East West Acupuncture

East West Acupuncture

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Besides treating nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy (see Nausea, Vomiting), acupuncture has been shown to be effective for lower back and pelvic pain during pregnancy, as well as labor pain, induction of labor, post-partum dysuria and insufficient lactation. Moxibustion (a form of acupuncture using heat stimulation of acupoints) can also help correct breech presentation.




Wedenberg K, Moen B, Norling A. A prospective randomized study comparing acupuncture with physiotherapy for low-back and pelvic pain in pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2000 May;79(5):331-5. CONCLUSIONS: “Acupuncture relieved pain and diminished disability in low-back pain during pregnancy better than physiotherapy.”

Skilnand E, Fossen D, Heiberg E. Acupuncture in the management of pain in labor. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2002 Oct;81(10):943-8. RESULTS: “There were significantly lower mean pain scores and significantly less need for pharmacological analgesia in the study group compared with the control group. The women given real acupuncture spent less time in active labor and needed less augmentation than the control group.”

Ramnero A, Hanson U, Kihlgren M. Acupuncture treatment during labour--a randomised controlled trial. BJOG 2002 Jun;109(6):637-44. RESULTS: “Acupuncture treatment during labour significantly reduced the need of epidural analgesia (12% vs 22%, relative risk [RR] 0.52, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.30 to 0.92). Parturients who received acupuncture assessed a significantly better degree of relaxation compared with the control group (mean difference -0.93, 95% CI -1.66 to -0.20). No negative effects of acupuncture given during labour were found in relation to delivery outcome.”

Thomas CT, Napolitano PG. Use of acupuncture for managing chronic pelvic pain in pregnancy. A case report. J Reprod Med 2000 Nov;45(11):944-6. CASE: “Chronic pelvic pain in a 23 year-old primigravida at 27 weeks’ gestation was incapacitating on narcotics. After organic causes were ruled out, acupuncture was employed successfully. Outpatient management for the duration of the pregnancy included acupuncture and narcotics for breakthrough pain while maintaining activities of daily living. Spontaneous vaginal delivery without complications at 38 5/7 weeks produced a 3,305-g female infant. The pain resolved immediately following delivery.”

Ternov K, Nilsson M, Lofberg L, Algotsson L, Akeson J. Acupuncture for pain relief during childbirth. Acupunct Electrother Res 1998;23(1):19-26. RESULTS: “52 women (58%) in the acupuncture group and 13 (14%) in the control group managed their deliveries without further pain treatment (p < 0.001). Acupuncture reduces the need for other methods of analgesia in childbirth.” 90 subjects.

Jin Y, Wu L, Xia Y. Clinical study on painless labor under drugs combined with acupuncture analgesia. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 1996;21(3):9-17. CONCLUSIONS: “The combination of drugs with acupuncture is an excellent method for painless labor without any complications and all the mothers and babies are safety. The effectiveness is 97.5%.”

Pei DE, Huang YL. Use of acupuncture analgesia during childbirth. J Tradit Chin Med 1985 Dec;5(4):253-5

Nilsson M. Acupuncture for analgesia during childbirth. Jordemodern 1993 Jul-Aug;106(7-8):246-7


Rabl M, Ahner R, Bitschnau M, Zeisler H, Husslein P. Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labor at term--a randomized controlled trial. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2001 Dec 17;113(23-24):942-6. CONCLUSION: “Acupuncture at points LI4 and SP 6 supports cervical ripening at term and can shorten the time interval between the estimated date of confinement (EDC) and the actual time of delivery.”

Zeisler H, Tempfer C, Mayerhofer K, Barrada M, Husslein P. Influence of acupuncture on duration of labor. Gynecol Obstet Invest 1998;46(1):22-5 CONCLUSIONS: “Our study suggests that AP treatment is a recommendable form of childbirth preparation due to its positive effect on the duration of labor, namely by shortening the first stage of labor.”

Tremeau ML, Fontanie-Ravier P, Teurnier F, Demouzon J. Protocol of cervical maturation by acupuncture. J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris) 1992;21(4):375-80 CONCLUSIONS: “This protocol showed that it was possible to improve cervical maturation if acupuncture sessions were carried out at the beginning of the 9th month” 98 patients.

Aleksandrina EV, Zharkin AF, Gavrilova AS. The acupuncture prevention of anomalies in labor strength in pregnant women of a risk group. Akush Ginekol (Mosk) 1992;(8-12):22-4. CONCLUSIONS: “The course of spontaneous labor was normal and blood loss was significantly lower than in patients not administered acupuncture.”

Malkov IaIu, Biserova NN. Uterine contractile activity in parturients of a group at risk for prolonged pregnancy prepared for labor by acupuncture reflexotherapy. Akush Ginekol (Mosk) 1989 Nov;(11):30-4. RESULTS: “Acupuncture favored term labor in the pregnant females, the pattern of uterine contractility showed no changes during the delivery.”

Dunn PA, Rogers D, Halford K. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation at acupuncture points in the induction of uterine contractions. Obstet Gynecol 1989 Feb;73(2):286-90. RESULTS: “A significant increase in frequency and strength of uterine contractions was found in the electrically stimulated women compared with the placebo-group women.” 20 subjects.

