Aims: We conducted a pilot trial to compare the effects of smoke and smokeless moxibustion with a control as a possible supplement to external cephalic version (ECV) for converting breech to cephalic presentation and increasing adherence to cephalic position, and to assess their effects on the well-being of the mother and child.
Methods: We used a quasi-experimental design with 3 arms: a smoke moxibustion (n = 20) and smokeless moxibustion (n = 20) groups (20-min acupoint BL67 stimulation once or twice daily for 10-14 days), and a control group (n = 20). The participants had singleton breech presentations between 33 and 35 gestation weeks. The primary outcome was cephalic presentation at the conclusion of intervention. The secondary outcomes were cephalic presentation at birth and effects on mother and child well-being.
Results: At the conclusion of intervention, cephalic presentation was higher in the smokeless moxibustion (60.0%) than the control groups (25.0%), Relative Risk 2.40, 95% Confidence Interval [1.04-5.56]; there was no significant difference for smoke moxibustion. At birth, there were no significant differences in cephalic presentation or well-being.
Conclusion: Smokeless moxibustion treatment showed an increasing trend towards cephalic presentation at the conclusion of intervention. Although significant differences were not observed at birth possibly due to the small samples and non-randomization, moxibustion was safe, and not associated with perinatal morbidity and mortality. A randomized controlled trial with a larger sample is warranted to ascertain smokeless moxibustion treatment as a possible ECV supplement for converting and increasing adherence to cephalic position.