Moxibustion for Turning Breech Babies: Spring 2019


Hi! Here’s an update of what’s been going on and some tips for you if you learn that your baby is breech. I’ve been seeing a ton of women this spring for breech.. For some reason, this is the season for breech baby girls. Something in the planets? I’m not sure. Anyway, I figured now is a good time for me to share some information.

Breech is fairly common before 28 weeks’ gestation, but most babies eventually turn to a cephalic (head-down) position as the pregnancy progresses, with 7-15% breech at 32 weeks and 3-4% at birth. About 40% of babies that are breech at 34 weeks end up turning on their own. If your baby is having trouble turning on her own, there are things you can do to help guide her.


Women will contact me anywhere between 32 and 38 weeks of pregnancy to schedule an appointment for moxibustion. The most success comes between week 34 and 36.

First, a few basics about moxibustion. So what is it? Moxibustion involves the burning of Mugwort leaf (Artemisia vulgaris ). The Mugwort is tightly compressed into a cigar-like shape and then lit, so that it’s slowly burning and smoldering. It’s then held about an inch away from an area of the body or specific acupoints in order to stimulate them. In the case of breech, there’s a point on the pinky toe which is warmed, for about a 10 day period, 20 minutes per day and this helps the baby flip. I know this sounds crazy, but it works! While we don’t know exactly what this does to turn breech babies, we believe this technique increases maternal cortisol levels (increasing fetal movement) and promotes relaxation of the uterus muscle (creating more space for the baby to move). Moms usually report that the baby is very active during a moxibustion session.

Acupuncture & Herbs

I like to combine acupuncture and sometimes herbal medicine with moxibustion treatment. This way I can address any underlying condition which may be contributing to why baby isn’t turning. After your first appointment, I’ll send you home with instructions and moxa sticks so that you can continue moxibustion treatment at home. I may have you come back in 4 or 5 days for another acupuncture treatment.


I recommend having chiropractic work done around the time of your moxa treatment. The Webster technique is a specific sacral adjustment used to help facilitate movement. Many chiropractors are familiar with this technique so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one who is.


Forward leaning inversions (where your head is below your hips) help, too. If you haven’t visited the Spinning Babies website, I suggest you do. There are some videos of inversions and other exercises that can help.

Get Into Some Water

If you have access to a pool, get in and do some headstands or somersaults. Some hotels will charge for a day pass which allows you use of their pool. Or maybe you have a friend who belongs to a gym with a pool and they’re permitted to bring a guest.

Hopefully these tips help your baby go into the cephalic position so that you can have a vaginal birth. Keep in mind, there might be a very good reason why she can’t turn. Try your best not to stress over the outcome, although I know it may be easier said than done. Do your best to find balance between doing what you can on your own and accepting that whatever happens happens.