Share this article on:

Version of Breech Fetuses by Moxibustion With Acupuncture: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Coulon, Capucine MD; Poleszczuk, Marion MD; Paty-Montaigne, Marie-Hélène MD; Gascard, Cécile MD; Gay, Charlotte; Houfflin-Debarge, Véronique PhD; Subtil, Damien PhD

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000303
Contents: Original Research

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of moxibustion (heating of the acupuncture needle with an igniting charcoal moxa stick) with acupuncture for version of breech presentations after 33 4/7 weeks of gestation to reduce their rate at 37 weeks of gestation and at delivery.

METHODS: This was a randomized placebo-controlled single-blind trial including 328 pregnant women recruited in a university hospital center between 33 4/7 and 35 4/7 weeks of gestation. Moxibustion with acupuncture or inactivated laser (placebo) treatment was applied to point BL 67 for six sessions. The principal endpoint was the percentage of fetuses in breech presentation at 37 2/7 weeks of gestation.

RESULTS: The study included 328 women randomized into two groups: moxibustion with acupuncture (n=164) or placebo (n=164). The percentage of fetuses in breech presentation at 37 2/7 weeks of gestation was not significantly different in both groups (72.0 in the moxibustion with acupuncture group compared with 63.4% in the placebo group, relative risk 1.13, 95% confidence interval 0.98–1.32, P=.10).

CONCLUSION: Treatment by moxibustion with acupuncture was not effective in correcting breech presentation in the third trimester of pregnancy.


Moxibustion with acupuncture between 33 and 35 weeks of gestation in breech fetuses does not lower the rate of breech presentation at 37 weeks of gestation.

Hôpital Jeanne de Flandre, Université Lille II, Faculté de médecine Henri Warembourg, Université Lille 2, UPRES Lille Nord de France, and EA2694, UDSL, University Lille Nord de France, Lille, France.

Corresponding author: Capucine Coulon, Hôpital Jeanne de Flandre, Université Lille II, 1 rue Eugène Avinée, 59037 Lille Cedex, France; e-mail:

Approved by the Department of Clinical Research of the Regional and University Hospital of Lille (a public hospital).

The authors thank Dr. Coulon, Dr. Poleszczuk, Dr. Paty-Montaigne, Dr. Gascard, Charlotte Gay, Dr. Houfflin-Debarge, and Dr. Subtil for study concept and design, collection of data, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of the manuscript, critical revision of the manuscript, statistical analysis, and/or study supervision. Laser probes were provided by Association scientifique des Médecins Acupuncteurs De France et Ecole Française d’Acupuncture and Association Médicale d’Acupuncture du Centre. We also thank Fédération des Acupuncteurs pour la Formation Médicale Continue who printed the inclusion forms. The authors thank all of the midwives who participated in this study, whose motivation and commitment were essential to the performance of this trial (by inclusion, randomization of the women, and by realizing moxibustion with acupuncture or laser-placebo sessions for the included women in the trial): Audrey Baratte, Caroline Behr, Marie Edith Bouquillon, Sophie Broquet, Florence Cacheux, Bénédicte Compère, Marie-Christine Desmartin, Caroline Desplanque, Anne Dubos, Charlotte Gay, Isabelle Matuszak, Véronique Lehembre, Anne-Sophie Piau, Denise Rault, Sabine Quinart, Émilie Theve, Omar Touirsi, Béatrice Vanden Bosch, and Julie Vanderhaeghe. The authors also thank Dr. Jean-Marc Stéphan for his advice and his extensive knowledge of the research in the field of acupuncture.

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.