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
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.



Background: Midwives in Wellington, New Zealand, observed that women receiving prebirth acupuncture consistently experienced efficient labors, reporting a reduction in the length of labor and medical intervention, specifically the use of epidurals, medical inductions, and cesarean deliveries.

Objective: To undertake a naturalistic observational study of women receiving acupuncture as part of their antenatal care.

Design, Setting, and Patients: Practices of 14 midwives recorded their prebirth acupuncture treatments over a 4-month period in 2004 in 169 New Zealand women who received prebirth acupuncture.

Main Outcome: Measures Gestation at onset of labor, incidence of medical induction, length of labor, use of analgesia, and type of delivery.

Results: When compared with the local population rates, there was an overall 35% reduction in the number of inductions (for primigravida women, this was a 43% reduction); 31% reduction in the epidural rate; 32% reduction in emergency cesarean delivery; and a 9% increase in normal vaginal birth.

Conclusions: Prebirth acupuncture appeared to provide some promising therapeutic benefits in assisting women to have a normal vaginal birth. A further randomized controlled study is warranted.