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Acupuncture Significantly Reduces The Need For Epidurals In Labour

Ninety parturients who delivered during the period April 12, 1999 and June 4, 2000. Forty-six parturients were randomised to receive acupuncture treatment during labour as a compliment, or an alternative, to conventional analgesia.

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

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.

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.

References

Ramnerö et al. (2002) Acupuncture treatment during labour—a randomised controlled trial. BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Vol. 109, 637–644. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2002.01212.x

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