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Studies Show That Acupuncture Decreases Caesarean Rates

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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 9, 2009) - Debra Betts, an international expert, educator and author of the Essential Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Childbirth will be presenting a workshop for dulas, midwives and acupuncturists in Vancouver, October 13th and 14th.

With nearly 28% of babies currently born by C section in Canada in 2007 and 2008, this workshop couldn't be more timely, according to event organizer and clinical director of Acubalance Wellness Centre, Dr Lorne Brown. "Betts is a leader in the field of prebirth acupuncture.

There are more and more studies showing that acupuncture can decrease the rates of caesarean delivery. This fits right into the new campaign launched by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) to 'normalize' childbirth and reduce Canada's soaring caesarean section rate."

The SOGC claims 20% fewer caesarean sections could be performed if doctors and hospitals followed guidelines aimed at lowering unnecessary surgeries and if women had support during labour.

Studies have shown that women receiving prebirth acupuncture compared to a control group had:

- An overall 35% reduction in the number of inductions (for women having their first baby this was a 43% reduction)

- A 31% reduction in the epidural rate

- A 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery

Breech birth, where the baby is delivering bottom-first rather than head first, is one area under scrutiny by the SOGC. They say that women should have an option to deliver vaginally with a breech presentation rather than have an automatic caesarean delivery. Moxibustion, an ancient Chinese treatment that involves heating acupuncture points with the Chinese herb called mugwort, has been used to turn breech babies for centuries. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that, at 35 weeks gestation, 75.4% of the babies in the intervention group (whose mothers had received moxibustion) had changed to a head-down position versus 47.7% in the control group.

According to Betts, acupuncture during pregnancy helps numerous conditions, including: nausea, high blood pressure, back pain and cervical ripening (which helps shorten labour), and can naturally induce labour.

One thing that Betts is particularly excited about teaching is acupressure for pain management during labour. "We know that if women can manage their pain there is less drugs, less intervention and far fewer C sections." says Betts. "What's important is that these acupressure points are easy to use, can be used at the beginning of labour by the support people, and that there are consistent effects. From my own clinical followup, 86% used it successfully in labour to significantly reduce their pain."

"I am delighted to introduce Debra Betts to the Vancouver birthing community," says Brown. "Acupuncture and acupressure are effective, safe, non-invasive ways to support women through pregnancy, labour and post partum. With this new baby boom we are seeing more and more women at Acubalance for pregnancy support."

With a background in nursing, Debra Betts graduated with a Diploma in Acupuncture from the London College of Acupuncture in 1989. Since 1993 she has divided her time between her practice and teaching at the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She began specifically developing and teaching acupuncture courses to midwives in 1997. Her book Essential Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Childbirth was published in May 2006.

Acubalance Wellness Centre is the first clinic in Western Canada exclusively dedicated to women's reproductive wellness, using Chinese Medicine and acupuncture to provide natural, effective treatment for infertility, menstrual disorders, pregnancy and menopause.

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