Mums-to-be get acupunc­ture boost


As In­ter­na­tional Day of the Mid­wife is cel­e­brated on May 5, mid­wives at Hutt Hos­pi­tal are lead­ing the way in the use of acupunc­ture and acu­pres­sure for preg­nancy and child­birth.

Acupunc­tur­ist De­bra Betts has been a driving force be­hind ed­u­cat­ing mid­wives and par­ents-to-be on the ben­e­fits of acupunc­ture

Betts has been de­vel­op­ing and teach­ing acupunc­ture cour­ses for mid­wives for more than 20 years.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion between East­ern and Western medicine be­came of­fi­cial at Hutt Hos­pi­tal in June 2008, when it opened an out­pa­tient clinic of­fer­ing free pre and post­na­tal acupunc­ture.

The clinic was the first (and to date, the only) clinic of its kind in New Zealand, and was the brain­child of Jo McMul­lan, the mid­wifery man­ager at the time.

De­mand for the ser­vice has been high, and in the ten years it has been open the clinic has treated over 1000 women.

‘‘The hos­pi­tal pro­vides the clin­i­cal space, and treat­ments are car­ried out by fourth year stu­dents from the New Zealand School of Acupunc­ture. Ev­ery­one in­volved ben­e­fits: stu­dents gain valu­able clin­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, preg­nant women gain high-qual­ity treat­ment at no cost, and the hos­pi­tal is able to of­fer women acupunc­ture as an op­tion for many preg­nancy-re­lated com­plaints,’’ Bretts said.

In ad­di­tion to acupunc­ture train­ing for mid­wives, Bretts has also de­vel­oped a range of re­sources about acu­pres­sure aimed at birth part­ners and sup­port peo­ple.

These in­clude a DVD and a free on­line book­let which has been trans­lated in to eight lan­guages.

‘‘Acu­pres­sure works by stimulating pres­sure points with the use of fin­gers, knuck­les and el­bows rather than nee­dles. The beauty of it is that it’s non­in­va­sive and can be done by any­one.’’

Bretts gets sat­is­fac­tion from shar­ing her knowl­edge. She lec­tures in­ter­na­tion­ally, and has writ­ten a book, The Es­sen­tial Guide to Acupunc­ture in Preg­nancy and Child­birth.

She is also a clin­i­cal su­per­vi­sor at Hutt Hos­pi­tal for the Zealand School of Acupunc­ture and Chi­nese Medicine.

Reg­is­tered mid­wife Xiaoli Liu treats Lusi Heath.

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