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J Soc Gynecol Investig. 2002 May-Jun;9(3):158-62.

Non-stress test changes during acupuncture plus moxibustion on BL67 point in breech presentation.

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Clinica Ostetrica, Università di Roma-Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.



We assessed fetal heart variability and activity using a computerized non-stress test (NST) during acupuncture plus moxibustion on the BL67 point. For comparison, the same changes were assessed during placebo acupuncture (minimal acupuncture) in the same subjects.


Twelve pregnant women in the 33rd week of gestation, carrying singletons in the breech presentation were enrolled in the study. In a single-blind design, each woman received a first session of minimal acupuncture followed 1-2 days later by true acupuncture. During the sessions, women were monitored using computerized non-stress testing starting 20 minutes before the stimuli and continuing for 20 minutes after treatment.


During true acupuncture a significant reduction in fetal baseline heart rate, and more accelerations and movement were observed. During minimal acupuncture, there were no significant changes in these variables. No signs of fetal distress or changes in short- or long-term variability were noted, and there were no uterine contractions.


In our study population, acute application of acupuncture plus moxibustion did not cause fetal distress as assessed by either fetal heart rate decelerations or changes in either short- or long-term variability. Considering that the modifications in fetal movement and heart rate occurred in true but not during minimal acupuncture, we could consider that such changes are related to the effect of the acupuncture stimulation. The mechanisms leading to the cephalic version remain to be clearly established.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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