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Pre-Birth Acupuncture

Pre-birth acupuncture involves a series of acupuncture sessions in the third trimester. Acupuncture can be started from week 30. The process is aimed at building up the expectant mother’s strength for a more natural birth process.

Pre-birth Acupuncture is currently being used routinely in hospitals in China and Germany with positive results.

In China and Germany expectant mothers begin weekly acupuncture sessions at 36 weeks gestation and continue right through till birth.


When should I start my sessions?

You can start from week 30 fortnightly sessions building up to weekly sessions at week 36.


Can I address other health concerns?

Although it is common to use preparation points each treatment can be tailor to suit your specific needs. If you have hip pain for example, we can add some specific local hip points or use some massage during your session.

Common symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Hip/pelvic pain
  • Heart burn/nausea
  • Poor sleep
  • Stress and feeling anxious


Moxibustion treatment, what to expect?

The treatment involves the application of moxa to a particular acupuncture point located on the small toe bilaterally. Moxa is rolled Chinese mugwort which is burn beside the skin allowing the smoke and heat to stimulate the acupuncture point.

Moxa is applied for 20 minutes once a day for 10 days.

Your acupuncturist will teach you how to perform this at home. Most women report that during and after moxa the baby is very active.

Moxa has been shown to emit long-wavelength infrared radiation (7) and it is suggested that stimulation of the point BL 67 stimulates the production of maternal hormones (placental oestrogens and prostaglandin), encouraging and may stimulate fetal activity. (8)


Breech babies?

There are not enough evidence for supporting moxibustion for correct breech presentation.

Some researches suggest that the use of moxibustion may reduce the need for oxytocin. When combined with acupuncture, moxibustion may result in fewer births by caesarean section; and when combined with postural management techniques may reduce the number of non-cephalic presentations at birth.

However, there is a need for well-designed randomised controlled trials to evaluate moxibustion for breech presentation which report on clinically relevant outcomes as well as the safety of the intervention.



1. Coyle ME, Smith CA, & Peat B. 2012. Cephalic version by moxibustion for breech presentation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 5. Art. No: CD003928.

2. Vas J, Aranda-Regules JM, Modesto M, et al. (2013). Acupuncture Medicine 31: 31-38.

3. Cardini F. & Weixin H. (1998). Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 280(18), 1580-1584. Free full text:

4. Debra Betts (2006) The essential guide to Acupuncture in pregnancy and childbirth, The Journal of Chinese medicine – “Feedback suggest that pre-birth acupuncture offers a range of positive effects that goes beyond reducing the time spent in labour, with midwives reporting a reduced rate of medical intervention” 

5. Rebecca Dekker Can Moxibustion Help Turn Breech Babies?

6. Co-operative research group on moxibusion version (1984) Clinical observation on the side effects of version by moxibusion, Abstracts from the second national symposium on acupuncture and moxibusion and acupuncture anaesthesia, All China society of Acupuncture and moxibusion

7. Pach D, Brinkhaus B, Willich SN. Moxa sticks: thermal properties and possible implications for clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2009;17:243-6.

8. Cooperative Research Group of Moxibustion Version of Jiangxi Province. Further studies on the clinical effects and mechanism of version by moxibustion. Abstracts of the Second National Symposium on Acupuncture, Moxibustion, and Acupuncture Anesthesia; 1984 Aug 7-10; Beijing, China. 1984:150-1.

9. Vas J, Aranda-Regules JM, Modesto M, Ramos-Monserrat M. Rivas-Ruiz F.Using moxibustion in primary healthcare to correct non-vertex presentation: a multicentre randomised controlled trial