Researchers in Iran are the latest to demonstrate how acupuncture can be of assistance in labour, by showing its use can lead to a significant shortening of the process. They randomised 63 women who were having their first child, to receive either acupuncture (32 women) at two well-known points for this purpose, or sham acupuncture (31 women) at the same points. The study was conducted at two main childbirth centres in Shiraz.
The duration of labour was found to be significantly lower in the group receiving real acupuncture (162 minutes) compared with the control group (280 minutes). Cortisol and labour pain did not vary significantly between the two groups. The authors point out that shortening the active phase of labour can decrease foetal complications such as low Apgar score, nerve injury, infections, and also maternal complications including puerperal infection and postpartum haemorrhage.
(Effects of LI-4 and SP-6 Acupuncture on Labor Pain, Cortisol Level and Duration of Labor. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, October 2015.)