Acupuncture Treatment During Labour:
A Randomised Controlled Trial

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   BJOG 2002 (Jun); 109 (6): 637644

Ramnero A, Hanson U, Kihlgren M

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
Orebro University Hospital, Sweden

OBJECTIVE:   To investigate acupuncture treatment during labour with regard to pain intensity, degree of relaxation and outcome of the delivery.

DESIGN:   Randomised controlled trial.

SETTING:   Delivery ward at a tertiary care centre hospital in Sweden.

POPULATION:   Ninety parturients who delivered during the period April 12, 1999 and June 4, 2000.

METHODS:   Forty-six parturients were randomised to receive acupuncture treatment during labour as a compliment, or an alternative, to conventional analgesia.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:   Assessments of pain intensity and degree of relaxation during labour, together with evaluation of delivery outcome.

RESULTS:   Acupuncture treatment during labour significantly reduced the need of epidural analgesia (12% vs 22%, relative risk [RR] 0.52, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.30 to 0.92). Parturients who received acupuncture assessed a significantly better degree of relaxation compared with the control group (mean difference -0.93, 95% CI -1.66 to -0.20). No negative effects of acupuncture given during labour were found in relation to delivery outcome.

CONCLUSIONS:   The results suggest that acupuncture could be a good alternative or complement to those parturients who seek an alternative to pharmacological analgesia in childbirth. Further trials with a larger number of patients are required to clarify if the main effect of acupuncture during labour is analgesic or relaxing.


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