Acupuncture/ pressurePregnancy

Acupuncture to induce labor in pregnant women

Researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill studied the effectiveness of acupuncture to induce labor.

First, the details.

  • 89 women, at least 38 weeks pregnant, were randomly assigned to traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or usual care.
  • None of the women were pregnant before (nullparous).
  • Maternal age; gestational age; prior acupuncture experience; tobacco, alcohol and drug use; and history of gynecological surgery were similar among the groups.
  • Acupuncture points LI4, SP6, BL32, and BL54 were needled bilaterally.

And, the results.

  • There were no statistically significant differences among groups for time from study enrollment to delivery, rates of spontaneous labor, or rates of cesarean delivery.
  • Rates of maternal and neonatal outcomes were not significantly different.

The bottom line?
Acupuncture had no measurable effect on these women.

In the past year, several studies on this topic have been published.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, in Australia studied 364 women and also concluded, acupuncture had no effect on induction methods or duration of labor. Another negative study was reported by researchers in Norway.

However, 2 other studies published in 2008 support the value of acupuncture to initiation of labor, here and here.

6/16/09 20:08 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.