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Laurel talks about turning a breech baby

Blogging today – Yinova Acupuncturist and Herbalist Laurel Axen Carol. Laurel specializes in using Chinese medicine to treat female reproductive issues, a subject she currently teaches at graduate level.

Laurel says – Getting a diagnosis of a breech presentation is not fun. I have had two myself, one frank and one transverse, so I am no stranger to the news. I have done everything under the sun to get a baby to turn and both did ultimately-but with two totally different births.

It’s healthy to encourage a baby to turn but there is a point when we need to TRUST that some things are beyond our understanding.

There are so many suggestions for turning a breech baby:

  • Laying inverted on an ironing board (this can become really uncomfortable fast)
  • Hanging around the house on all fours doing continuous cat/cows (yoga moves where you gently rock your pelvis)
  • Frozen peas on the top of your abdomen or wherever the babies head is.
  • Playing music into your pubic bone with head phones etc.
  • Moxibustion, otherwise known as mugwort, burned over the mother’s small toe.
  • Chiropractic -namely the Webtser technique.
  • Clothes pins on the baby toes.
  • Handstands in the pool.
  • Visualization.
  • Meditation.
  • Homeopathic remedy pulsatilla
  • External cephalic version.

As an acupuncturist I use moxibustion and acupuncture to help turn babies. I am always honest when dealing with a woman with a breech. Sometimes there are reasons way beyond our understanding that lead to a baby’s postion.

My treatment usually consists of a systemic treatment to help address what is going on with mom. This could include; stress (obviously), reflux, back pain, sciatica, tight muscles, insomnia. I often open the Dai Book NowMai which is a meridian called “the Girdle Vessel”. This extraordinary meridian runs transverse across the belly and its main function is to hold up the other meridians. Opening the Dai Mai can often help the baby find a little room to flip drop down.

A lot of times I find that babies are breech because the hip-flexors and pelvic floor needs to loosen up. Some tight ladies include runners, pilates aficionados, athletes etc suffer from this. Other times babies are breech because the mom has too much water or the uterus is stretched and weak and isn’t holding the baby as tightly at term. In this case I use treatments to help strengthen her Qi.

I do burn the moxa of the little toe in a few different ways. Occasionally I use warming needle (moxa attached to a needle) and other times direct moxa placed on cream and other times I use pole moxa. I provide mom with moxa sticks and tell her to go home and continue treatment for ten consecutive days. If baby has not turned by then to come back for another treatment.

No one really understands why moxa over the little toe works? One Western explanation may be that the little toe is the dermatome for the sacrum. One thing is for sure moms report (and I experienced) a lot of fetal movement during the moxa treatments. 

The one thing I feel that I must urge continuously is that you must TRUST that the baby and your body know what to do. Let go, relax and try not to become obsessive. This may be your first interaction with the will of your little one!

I have found the greatest success is before 36 weeks but many babies still turn past then. I have even seen a baby flip at 41 weeks. 

A good online resource is Spinning Babies. Other Yinova Blog articles on this subject 
Can Acupuncture Help to Turn a Breech Baby and 
Turning a Breech Baby – A Patient’s Story

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