Objective: To estimate the efficacy of moxibustion between 34 and 38 weeks of gestation to facilitate the cephalic version of fetuses in breech presentation and the acceptability of this method by women.
Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in a Swiss university hospital maternity unit. We proposed to stimulate the acupoint BL 67 by moxibustion daily for 2 weeks for 212 consenting women between 34 and 36 weeks of gestation with a single fetus in breech presentation. We did the intervention three times weekly in the hospital and a teaching session and information leaflet on the technique for additional daily therapy at home. The control group received expectant management care. The availability of external cephalic version was maintained for both groups. The main outcome measure was the comparison of the proportion of women with cephalic presentation at delivery.
Results: Baseline characteristics were similar between groups, except more nulliparous women were randomized to moxibustion. The percentage of versions was similar between groups: 18% in the moxibustion group compared with 16% in the control group (relative risk 1.12, 95% confidence interval 0.62 to 2.03). Adjustment for the imbalance in parity did not change these results. The frequency of cesarean delivery was similar (64% compared with 58% in the moxibustion group and the control group, respectively). Acceptability of the intervention and women's perceptions of moxibustion were favorable.
Conclusion: We observed no beneficial effect of moxibustion to facilitate the cephalic version of fetuses in breech presentation. Despite this lack of proven effectiveness, women had positive opinions on the intervention.
Clinical trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, www.clinicaltrials.gov,NCT00890474.
Level of evidence: I.