Effect of acupuncture on induction of labour

Chi Eung Danforn Lim, Jennifer Wilkinson, Wu Shun Felix Wong, Nga Chong Lisa Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To review the existing scientific evidence on the potential role of acupuncture on induction of labour during pregnancyDesignThe Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine), NCCAM (The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) databases were searched to identify relevant monographs from 1970 ' 2008. Inclusion Criteria: All available human acupuncture studies on pregnant women carrying a viable foetus due for third trimester induction of labour. Exclusion Criteria: Studies not meeting the inclusion criteria, in languages other than English or animal studies. Results: Ten studies on labour induction were identified. The duration of labour as a result of acupuncture treatment ranged from 10 hours 20 minutes to 29.1 hours. All of the studies demonstrated labour induction by acupuncture treatment. However, as two randomized controlled trial reported that there was no statistically significant effect of acupuncture, these results are more suggestive than definitive. Further, although the relationship between cervical ripening and IL8, PGF2' and ß-endorphin is well documented in the literature, there is no evidence to suggest that acupuncture alters these mediators. Serum levels of IL8, ß-endorphin and PGF2' were not found to be significantly influenced by acupuncture. Conclusion: Although the definitive role of acupuncture in inducing labour is still yet to be established, the existing studies suggest that acupuncture may be beneficial in labour induction. Further randomised clinical trials are needed to investigate this further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1214
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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