Pregnant women who are at the end are often looking for anything that will help speed along the process and kick-start labor. Tips from eating spicy food, castor oil, and acupuncture are often passed around as ways to get labor going. According to a new study though, acupuncture really does not help.
Dr. Niels Uldbjerg, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, lead the study involving 125 pregnant women who were near their due dates. The women were randomly selected to receive acupuncture treatments, a ‘sham’ version of acupuncture, or none at all. The researchers then waited to see who would actually go into labor.
Only 12 percent of the women that had two acupuncture sessions went into labor within the next 24 hours. The women who had fake acupuncture had a 14 percent labor rate within the next 24 hours. The numbers are less than exciting.
Between 5 and 10 percent of women have pregnancies that go beyond an estimated 41 weeks. Because longer pregnancies may raise some risks in some women, most doctors will schedule an induction or cesarean section for women who show no signs of labor. Many pregnant women, however, begin looking for safe induction methods to end the annoyances of pregnancy in the last few days. Pain, exhaustion, uncomfortableness, and other issues can make a woman begin looking for tried and true induction methods.
Acupuncture is believed to work by stimulating the nervous system of the pregnant woman. This in turn would cause the uterus to begin contracting. From this study, however, it seems that acupuncture does not work as well as believed. – Summer, staff writer
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