Acupuncture reduces labour duration and the need for oxytocin
Acupuncture is as an ancient system of diagnosis and treatment. It is regarded as an important tool in the management of pain.
The research study below assessed the effects of acupuncture on first time mothers during labour in respect to pain, labour duration and maternal acceptability.
One hundred and forty-four healthy first-time mothers in active phase were randomised into the study and control group, receiving real and minimal acupuncture, respectively. Visual analogue scale was used to assess pain.
The study's objectives were to evaluate acupuncture effect on pain and labour duration and patients’ willingness to receive acupuncture for subsequent pregnancies.
Visual analogue scale pain score in the study group was lower after two hours. Active phase duration and the oxytocin units administered were lower in the study group. Study group patients had greater willingness to receive acupuncture again. No adverse effects were detected.
The study found that acupuncture was able reduce pain levels, active phase duration and the amount of additional oxytocin units used.
Mothers were satisfied and no adverse effects were noted.
Hantoushzadeh et al. (2007) The effects of acupuncture during labour on nulliparous women: A randomised controlled trial. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; 47: 26–30.