Acupuncture/ pressurePregnancy

No benefit from acupuncture to induce labor

Acupuncture did not reduce the need for induction methods or the duration of labor in women with a postterm pregnancy.

Postterm pregnancy, also called a prolonged pregnancy, extends beyond 42 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period. As many as 10% of pregnancies are postterm.

First, the details.

  • 364 women were randomly assigned to acupuncture or sham acupuncture.
  • Women with 1 fetus in cephalic presentation (the most usual position to be born) and scheduled for a postterm induction were eligible for the study.
  • 2 acupuncture or sham acupuncture sessions were given over 2 days before the planned medical/pharmacological induction.

And, the results.

  • No difference in the need for induction methods between groups: including prostaglandin induction; artificial rupture of membranes only; oxytocin (Pitocin) only; artificial rupture of membranes plus oxytocin; or prostaglandins, artificial rupture of membranes, and oxytocin.
  • There was no difference in the time from acupuncture to delivery.

The bottom line?
Acupuncture as administered in this study had no effect on induction methods or duration of labor.

11/8/08 20:15 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.