Debra Betts - Acupuncture and Acupressure for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Midwifery Comments

Stephanie Vague

From my observation women who have prebirth treatments seem to labour spontaneously more often than I would expect. Also they are almost always in established labour (3-4 cms and well effaced) when I arrive to assess at home. My impression is that the acupuncture is helpful in getting labours started a little earlier and that labour seems to be more efficient

Lynden Shanahan

The feedback I have had from clients has been all positive and I am working to incorporate prebirth and postdate treatments into my regular antenatal care. I am observing that the women who have prebirth treatments, regardless of their labour outcome, have more favourable cervix’s when examined at term.

Debbie MacGregor

“As a midwife that feels very strongly about supporting women to have physiological births out of hospital it is wonderful to have yet another tool to enhance my practice” I am convinced that all primiparous women should be offered prebirth acupuncture and am excited that I am able to provide this as an adjunct to my midwifery care “

Janet Callender

“I see the option of being able to use moxa in an attempt to turn breech babies (as per the ministry of health guidelines) as a potential area of increasing use in the hospital antenatal clinic”

Stephanie Davis

“I have found been able to use acupuncture a powerful positive experience, helpful in providing options for women who are open to this idea. Results can be remarkable, even from the first session”

Matty Van Oosteram

“I have been trying acupressure in the second stage of labour in primigravdia women, finding it extremely helpful. It has definitely reduced the time of pushing”.

Midwifery Case Histories


Nadine Potroz

Sonya was a 43 year old woman with her first pregnancy. At 33 weeks she spontaneously ruptured her membranes, was admitted to hospital and given steroids. At 34 weeks she was given one dose of Pg gel 2 mgs at night.

The next morning she was not contracting. Before commencing the syntocinon infusion I offered her acupuncture. The results were somewhat remarkable. Within an hour she had begun to contract regularly and three hours later she had a normal vaginal birth of a healthy baby boy. She required no Syntocinon and no pain relief Sonya said she was very happy with the acupuncture and felt it helped her get into labour, I was also rapped.

Pre birth

Nadine Potroz

Siobhan was a 36 year old woman with her third pregnancy. Her sons were now in their mid to late teens. She was a very anxious woman who suffered panic attacks and had found the birth of her sons frightening and traumatic. She was worried about intervention with the birth as both her boys were forceps deliveries.

Towards the end of her pregnancy she became very anxious whenever she thought about giving birth I offered her acupuncture at 39 weeks, 40 weeks and then 3 days later for her emotional state and to prepare her physically for labour. She commented that she was now able to keep her panic attacks under control and did not feel as frightened 5 hours after the final treatment she went into spontaneous labour and had a normal vaginal birth. She felt that this birth was a positive experience and felt that some healing from the previous births had occurred.

I was also pleased that despite her age and gap between her previous births, this labour and birth progressed well and without the need for intervention.

Pre birth and Labour

Debbie MacGregor

Tracy was expecting her third baby. Her second birth had been difficult. She had been upset by this experience and vowed she would never have another baby. She remained depressed for quite a long time after the birth. However number three was conceived and from early on in the pregnancy she was worried about growing an even larger baby this time and "what was it going to take to get this one borne"? She was seeing an acupuncturist during her pregnancy for pelvic problems, haemorrhoids, carpel tunnel syndrome and emotional treatment.

Pre birth treatments were commenced by her acupuncturist at 37 weeks Tracy went into labour at term.

Her hind-waters broke late one evening and contractions started irregularly soon afterwards. She was awake all night and called me at 07:30 sounding very tired and down, feeling that labour was getting off to a bad start by being slow and inefficient. I saw her at 11:15 and found Tracy still not contracting well and feeling very despondent.

On abdominal palpation the baby felt posterior. I used acupuncture to enhance labour contractions, to help with the descent and rotation of the baby and emotional points for frustration and despair. Within minutes of the needles being inserted her contractions began to come at 4 minute intervals and were strong! Forty minutes after established labour (12 noon) I examined Tracy vaginally to find her 7-8 cms dilated with bulging fore- waters!

We arrived at hospital at 12:10 and at 13:30 Tracy had a spectacular rupture of her fore-waters and remained standing to push out a healthy 4.5 Kg baby boy eighteen minutes later Everyone was ecstatic.

This positive birthing experience was extremely healing for Tracy and she is convinced (as I am) that acupuncture played an enormous role in this empowering experience. Of interest her postnatal depression has not occurred this time and I am convinced that this is because of the different birth experience.

Pregnancy Heat Rash

Deb Carr Porter

Jane was 2 weeks postnatal and had suffered from a hot hive like rash affecting mainly her arms and legs throughout her pregnancy. She had tried many lotions and potions to no avail Her liver function tests remained within normal range during her pregnancy. After learning about some acupuncture that might help I suggested this to Jane on my visit. Jane rang me that evening to report that the itching had stopped and her skin no longer felt on fire, she sounded so amazed and relived One week later Jane was very pleased to report no burning itching skin whatsoever


Stephanie Davis

Helen was 8 weeks gestation with her third child. She had a three day history of nausea with this pregnancy. She was extremely upset; felt her GP was unsupportive, had been unable to leave bed for the past 3 days and was relying on her mother to provide care for her children. I administered acupuncture twice in the first week and then weekly till she felt better at 12 weeks Helen was feeling better after the second treatment and on following consecutive visits she was noticeably stronger in posture, tone of voice and activity levels.

Treating throughout pregnancy. during labour and postpartum

Stephanie Davis

Luisa presented at 32 weeks gestation with her second pregnancy with no antenatal care. She had had an elective section at 38 weeks for breech presentation with her previous birth followed by a long postnatal recovery due to postpartum haemorrhage, blood transfusion, infection of scar site, and difficultly breast feeding.

Her present problems included; anaemia, heart burn and a posterior baby that was small for dates.

She expressed a strong desire to have a vaginal birth. She received acupuncture for her heartburn and responded well.

Her blood work up confirmed anaemia with a Hb of 88 and Fe 4.0.

She commenced using self administered moxa treatment in conjunction with daily iron supplements. At 36 weeks her blood work showed significant improvement and her baby was also the right size for her gestation.

At 37 weeks we commenced weekly pre birth acupuncture

At 40 plus 6 Luisa was anxious and scared that her chance to have a baby vaginally would be unattainable. I added in acupuncture points to stimulate the onset of labour.

Luisa spontaneously laboured 13 hours post treatment. Acupuncture was used during the labour to help descent and rotation of a posterior baby and a cervical lip. She progressed to a normal vaginal delivery of a baby girl without medical intervention

Postnatally she experienced involution pains on day 2 for which acupuncture was used and on day 10 she was having problems breast feeding with her left breast being warm and tender. Acupuncture was given for three consecutive days until she was more comfortable. During this time she continued to breastfeed and noticed an improvement after the first treatment.

Lusia was overwhelming thankful for her treatment and grateful that she could be in control, helping herself and her baby.