Can Acupuncture help turn a Breech Baby before birth?

At around 28 to 30 weeks gestation, most babies begin to turn around so their head faces downwards. However, when mothers-to-be learn their babies still have their legs and bottoms facing down (a breech baby) as their due date approaches, they might try a number of tactics to flip their unborn child around – including acupuncture.

According to Tommy’s, giving birth to a breech baby is not ideal, as it can lead to complications such as an emergency caesarean-section, more pain relief and a long labour. If the baby has not turned by 36 weeks, midwives typically suggest a number of things to do to turn him or her so that labour can be as straightforward as possible.

This includes an external cephalic version (ECV), which involves a healthcare professional applying pressure to the abdomen to attempt to turn the baby manually. However, not only can it be uncomfortable, but it also only has a 50 per cent success rate. 

An alternative to this is acupuncture, with a study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health revealing this ancient Chinese treatment, together with moxibustion, “is more effective than observation in revolving foetuses in breech presentation”.

The trial concluded it, therefore, is a “valid option for women willing to experience a natural birth”.

Real world examples

According to the study of 226 breech cases, 53.6 per cent of those who received this treatment managed to turn their babies around, compared with 36.7 per cent of those who were randomised to observation. As a result, only 52.3 per cent of those in the first group were assigned caesarean sections, compared with 66.7 per cent of the latter cases.

More and more expectant mothers have been trying acupuncture as a way to avoid a breech delivery, including Eva Amurri, daughter of actress Susan Sarandon and Italian director Franco Amurri.

The 34-year-old actress recently revealed on her Instagram Story that she was about to try acupuncture to encourage her third baby to flip around.

She updated fans to say: “We did some pressure points to get baby to move around a bit and then I relaxed for a while. He is definitely transverse right now so hoping he will move a bit tonight head down.”

The Undateable star is not the first celebrity to opt for acupuncture for this issue, as both Pretty Little Liars actress Shay Mitchell and former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson also revealed they tried the treatment as a natural alternative to turning their babies.

It is often used together with moxibustion, which involves burning a cone or stick of ground mugwort leaves called a moxa on or near acupuncture points. This heat is thought to stimulate these, increase circulation, and improve the flow of qi around the body. While it has other health benefits, such as to relieve menstrual cramps, asthma symptoms, and cancer-related nausea, it is best known for its role in helping to turn a breech baby.

As well as assisting with this, acupuncture can also help during pregnancy, as many expectant mothers turn to the ancient treatment to relieve them of challenging symptoms.

For instance, it has been shown to be effective for morning sickness and lower back pain, both of which are incredibly common during pregnancy.

To find out more about Acupuncture, including its effects, get in touch today.


Can you have Acupuncture while Breastfeeding?

Those looking for acupuncture in Cheshire in the postpartum period, may be interested to know if they can have acupuncture while breastfeeding?

There are a number of reasons women may
have acupuncture while breastfeeding. Some may wish to use it as a drug-free
treatment for sciatica pain or pelvic girdle pain that hasn’t cleared up after
the pregnancy ended. Some may want to use it to treat problems they are
experiencing with breastfeeding itself. So, what is the evidence for using
acupuncture while breastfeeding?

Traditional Chinese medicine argues the
case for acupuncture used at specific sites can promote the production of
prolactin and oxytocin. These two hormones are both involved in the production
of breastmilk. However there is no evidence for the use of acupuncture to help
with breastfeeding problems, in part due to the difficulty in producing a
double blind study using acupuncture as people are pretty aware of whether they
are having needles poked into them!

One study in Poland looked at the impact of
acupuncture on prolactin levels in women who had breast milk secretion for 1-9
years after stopping breastfeeding. It found that the acupuncture’s effect was
not due to prolactin secretion, suggesting using acupuncture for this
particular method of action is unsupported with evidence.

A survey of 50 Swedish maternity units in 2007 found that 60% of hospitals used acupuncture to treat engorgement, 18% used acupuncture to treat mastitis, and 2.2% each used it for painful breastfeeding or to improve milk supply. The authors found there was no evidence to back up its continued use for breastfeeding issues.

One systematic review found that
acupuncture of sites around the ear resulted in a positive effect on milk
production, onset of lactation, serum prolactin, breast fullness, neonate
states, and frequency of newborn urination and defecation. 

There have been no studies done on the
impact of acupuncture applied to the mother on their breastfed babies, though
there have been no reports of adverse effects either. The reason for the lack
of evidence is that there are some ethical issues to do with running studies on
babies that are unlikely to be of benefit to them.

However, observational studies could be
useful here, would have little to no impact on a baby, and the results could be
beneficial for a number of families.

So what if you are looking at using
acupuncture to deal with a problem unrelated to breastfeeding, is it safe? The
answer seems to be yes. This is as long as it is given alone and not alongside
any herbal medicines, which could affect supply or the breastmilk itself.

In fact, acupuncture is often used on
pregnant women due to its drug-free nature, though we would suggest a
specialist practitioner is sought due to the positions a pregnant women can
adopt for extended periods of time being limited, much like with massage.

If you want to talk to us about your
postpartum issues and the options for acupuncture treatment then get in touch
asap so we can go through your needs and design a plan just for you.