More doubts about acupuncture for labor pain

In the end, the groups showed no differences in the need for pain medication later on in labor. There was also no evidence that acupuncture did any harm to women or their newborns, MacKenzie noted.

Right now, acupuncture is not commonly offered in Western countries as a way to manage labor pain. MacKenzie said he would guess that it is used for less than 5 percent of deliveries in the UK.

And based on this study and past ones, he and his colleagues say, acupuncture cannot be recommended for wider use.

The protocol of acupuncture administration they studied, which is the one that is commonly recommended, “offers little chance of reducing the need for pain-relieving injections or epidural during labor,” MacKenzie said.

SOURCE: BJOG, online January 18, 2011.

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