Coyle ME et al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 May 16;(5)
The authors reviewed a total of eight trials (involving 1346 women) and concluded that there was no evidence that moxibustion was effective at turning breech babies to cephalic presentation. However they report that when combined with acupuncture, moxibustion resulted in fewer breech presentations at birth, and fewer births by caesarean section compared with no treatment.
Moxibustion (a type of Chinese medicine which involves burning a herb close to the skin) to the acupuncture point Bladder 67 (BL67) (Chinese name Zhiyin), located at the tip of the fifth toe, has been proposed as a way of correcting breech presentation.
To examine the effectiveness and safety of moxibustion on changing the presentation of an unborn baby in the breech position, the need for external cephalic version (ECV), mode of birth, and perinatal morbidity and mortality for breech presentation.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (26 March 2012), MEDLINE (1966 to 1 August 2011), EMBASE (1980 to August 2011), CINAHL (1982 to 1 August 2011), MIDIRS (1982 to 1 August 2011) and AMED (1985 to 1 August 2011) and searched bibliographies of relevant papers.
The inclusion criteria were published and unpublished randomised controlled trials comparing moxibustion (either alone or in combination with acupuncture or postural techniques) with a control group (no moxibustion), or other methods (e.g. external cephalic version, acupuncture, postural techniques) in women with a singleton breech presentation.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:
Two review authors independently assessed eligibility and trial quality and extracted data. The outcome measures were baby’s presentation at birth, need for external cephalic version, mode of birth, perinatal morbidity and mortality, maternal complications and maternal satisfaction, and adverse events.
Six new trials have been added to this updated review. One trial has been moved to studies awaiting classification while further data are being requested. This updated review now includes a total of eight trials (involving 1346 women). Meta-analyses were undertaken (where possible) for the main and secondary outcomes. Moxibustion was not found to reduce the number of non-cephalic presentations at birth compared with no treatment (P = 0.45). Moxibustion resulted in decreased use of oxytocin before or during labour for women who had vaginal deliveries compared with no treatment (risk ratio (RR) 0.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13 to 0.60). Moxibustion was found to result in fewer non-cephalic presentations at birth compared with acupuncture (RR 0.25, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.72). When combined with acupuncture, moxibustion resulted in fewer non-cephalic presentations at birth (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.94), and fewer births by caesarean section (RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.98) compared with no treatment. When combined with a postural technique, moxibustion was found to result in fewer non-cephalic presentations at birth compared with the postural technique alone (RR 0.26, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.56).
This review found limited evidence to support the use of moxibustion for correcting breech presentation. There is some evidence to 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.