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.)