A study undertaken in Spain has shown that acupuncture needling of the point Qihai, which lies just beneath the navel, can shorten the third and final stage of labour – the expulsion of the placenta. A total of 76 women who had been through a normal spontaneous hospital birth, were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture at Qihai, or sham treatment at a non-acupuncture point nearby.
Statistically significant differences were observed between the two groups. The acupuncture group had a mean time to placental expulsion, of 5.2 minutes. The control group had a corresponding time of 15.2 minutes. This has important implications for maternal health, since a prolonged third stage is considered a risk factor for postpartum haemorrhage. The authors say this treatment is simple, safe and inexpensive.
(Influence of acupuncture on the third stage of labor: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, online 17 March 2015.)