Betts D and Lennox S, Medical Acupuncture 2006, 17, (3) 16 – 19
Source: Debra Betts
Background: Midwives in Wellington, New Zealand noted women receiving prebirth acupuncture consistently experienced efficient labours, reporting a reduction in the length of labour and medical intervention, specifically epidurals, medical inductions and caesarean sections.
Objective: To explore this feedback through a naturalistic observational study of midwives who use acupuncture as part of their routine antennal care.
Design, Setting and Patients: 14 midwives recorded their acupuncture treatments over a 4 month period. 169 women received treatment.
Main Outcome Measure: The following information was recorded; gestation of women at onset of labour, incidence of medical induction , length of labour, analgesia used and the type of delivery.
Results: When compared to the local regional rate there was a 35% reduction in the number of inductions, (for primigravidea women this was a 43% reduction) and a 31% reduction in the epidural rate. When compared to local midwifery practice there was 32 % reduction in emergency Caesarean Sections and a 9 % increase in normal vaginal births.
Conclusion: Prebirth acupuncture appeared to provide some promising therapeutic results in assisting women to have a normal vaginal birth. A further randomised controlled study is warranted.