Yesterday I was called to a birth to give acupuncture for pain relief.  When I got to the birthing center, my patient, a woman I have been seeing since before her pregnancy, was laboring in a dim room.  It took me a few minutes to adjust to the darkness after having been out in a bright day.  I watched her manage a couple of contractions and asked her where she felt the pain.  She was managing the contractions well but I could tell that the intensity needed to give birth had not yet arrived.  She told me that the pain was in her rectum.  I told her that it was likely that the needles would help with the pain but that they could also intensify the labor.  I placed needles only on her left side as her partner was on her right, blocking her leg and holding her hand.

I used a point near Large Intestine 4 where there was an induration, Spleen 6 and Bladder 60.  The next contraction was completely different than the previous ones.  It was much  more intense but the pressure had shifted to the perineum.

After this contraction the mom told me that the contraction felt “so productive”.  After about 10 more contractions she said “I feel something there.” and then “I want to push!”  This and the fact that she complained about a smell neither I nor her partner could smell told me that she was in transition.  The midwife was called in and she shuffled to the bed in that posture that can only come from having a baby right down there at the gateway!  This 8 lb. 10 oz boy was born about 50 minutes later.  All are well.

This mom had been laboring through the previous night and at 3:00 pm when I arrived was very exhausted.  It is just this kind of situation in which a labor stalls out that can lead to complications.  Facilitating the flow of the labor can make a difference that has large repercussions in terms of the health, peace of mind and comfort of mom and babe.

It is such a joyous experience to follow a woman through her fertility struggles, her pregnancy, birthing and postpartum.  This is especially true after years of practice when you know kids graduating from college whose birth you assisted with.

All this is to say that we are very privileged to be welcoming Debra Betts, Midwife, Acupuncturist and Author to our valley in Western Massachusetts.  This kind of work has been the focus of Debra’s practice for nearly 30 years.  She has trained many many midwives and acupuncturists and has done extensive research regarding her methods.  Debra will be coming October 4-6, 2013 and teaching her world renowned skills to a lucky group of practitioners.  What a spectacular opportunity to have all your questions answered and to become empowered to do this amazing work.

To find out more about Debra Betts click here.