Treatments
It is very beneficial if the patient can take along their partner or a friend to be trained in the moxibustion procedure. I apply the moxibustion treatment as above for two more days. I use the AcuGraph as required depending on the results determined during the initial consultation. During the third treatment I ensure the patient is skilled with the acupoint location and the moxibustion procedure, and I answer any remaining questions.

The “Turn Around Kit”
After the third treatment the woman is given the Turn Around Kit to complete the course of treatment at home. The DIY “Turn Around Kit” includes everything required to turn a baby in breech position 80 % of the time.  The treatments should be carried out daily for the next seven days by the woman, the woman’s partner or a friend. Most women are flexible enough to use the moxa on themselves, by kneeling with their ankles positioned to the side.

Due Diligence & Warnings Regarding the Moxibustion Procedure
• The outer cover of the moxa stick should be removed before lighting the moxa.
• The moxa stick is held vertical, and the lighter is held underneath until the flat end lights.
• Once lighted, blow on the end of the moxa stick to make the end glow orange.
• Note any darker regions (ash accumulation) and wipe this region on the edge of the moxa extinguisher. Blow on the end again until the entire surface is glowing orange. This is called the “cherry”.
• The smoke from the burning moxa may set off smoke detectors.
• The smoke from the burning moxa permeates hair and clothes, and can irritate sensitive eyes, so perform in an open area or outside if possible.
• During treatment, hold the moxa stick like you would hold a pencil.
• Wipe the ash off about every minute and blow the “cherry” to make it glow.
• During treatment hold the glowing tip about a thumb width away from the acupoint being treated.
• For acupoints being tonified use the “hen-pecking” procedure – (See above). For Spleen 6 warm the acupoint gently so it is soothing, unlike the irritating “hen-pecking” procedure.
• When finished, the burning moxa stick must be extinguished in the moxa extinguisher, which sits on a dinner plate to catch ash and prevent scorching damage and starting fires.
• The moxa stick must be snuffed out in the extinguisher without damaging the “cherry”, so it is ready to light easily during the next treatment.
• Should the “cherry” break off in the extinguisher, cut the end off with a sharp knife and start again.
• Do not leave the moxa on any timber or combustible surfaces to prevent the possibility of scorching damage to surfaces or starting fires.
• When the moxa extinguisher is half filled with ash, use the handle of a teaspoon to scrape the ash out into a tissue and discard. Make sure the ash is cold so it does not ignite the tissue.
• Advise asthmatics to avoid inhalation of the moxa smoke.
• Greater care should be exercised if the woman is a diabetic to prevent burns on the sensitive skin.

Optimal Timing of Acupuncture Treatment
Research suggests that breech-position reversal is most effective at week 34, before the baby has grown too large, and is easily able to turn around. However, not all women present for treatment at that time. Since 50% of babies have turned spontaneously by 36 weeks, many doctors and midwives wait until the 36 weeks before discussing the possibility that the foetus will remain a breech position.

In clinical practice it is best to see the woman as near to 34 weeks as possible. Even when women present later, even as late as 38 or 39 weeks, I still perform the moxa procedure, as some of these babies do turn. For women who have had children previously, a positive outcome is even more likely.

Clinical Practice
It appears that the effect of moxa on Bladder 67 is to encourage the baby to move into, and remain, in the best birthing position, rather than to merely stimulate the baby to become active. It is best to complete the ten day treatment cycle, even if the baby has turned to the correct position. This prevents the baby from turning again into the breech position.

However, once the baby has turned to the correct position the amount of time spent applying the moxa can be reduced to ten minutes each day until the ten days are up.

Foetal Activity
There is a cumulative effect of moxibustion, with the baby becoming more active with each subsequent treatment until eventually the woman feels a rather uncomfortable period of activity. This heightened activity often occurs around days four to six, and again around day ten or 11. Correct positioning of the baby should be confirmed by a midwife or doctor.

Midwives have noted that there appears to be a higher success rate in the manual external correction procedure in women that have used the moxa treatments for at least five days before the manual external procedure.

Further Beneficial Treatment Procedures During Labour
It is not uncommon for babies that have changed position from posterior to anterior through the use of moxa to revert to the posterior position during labour. It is worthwhile to give women intra-dermal needles to take home to apply to Bladder 67 during labour if they receive feedback from their midwife that the baby has turned posterior.

The patient should alcohol swab Bladder 67 on both little toes, insert the needles and wrap a band aid firmly around their little toes to secure the needles in place.

Another intervention used by midwives to successfully turn babies from malposition to the optimal presentation during labour is the use of acupressure or acupuncture needling of the acupoints Bladder 60 and Spleen 6. If the treatment is successful the baby generally turns within 10 to 15 minutes, and back pain is minimised and more efficient contractions occur as the baby’s new position will place increased pressure onto the cervix. Likewise, these other two acupoints should be swabbed before intradermal needle placement, and secured with sticking plaster.

All of these intradermal needles should be removed after 3 days in place, secured in a tissue and disposed of in a bin.

References:
The essential guide to acupuncture in pregnancy & childbirth, by Debra Betts.
The Turning Breech Babies with Acupuncture and Moxibustion webinar – 23rd September 2011.
http://www.ncnm.edu (graphic of moxa extinguishers).

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