Acupuncture/ pressureExercisePainPain-BackPregnancy

Acupuncture for pelvic girdle pain in pregnant women

Pelvic girdle pain affects many activities of daily living such as housekeeping, walking, working, and sexual life.

Pregnant women who received acupuncture experienced “some improvement” compared to non-penetrating sham acupuncture in this study from the Sahlgrenska Academy, East Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden.

First, the details.

  • 115 pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of one of the following treatments.
    • Standard treatment plus acupuncture
    • Standard treatment plus non-penetrating sham acupuncture
  • The women had scored at least 50 on a 0 to 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS).

And, the results.

  • In the acupuncture group, pain decreased from 66 to 36 on the VAS.
  • In the non-penetrating acupuncture group, pain decreased from 69 to 41.
    • The difference was not significant.
  • No difference in sick leave from work.
  • The acupuncture group had significantly superior ability to perform daily activities.
  • There was no significant difference in quality of life.
  • There were no differences in the discomfort of pelvic girdle pain and recovery from severity of pelvic girdle pain.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Acupuncture had no significant effect on pain or on the degree of sick leave compared with non-penetrating sham acupuncture. There was some improvement in performing daily activities.”

Another study published earlier this year concluded that irrespective of the treatment given, improvement in pelvic girdle pain occurs in the majority of women within 12 weeks after delivery.

This finding is supported by a study almost a decade ago that reported the incidence of pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy was 14%, and the prevalence 2, 6, and 12 months after delivery was 5%, 4%, and 2%, respectively.

The most important predisposing factor is pelvic pain in a previous pregnancy. Other factors include uncomfortable working conditions, lack of exercise, and previous low back pain and low abdominal pain.

10/26/08 18:57 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.