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Evaluation of the effectiveness of acupuncture analgesia, combined with spinal epidural anesthesia, on labor pain and outcomes

A study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine has evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture analgesia against spinal-epidural anesthesia on labor pain relief and labor outcomes.

  • Researchers of the study examined the efficacy of acupuncture analgesia for labor pain relief and labor outcomes, in comparison with combined spinal-epidural anesthesia.
  • In conducting the study, the researchers assessed 131 women who were giving birth for the first time.
  • The participants were divided into three groups and received either acupuncture analgesia, combined spinal-epidural anesthesia, or no additional treatment.
  • The researchers then compared the groups regarding visual analog scale scores for abdominal and back pain, as well as labor outcomes.
  • Results revealed that the groups that received acupuncture analgesia and combined spinal-epidural anesthesia had significantly lower abdominal visual analog scale scores compared to the control group. This means that acupuncture analgesia and combined spinal-epidural anesthesia provided more effective pain relief than the control group.
  • Yet, combined spinal-epidural anesthesia was more effective in pain relief than acupuncture analgesia.
  • Meanwhile, the acupuncture analgesia group had shorter labor duration and lesser side effects than the combined spinal-epidural anesthesia group.
  • Furthermore, the rates of oxytocin use, urinary retention, and postpartum hemorrhage were significantly lower in the acupuncture analgesia group in comparison to combined spinal-epidural anesthesia.

In conclusion, the findings of the study indicated that acupuncture analgesia combined with spinal-epidural anesthesia were effective for labor pain relief, while acupuncture analgesia alone is beneficial for labor pain and labor outcomes as it relieves labor pain, shortens duration of labor, and has less side effects.

For the full text of the study, go to this link.

Journal Reference

Lingling W, Xiaohui L, Yuzhu Y, Ling W, Wei Y, Shangrong L, Hongying H. EFFECTIVENESS OF ACUPUNCTURE VERSUS SPINAL-EPIDURAL ANESTHESIA ON LABOR PAIN: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2017; 37(5): 629-635. DOI:

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