It is common knowledge that acupuncture is quite effective in the treatment of pain. However, for many of us acupuncturists we feel a bit uneasy about treating back pain in pregnant women, as we don’t want to move too much qi and blood in a pregnant woman.

In this episode our guest Debra Betts shares her long and deep experience in working with women in pregnancy, and in particular how to effectively and safely treat back pain that is due to the physical and hormonal changes that occur in the later stages of pregnancy.

As she reminds us, “Conventional medicine has nothing to help these women, while acupuncture can make a significant difference in these women’s lives, their ability to sleep comfortably and get about the business of daily life without pain.”

Listen in as we discuss common acupuncture points you’re sure to know about, that can bring profound relief to women that suffer this common discomfort during pregnancy.


Show Highlights 

  • Reasons for back pain in pregnancy.
  •  Research shows acupuncture to be helpful in treating back pain in pregnant women.
  •  Light cupping along the spine and on ahshi points is effective and women love it.
  • Don’t go for textbook location with the points, palpate to find them.
  • Feel for the tender sticky spots this is a key aspect of locating the effective points.
  •  When finding pain along the spine, needle the Huatuo point above the area of pain.
  • What about using points on the arms and legs?
  • A tip about treating pelvic pain.
  • What is the optimal time between treatments?
  •  It’s important that this kind of treatment is done by acupuncturists who understand the risks of using certain points, rather than other practitioners who have limited training.

The guest of this show 

Debra graduated from the London College of Acupuncture in 1989. With a practice based in women’s health she commenced acupuncture courses for midwives in 1997. This led to publications on the use of acupuncture and acupressure in pregnancy including her 2006 text book “The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy & Childbirth” which has subsequently been translated into German and French. Dr Betts completed her PhD on the use of acupuncture in threatened miscarriage in 2014.

She is currently an Adjunct Fellow at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at the University of Western Sydney and the Director of Postgraduate Programmes for an online Masters course through the New Zealand School Acupuncture.

She also supervisors a hospital maternity acupuncture clinic in New Zealand, has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals and lectures internationally on the use of acupuncture in maternity care. She currently resides with her husband in Wellington, New Zealand.


Links and Resources

Visit Debra’s website for more information about her work and to download a free copy of her illustrated acupressure booklet for childbirth.

Here is the research we talked about in the show that shows the effectiveness of using acupuncture to treat back pain in pregnant women.

You can learn a lot from Debra about the use of acupuncture for pregnancy and childbirth by taking her online continuing education class at ProD Seminars.



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