Moxibustion in breech version – a descriptive review
- Ayman Ewies, clinical research fellow1,
- Karl Olah, consultant obstetrician, honorary senior lecturer2
The management of breech presentation at term remains controversial. It appears logical that maternal and perinatal outcomes would be improved if breech presentation could be avoided. External cephalic version is considered a safe procedure if cases are selected appropriately and anaesthesia avoided. Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese method of treatment, which utilizes the heat generated by burning herbal preparations containing the plant Artemisia vulgaris to stimulate the acupuncture points. It is used for breech version with a reported success rate of 84.6% after 34 weeks gestation. Moxibustion technique is cheap, safe, simple, self-administered, non-invasive, painless and generally well tolerated. Although many studies give encouraging results regarding the use of moxibustion in inducing cephalic version of breech presentation, a definitive conclusion cannot be made as most involve small sample sizes and are not randomised. Moxibustion could be an extra option offered to women with breech presentation along with vaginal delivery, caesarean section and external cephalic version. This article discusses the possible role of moxibustion in correction of breech presentation in the hope that, some interest will be stimulated in what is a very interesting area for future research.