Research and reviews

Acupuncture and pregnancy

Acupuncture For Prebirth Treatment:
An Observational Study Of Its Use In Midwifery Practice
Betts D and Lennox S, Med Acup 2006, 17, (3) 16 - 19
Medical Acupuncture

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This survey conducted in New Zealand revealed that women who had acupuncture in the last 4 weeks of their pregnancy had a third less the number of medical inductions, epidurals and emergency caesarians compare to local population rates. 

 

Acupuncture for Depression During Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Manber R et al, Obst and Gynec 2010, 115 (3) 511 - 520
Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Since there is evidence that the use of antidepressants increases the risk of miscarriage and may have adverse effects on the fetus, there has been much interest in the use of acupuncture to treat depression which occurs in pregnancy. 

A number of trials and systematic reviews of the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of depression  have been published over the last 5 years and a meta-analysis of these trials concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for depression. This trial looked specifically at depression in pregnancy and found that acupuncture was as effective as other standard treatments and worked more quickly. 

 

Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised single blind controlled trial.
Elden H et al 2005 Jul 30;331(7511):249-50.
British Medical Journal

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This 6 week trial indicated that acupuncture treatment of pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy was more effective than other treatment options. 

 

Acupuncture for pelvic and back pain in pregnancy: a systematic review.
Ee CC et al, 2008 Am J Obstet Gynecol Mar;198(3):254-9.
American Jnl Obstetrics and Gynecology

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This review of 3 trials examining treatment of back and pelvic pain in pregnancy concludes that acupuncture, as an adjunct to standard treatment, is superior to standard treatment alone and physiotherapy.

 

Cost-effectiveness of breech version by acupuncture-type interventions on BL 67, including moxibustion, for women with a breech foetus at 33 weeks gestation: a modelling approach
Van den Berg I et al, Complement Ther Med. 2010 Apr;18(2):67-77.
Complementary therapies in medicine

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The use of acupuncture and moxabustion on women presenting with breech babies at week 33 was assessed in this large restrospective Dutch study. Acupuncture was shown to reduce the number of breech presentations at term, thus reducing the number of caesarean sections.

 

Influence of acupuncture on Doppler ultrasound in pregnant women
Zeisler H et al, Ultrasound Obstet Gyn 2001 Volume 17, Issue 3, pages 229232,
Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology

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This study showed that acupuncture performed on pregnant women close to term had a beneficial effect on blood flow in the umbilical artery, leading some researchers to suggest that acupuncture provides an alternative method of preventing preeclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction in high-risk women.

 

Using moxibustion in primary healthcare to correct non-vertex presentation: a multicentre randomised controlled trial
Vas J et al, Acupunct Med 2013;31:31-38
Acupuncture in Medicine

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Moxa applied to an acupuncture point on the foot was shown in this trial to be more effective than other treatments in correcting breech presentation between week 33 and 35 of pregnancy. 

 

Moxibustion for breech presentation: significant new evidence
Smith C, Acupunct Med 2013;31:5-6
Acupuncture in Medicine

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In this editorial Caroline Smith from University of Western Sydney, discusses recent findings and analysis (Cochrane Review) of treatment for breech presentation.

 

Electroacupuncture for cervical ripening prior to labor induction: a randomized clinical trial
Gribel G et al, Arch Gynecol Obstet (2011) 283:12331238
Archives Gynecology and Obstetrics

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Two groups of women had their labours induced with either electroacupuncture or with prostaglandins. In both groups labour was successfully induced however the electroacupuncture group experienced significantly fewer obstetric complications including caesarian sections.

 

Analyzing the Study of Using Acupuncture in Delivery in the Past Ten Years in China
Yingru Chen et al, ECAM, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 672508
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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This paper analyses 87 articles published in the last 10 years in China, including randomized control trials, prospective case studies, reviews and meta-analyses. The reviewers conclude that acupuncture can relieve labor pain, promote childbirth, shorten delivery and treat postpartum disorders.