Acupuncture/ pressureK. SPECIAL GROUPSPregnancy

Acupuncture does not reduce the active phase of labor in pregnant women

The women liked the treatment, but it didn’t speed labor.

First, the details.

  • 106 nulliparous (never given birth) women with prelabor rupture of membranes were assigned to get acupuncture or to a control group.
  • The objective was to measure the time from prelabor rupture of membranes to the onset of the active phase of labor, and the rate of inductions if labor was absent after 2 days.
  • The women’s reported wellbeing using a visual analogue scale (VAS).

And, the results.

  • There was no difference between groups in the time from prelabor rupture of membranes to the active phase.
  • There was no difference in the need for induction.
  • There was no difference in self-reported wellbeing.
  • But women receiving acupuncture considered their treatment to be significantly more positive than the controls.
  • No adverse effects were reported.

The bottom line?
The authors, who are from Trondheim University Hospital in Norway concluded that although there was no change in wellbeing as a result of acupuncture, “it was considered positive to receive this kind of treatment while waiting for labor to begin.”

It seems like a cumbersome placebo. There might be a role for acupuncture in pregnancy, but not based on this study.

1/13/08 17:19 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.