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enjoy pregnancyBreech presentation, where the baby is in a bottom-down position, is a common occurrence during the second trimester of pregnancy. While most babies naturally turn to a head-down position before labor, some do not, which can lead to difficulties during birth and increase the likelihood of a caesarean section delivery. In a recent study published in the Cochrane Library, researchers explored the potential of moxibustion, a traditional Chinese medicine technique, in helping to turn breech babies.

Moxibustion For Breech Babies

Moxibustion involves burning a herb called Artemesia spp. near an acupuncture point on the little toe, creating a warming sensation and stimulating the uterus. This technique can be administered by the mother herself or by a trained family member or friend. The aim is to encourage the baby to shift into a head-down position before birth.

Method and Result

The study sought to determine the effectiveness of moxibustion as a self-administered treatment for turning breech babies. Researchers examined 13 studies involving 2,181 women and their babies, with seven new trials included in the analysis. The evidence gathered was classified as low to moderate certainty.

The findings revealed that moxibustion, when used in conjunction with usual care or sham moxibustion, was likely to reduce the number of breech babies at birth compared to standard care alone. However, there was limited data available regarding the impact of moxibustion on the need for external cephalic version (a procedure to manually turn the baby). Additionally, moxibustion did not significantly reduce the number of caesarean section deliveries, regardless of whether compared to usual care alone or sham acupuncture plus usual care.

The study also indicated that moxibustion treatment probably reduced the use of oxytocin, a hormone used to induce or strengthen contractions during labor. However, there was limited evidence regarding the effect of moxibustion on the timing of membrane rupture and the acidity of umbilical cord blood.


While side effects were reported in one study, including increased fetal movements, uterine contractions, nausea, headache, and burns from improper use of moxibustion, further research is needed to determine the risks and potential adverse effects associated with moxibustion.

Researcher’s Conclusion

In conclusion, the study provides moderate-certainty evidence that moxibustion, when combined with usual care, is likely to reduce the likelihood of non-cephalic presentation (breech position) at birth. However, its impact on the need for external cephalic version remains uncertain. Moxibustion treatment appears to have a minimal effect on the rate of caesarean section deliveries, and further investigation is required to understand its influence on other factors such as premature rupture of membranes and umbilical cord blood acidity levels.

It is important to note that adverse events were not adequately reported in most of the trials, highlighting the need for additional research in this area.

Almond Wellness Centre Melbourne

In light of these findings, Almond Wellness Centre, the premier acupuncture Chinese medicine clinic in Fertility Pregnancy acupuncture Melbourne, places a strong emphasis on integrating of acupuncture and Chinese medicine with infertility treatments. With over two decades of experience, the centre offers acupuncture treatment for pregnancy patients. The clinic director of Almond Wellness Centre Melbourne, Dr. Richard Zeng, expressed pride in their ongoing commitment to integrating acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine in helping pregnancy related symptoms.

If you like to know more about moxibustion for breech babies, we invites them to contact our experienced team, or visit our Coburg acupuncture clinic or Ringwood acupuncture clinic.


Coyle ME, Smith C, Peat B, Cephalic Version By Moxibustion For Breech Presentation, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, May 2023