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Category Archives: Pregnancy
Researchers in the Department of Nursing at the Federal University of Ceará, Brazil have found that a course of acupuncture offers significant analgesic effects for women experiencing lower back pain in pregnancy. A total of 56 women between 14 and 37 weeks pregnant, and mean age 25, were given up to six acupuncture sessions. Pain scores showed a statistically significant reduction in lower back pain as early as the second session, with further gradual improvements following. The women also reported improvements in relaxation, stress, sleep and anxiety. The researchers concluded that acupuncture “has the potential to promote health in a pleasant, simple, convenient, practical, risk-free and cost-effective manner”.
(Acupuncture treatment: multidimensional assessment of low back pain in pregnant women. Revista da Escola Enfermagem da USP, 11 June 2018.)
Researchers from the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at the University of Modena in Italy, have found that acupuncture given regularly from full term, may be effective in reducing the rates of labour induction performed for women whose pregnancies are running on significantly past their due dates. A total of 375 women at 40 weeks gestation received either acupuncture or routine care. Acupuncture was given on alternate days from 40 weeks plus 2 days, up until 41 weeks plus 4 days. Acupuncture points were chosen from those traditionally indicated to enhance uterine activity, ripen the cervix, relax the muscles and reduce anxiety.
Compared with the control group, women who received acupuncture: experienced a higher rate of spontaneous delivery (75% versus 53%); delivered on average two days earlier; had lower rates of labour induction (20% versus 38%); needed less oxytocin to strengthen their contractions; had lower rates of operative delivery (6% versus 11%). The researchers point out the significance of the reduced demand for oxytocin, in the context of a recent study suggesting adverse effects of oxytocin on birth outcomes.
(Acupuncture in Postdate Pregnancy Management. Journal of Acupuncture & Meridian Studies, October 2018.)
A study on acupuncture for pain in pregnancy undertaken at a New Zealand hospital, shows a clinically meaningful symptom reduction in women with lower back and pelvic pain. The observational study looked at data on 81 women with lumbopelvic pain, who received traditional Chinese acupuncture weekly. In all, 89% of patients reported a clinically meaningful symptom reduction following treatment.
The authors conclude that this study supports existing clinical trial results indicating the benefits of acupuncture in reducing symptoms. The nature and extent of adverse events were consistent with those found in reviews whose authors have concluded that acupuncture in pregnancy is safe overall. Tailoring the treatment to the concerns of pregnancy may help clinicians feel more confident in acupuncture as a safe and effective treatment.
(Treating Pain in Pregnancy with Acupuncture: Observational Study Results from a Free Clinic in New Zealand. Journal of Acupuncture & Meridian Studies, February 2018.)
Acupressure at the point sanyinjiao or SP-6, just above the ankle, decreases maternal anxiety and analgesic consumption during labour, Iranian researchers have found. A total of 131 women in labour at Maryam Hospital, Tehran were randomly allocated to receive acupressure, touch applied as a control, or routine care. Within 30 minutes of starting the intervention, mean anxiety in the acupressure group was significantly less than both control groups, and it remained so 30 minutes after finishing the intervention. Sedative and analgesic consumption was also significantly lower in the acupressure group compared with the control groups.
The researchers conclude that acupressure at SP-6 could be considered an alternative method to decrease maternal anxiety and use of sedative and analgesics, especially pethidine.
(The Effect of Acupressure at Spleen 6 Acupuncture Point on the Anxiety Level and Sedative and Analgesics Consumption of Women during Labor: A Randomized Single-blind Clinical Trial. Iranian Journal of Nursing & Midwifery Research, March – April 2018.)
Researchers in Australia studying acupuncture for depression in pregnancy, report that it could be a valuable and supportive intervention. In a small study, eight women took part in a pragmatic, randomised, controlled trial and were subsequently interviewed about their experiences. They reported that conventional treatments had been inadequate or unsatisfactory, or were now unacceptable in pregnancy. They experienced not only symptom relief, but also described benefits from acupuncture which enabled them to better manage their lives and the changes brought about by pregnancy.
(Women’s experiences of having depression during pregnancy & receiving acupuncture treatment – A qualitative study. Women & Birth – Journal of the Australian College of Midwives, 15 November 2017.)