New research demonstrates that acupuncture is safe and effective for reducing the time needed to deliver a baby. Researchers from the China Meitan General Hospital conclude, “EA (electroacupuncture) at Sanyinjiao (acupoint SP6) can shorten the duration of the active phase of the 1st labor stage.” In addition, they conclude that electroacupuncture is safe for both the expectant mother and the baby.
A random single-blind method was used in the clinical investigation. A total of 111 women were divided into three groups: non-treatment group, electroacupuncture at SP6 group, sham acupuncture group. The sham acupuncture group received stimulation at SP6 with an acupuncture needle guide tube and an acupuncture needle remained at the acupoint using an adhesive plaster.
Blood pressure and heart rate for both the mothers and the babies were recorded during labor. No statistical differences in blood pressure or heart rates were demonstrated. In addition, no additional bleeding after labor occurred in the electroacupuncture group. Electroacupuncture shortened both the active phase and the latent phase of the first stage of labor. As a result, the researchers conclude that acupuncture is a safe and effective method for shortening the duration of the first stage of labor.
Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 May;32(5):409-12. Clinical observation of the impacts and safety of electroacupuncture at Sanyinjiao (SP 6) on labor]. Liu YL, Jin ZG. Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Meitan General Hospital, Beijing, China. Article in Chinese.