A review of three studies has found that acupuncture is effective at relieving the pain of labour. In the first study . . . , women who received acupuncture requested significantly less pain relieving medical intervention, including Demerol and epidurals. In the second, women receiving acupuncture also needed significantly fewer epidurals as well as significantly less non-medical pain intervention. In the third study, acupuncture was compared to placebo acupuncture, in which needles were inserted in non-acupuncture points. The acupuncture group experienced significantly less pain during labour. There were no adverse effects from acupuncture in any of the three studies. Given the potential side effects of drugs and epidurals and the efficacy and safety of acupuncture, acupuncture may be an important aid to women giving birth.

  • American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2004;191:1573-9)

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