Pregnancy Studies and Resources

Acupuncture Reduces Morning Sickness. An Australian study reported that of 593 women less than 14 weeks pregnant, those who received traditional acupuncture treatments reported having less frequent and shorter periods of nausea than the women who received no acupuncture treatments, according to Pregnancy Today.  These improvements were felt immediately and lasted throughout the study’s four-week duration.

Acupuncture a Viable Treatment for Depression During Pregnancy.  A total of 150 pregnant women who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) criteria for major depressive disorder were randomized to receive either acupuncture specific for depression or one of two active controls: control acupuncture or massage.  The short acupuncture protocol demonstrated symptom reduction and a response rate comparable to those observed in standard depression treatments of similar length and could be a viable treatment option for depression during pregnancy. (Obstetrics & Gynecology.  VOL. 115, NO. 3, MARCH 2010)

A Stanford University study did show that women who responded to acupuncture treatment reported significantly less depression at 10 weeks postpartum.  Overall, 69 percent of the women responded to the acupuncture specific for depression, a rate comparable to the 50 percent to 70 percent response rates in clinical trials of standard depression treatments.  The study concluded that acupuncture holds promise as a safe and effective treatment of depression during pregnancy.

Acupuncture Can Turn Breech Baby. Moxabustion, a type of acupuncture, was applied to 130 pregnant women with breech presentations. Moxabustion significantly increased the number of headfirst births, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Acupuncture During Labour Reduces Need for Analgesics. Swedish researchers say women who receive acupuncture during labour may be less likely to ask for an epidural to relieve their pain than those who go without the ancient Chinese treatment. The researchers, from Orebro University Hospital, found that there were no negative effects on women who received acupuncture in these circumstances. The research is reported in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. (Reuters 25/07/02).

First-time mothers who have their labor induced may face a greater risk of needing a cesarean section. In a study of 7,800 first-time mothers who gave birth at one U.S. medical center, researchers found that those who had their labor induced were twice as likely to ultimately need a C-section.  (Obstetrics & Gynecology, July 2010, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp35-42)

Acupuncture Facilitates Natural Birth. A study randomized 200 women with spontaneous rupture of membranes at term to either acupuncture or no acupuncture.  Treatment was individualized on the basis of traditional Chinese medical diagnosis and used three points per patient from a pool of nine possible choices.  Treatment principles applied were to increase energy, soften the cervix and open the Conception vessel.  Although time from membrane rupture to delivery did not differ significantly between the groups, length of active labour was significantly reduced in the acupuncture group.  In addition, significantly fewer patients in the acupuncture group required oxytocin for longer than two hours.  Medical induction of labour was eventually necessary in 15 acupuncture patients and 20 controls.  When induction was carried, women assigned to acupuncture completed the active phase of labour in half the time compared to controls, a statistically significant difference.  ( Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(11):1348-53).

Acupuncture and exercise can help relieve pelvic pain during pregnancy, Swedish researchers said. on Friday. One in three women suffer potentially severe and disabling pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. Now a Swedish study has demonstrated that acupuncture is more effective than either standard or specialized exercises in relieving the pain.

Acupuncture is Used for Pregnancy Depression. Pharmaceutical medication is largely unsuitable for depression during pregnancy. Acupuncture is a safe and effective method for treating depression.

Acupuncture works in conjunction with modern medicine. There is sufficient evidence to acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and treatment of female infertility, and to encourage further studies of its underlying mechanisms as well as to establish its clinical value.

Chinese herbs improve pregnancy rates in women with unexplained infertility. Fifty women with the Western medical diagnosis of unexplained infertility were treated with Chinese herbal medicine. On their previous menstral cycle, no pregnancies occured. Following herbal treatment, 28 of the 50 women became pregnant with 11 live births and 7 miscarriages. Chinese herbal medicine results in higher success rates of pregnancy, with no patient side-effects and a reduction in the category of patients conventionally classified as having unexplained infertility.

Cortisol levels and very early pregnancy loss in humans. A recent study demonstrates that during the first three weeks of pregnancy women with high cortisol levels (cortisol is a hormone responsible for several stress related activities in the body) are nearly three times more likely to miscarry than women with normal levels of cortisol.

Electro-acupuncture reduces high uterine artery blood flow impedance. Electro acupuncture can reduce high uterine artery blood flow impedance, thereby creating more favorable conditions for IVF implantation success.

Hand surface temperature (HST) may predict efficacy of acupuncture for ovulation induction. This study suggests that measuring hand surface temperature (HST) may provide a rough but simple method for predicting the effect of electro-acupuncture (EA) on ovulation induction. The relationship of ovulation and HST in normal women is different from that in anovulatory patients. Thus, in anovulatory cases, the hyperactive sympathetic system can be depressed by EA and the function of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis can be regulated by EA via central sympathetic system. This might be another possible mechanism of EA ovulation induction. Another mechanism might be that EA may promote the release of ß-E in the brain and reduce LH-RH secretion from hypothalamus. Therefore, the blood LH content released from the pituitary is decreased, leading to ovulation.