Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture proven to turn breech fetuses

New research shows that acupuncture is an effective method for turning breech fetuses to the proper position for a healthy vaginal delivery. Five different randomized studies conducted by the Department of Fetal Medicine at Hautepierre Hospital in France demonstrate that needling acupuncture point UB67 (located on the 5th toe) is an effective means for turning a breech fetus. Another study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine (which includes a lead researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts) concludes that needling acupuncture point UB67 “reduces the number of breech presentations at term, thus, reducing the number of caesarean sections, and is cost effective compared to expectant management, including external cephalic version.” The latter study included stimulation with both acupuncture needles and moxibustion at acupoint UB67. Moxibustion is a technique used by acupuncturists to stimulate an acupoint with heat by burning a specially prepared mixture of the herb Ai Ye (mugwort) near the acupoint. The French study concludes that “acupuncture should be attempted in cases of breech presentation.”

The acupuncture treatment protocol for turning breech fetuses is over 1,000 years old. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture and moxibustion at point UB67 (also known as Zhiyin, “Reaching Yin”) is used to treat breech fetuses, occipital & vertex headaches and prolonged or difficult labor. Acupuncture point UB67 is most renown for its importance in turning breech fetuses. In China, pregnant women with a breech position fetus are often instructed how to warm acupuncture point UB67 with a moxibustion stick as a home measure. Often, using acupuncture is not necessitated since the moxibustion may achieve the proper clinical results of a well positioned fetus.