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Acupuncture For Labor Induction: Does it Work?

A new study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that acupuncture doesn’t help induce labor in a post-40 week pregnancy. Acupuncture is sometimes recommended as a natural, non-invasive way to induce labor. But in this study of 125 women who had passed their due dates, acupuncture didn’t get labor going. Half the women were given two sessions of acupuncture post 40 weeks, the other got fake treatments. The real acupuncture set didn’t go into labor any faster than the others.

I have read research supporting acupuncture for induction, this from 2001; in 2003, the World Health Organization listed it as “proved-through controlled trials-to be an effective treatment” for labor induction. Other data show we have insufficient evidence.

In traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture has long been used to help regulate women’s gynecological health. Some women swear up and down that it got labor going for them. And some childbirth educators I know recommend starting acupuncture several weeks before the estimated due date, rather than rushing in for a quick appointment post 40 weeks. This new study didn’t look at the effects of longer term acupuncture treatment.

I once asked an acupuncturist what she thought of inductions via acupuncture and she shrugged and said, “Yeah, sometimes that’s what’s needed, sometimes it’s something else.”

I’ll throw this new research in with all the other info. It seems reasonable to keep acupuncture on the list of non-medical induction techniques that “might get” things going alongside things like walking, sex, and nipple-stimulation. The above video is a helpful guide to DIY labor-inducing acupressure. When you’re waiting for labor to kick in, a really long nice massage with a little acupressure tossed in for good measure… hey, who cares what the studies say?

via MSN and Reuters

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