Journal Articles by Debra Betts
Acupressure Analgesia for use in Labour
Journal of Chinese Medicine February 1999
In my clinical practice I find the use of acupressure provides consistently effective
levels of pain relief for women during their labour. Women report a reduction in
their pain combined with an overall sense of calmness, as well as a high level of
satisfaction with their birth experience. I hope that this article will encourage
practitioners to both teach and use acupressure as a birthing tool for labour. [ Link ]
The use of Acupuncture in Pregnancy induced Hypertension
Journal of Chinese Medicine February 2003
Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) is a closely monitored and potentially serious
condition, since if it is left untreated there is potential for eclampsia to develop.
Although there is little information in the literature on the use of acupuncture
to treat PIH, acupuncture can play a major role in its treatment.
This article offers a comprehensive analysis of PIH including the diagnostic and
treatment approach of orthodox medicine, Chinese medicine pattern differentiation
and treatment by acupuncture, precautions, advice to patients, feedback from midwives
who have been successfully treating PIH by acupuncture, and illustrative case histories.
[ Link ]
Harmonising the Penetrating Vessel in the treatment of Morning Sickness
Journal of Chinese Medicine June 2003
Morning sickness is a very common disorder, occurring in up to one half of all pregnancies,
and recent research has demonstrated the effectiveness of individualised over simple
(Neiguan P-6 only) and sham acupuncture for treating this condition.
Despite this, many acupuncturists express a reluctance to treat morning sickness,
voicing concerns over the safety of giving acupuncture treatment in early pregnancy,
or past experience of disappointing therapeutic results unless treatment was given
more frequently than was practical for the typical western clinic. Hopefully this
article will address these concerns and encourage practitioners to actively promote
treatment for women experiencing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. [ Link ]
The use of Acupuncture as a Routine Prebirth Treatment
Journal of Chinese Medicine October 2004
Pre birth acupuncture refers to a series of treatments in the final weeks of pregnancy
to prepare women for childbirth. Research ((Kubista E, Kucera H Geburtshilfe Perinatol
1974; 178 224-9 ) has demonstrated that the mean duration of labour in a group of
women giving birth for the first time was reduced from 8 hours 2 minutes in the
control group (70 women) to 6 hours 36 minutes in the group of 70 women who had
received prebirth acupuncture. In clinical practice acupuncture is an ideal method
to help women prepare themselves to have the most efficient labour possible. Feedback
suggests that prebirth acupuncture offers a range of positive effects in labour
that goes beyond reducing the time spent in labour, with midwives reporting that
use of prebirth acupuncture has contributed to a reduced rate of medical intervention
in their practice. This article outlines the use of prebith treatments in clinical
practice in the hope that this will encourage practitioners to promote this very
[ Link ]
Post Natal Acupuncture
Journal of Chinese medicine February 2005
Traditional Chinese medicine has very firm ideas on the amount of care and rest
appropriate to the first month or longer after childbirththat contrast with the
modern emphasis on returning to normal activities within a week or two. Recovery
after childbirth can be promoted by appropriate tonifing acupuncture treatments
and dietary advice. Furthermore specific problems postbirth, for example persistant
uterine bleeding, afterpains, night sweats, perineal discomfort, breast feeding
problems and postnatal depression can all be helped with acupuncture. [ Link ]
A Review of Research into the Application of Acupuncture in Pregnancy
Journal of Chinese medicine February 2006
While traditional Chinese acupuncture aims to provide treatment specifically tailored
to an individual, the aims of modern research are often different and frequently
assess acupuncture formulas for a specific western diagnosis. Despite this conflict,
western research into acupuncture presents interesting opportuntities for practitoners.
Research appearing in medical and nursing journals can be used to initiate discussion
with western health professionals, to promote acupuncture practice and evaluate
personal clinical practice. This is especially true in the field of obstetrics where
safety and evidence based practice are primary concerns.
[ Link ]
Acupuncture For Prebirth Treatment: An Observational Study of its use in Midwifery
Medical Acupuncture. Volume Seventeen / Number Three / May 2006
Background: Midwives in Wellington, New Zealand noted women receiving
prebirth acupuncture consistently experienced efficient labours, reporting a reduction
in the length of labour and medical intervention, specifically epidurals, medical
inductions and caesarean sections.
Objective: To explore this feedback through a naturalistic observational
study of midwives who use acupuncture as part of their routine antennal care.
Design, Setting and Patients: 14 midwives recorded their acupuncture
treatments over a 4 month period. 169 women received treatment.
Main Outcome Measure: The following information was recorded; gestation
of women at onset of labour, incidence of medical induction , length of labour,
analgesia used and the type of delivery.
Results: When compared to the local regional rate there was a 35%
reduction in the number of inductions, (for primigravidea women this was a 43% reduction)
and a 31% reduction in the epidural rate. When compared to local midwifery practice
there was 32 % reduction in emergency Caesarean Sections and a 9 % increase in normal
Conclusion: Prebirth acupuncture appeared to provide some promising
therapeutic results in assisting women to have a normal vaginal birth. A further
randomised controlled study is warranted.
[ Link ]
Journal of Chinese medicine
Inducing Labour with Acupuncture -Crucial Considerations
Journal of Chinese Medicine 90:20-25 2009
Twenty years ago the treatment principle
I would use to induce labour was straightforward – establish contractions. I used
strong reducing treatment at acupuncture points indicated for delayed labour, with
little underlying diagnostic effort required. The results of this approach were
often disappointing; whilst women gave positive feedback, often convinced that the
treatment had been successful due to the contractions following treatment, clinical
follow up was less encouraging. Their resulting labours were not always efficient
and frequently involved medical procedures due to failure to progress, foetal distress
or "stuck" babies.
There was thus little advantage for these women in using acupuncture.
They may have avoided a medical induction but the resulting labours were not the
“natural” births they were planning. My subsequent experience of working with midwives
led to a more satisfying approach, one that used acupuncture to correct possible
problems, with a focus on promoting an efficient labour rather than merely hastening
the onset of contractions. This article discusses this approach, and includes four
aspects that I now consider crucial for achieving an optimal outcome – that of natural
physiological labour. The latest research on using acupuncture for induction is
also discussed, including the implications this has for clinical practice.
[ Link ]