Shang LF, Liu JY, Li AX. Puncture of the Hegu acupoint to accelerate the second stage of labor and to reduce postpartum hemorrhage. Zhonghua Hu Li Za Zhi 1995 Sep 5;30(9):537-8

Stambolov B, Tsekova Z, Abadzhiev S.. Labor induction by acupuncture in prolonged pregnancy. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia) 1986;25(1):29-33

Fouques Duparc V, Herlicoviez M, Levy G. The induction of labour by acupunctural electrostimulation. A new technique and one that is thirty centuries old; a preliminary study. J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris) 1979;8(8):755-60. RESULTS: “Ten patients had their labours induced by acupunctural electrostimulation. This method was successful in starting labour each time.”

Tsuei JJ, Lai Y, Sharma SD. The influence of acupuncture stimulation during pregnancy: the induction and inhibition of labor. Obstet Gynecol 1977 Oct;50(4):479-8. CONCLUSIONS: “Based on these clinical observations, electroacupuncture may become a useful tool in controlling labor.”

Yip SK, Pang JC, Sung ML. Induction of labor by acupuncture electro-stimulation. Am J Chin Med 1976 Autumn;4(3):257-65. RESULTS: “Induction of labor by acupuncture electro-stimulation was carried out in 31 patients. This was successful in 21 cases.”


Cardini F, Weixin H. Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1580-4. CONCLUSION: “Among primigravidas with breech presentation during the 33rd week of gestation, moxibustion for 1 to 2 weeks increased fetal activity during the treatment period and cephalic presentation after the treatment period and at delivery.”

Kanakura Y, Kometani K, Nagata T, Niwa K, Kamatsuki H, Shinzato Y, Tokunaga Y. Moxibustion treatment of breech presentation. Am J Chin Med 2001;29(1):37-45. RESULTS: “Breech presentation was successfully corrected by stimulating acupuncture points with moxibustion or low-frequency electrical current.”

Li Q, Wang L. Clinical observation on correcting malposition of fetus by electro-acupuncture. J Tradit Chin Med 1996 Dec;16(4):260-2. RESULTS: “Forty-eight cases of malposition of fetus were treated by electro-acupuncture, using Zhiyin (UB 67) points. 39 cases were corrected with a rate of 81.3%, the average session of treatment being 1.41.”

Neri I, Fazzio M, Menghini S, Volpe A, Facchinetti F. Non-stress test changes during acupuncture plus moxibustion on BL67 point in breech presentation. J Soc Gynecol Investig 2002 May-Jun;9(3):158-62. RESULTS: “During true acupuncture a significant reduction in fetal baseline heart rate, and more accelerations and movement were observed. During minimal acupuncture, there were no significant changes in these variables. No signs of fetal distress or changes in short- or long-term variability were noted, and there were no uterine contractions.”

Cai R, Zhou A, Gao H. Study on correction of abnormal fetal position by applying ginger paste at zhihying acupoint A. Report of 133 cases. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 1990;15(2):89-91. RESULTS: “113 out of the treated pregnant women had normal fetal position after treatment with 77.4% of correction rate. 48 out of the 113 pregnant women whose fetal position corrected by treatment only received once therapy, accounting for 42.5% of cured cases. Spontaneous correction of fetal position happened in 123 pregnant women of the control group with 51.6% of correction rate. There was a significant difference in the correction rate between study and control groups. (P less than 0.01).”

Ewies A, Olah K. Moxibustion in breech version--a descriptive review. Acupunct Med 2002 Mar;20(1):26-9 “Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese method of treatment, which utilizes the heat generated by burning herbal preparations containing the plant Artemisia vulgaris to stimulate the acupuncture points. It is used for breech version with a reported success rate of 84.6% after 34 weeks gestation. Moxibustion technique is cheap, safe, simple, self-administered, non-invasive, painless and generally well tolerated. Although many studies give encouraging results regarding the use of moxibustion in inducing cephalic version of breech presentation, a definitive conclusion cannot be made as most involve small sample sizes and are not randomised.”


Hou XJ. 30 cases of postpartum dysuria treated with acupuncture. J Tradit Chin Med 1989 Sep;9(3):186

Yang DL. Acupuncture therapy in 49 cases of postpartum urinary retention. J Tradit Chin Med 1985 Mar;5(1):26


v Brynda, Cerna M.. Influencing lactation by acupuncture. Cesk Gynekol 1986 May;51(4):260-2.

Xie QW, Liu J. Effect of acupuncture on prolactin secretion of lactating rats. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 1986;11(4):303-7

Jenner C, Filshie J. Galactorrhoea following acupuncture. Acupunct Med 2002 Aug;20(2-3):107-8. RESULTS: “She experienced an episode of galactorrhoea six days following the first treatment and during the second treatment. She had not previously lactated for four years. Quantitative analysis has shown an increase in the production of prolactin and oxytocin following acupuncture. These hormones are involved in the synthesis and release of milk from mammary glands respectively.”

Nedkova V, Tanchev S. The possibilities for stimulating lactation. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia) 1995;34(2):17-8. RESULTS: “An increase of the quantity of the secreted mother’s milk and an increase of the serum level of prolactin have been ascertained.” 54 patients.

Sheng PL, Xie QW. Relationship between effect of acupuncture on prolactin secretion and central catecholamine and R-aminobutyric acid. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 1989;14(4):446-51. RESULTS: “This laboratory had reported that acupuncture at “Tan-Zhong” acupoint could stimulate pituitary prolactin (PRL) secretion in both lactating and non-lactating (male, female, ovariectomized estrogen-supplemented) rats. Hu et al had discovered that acupuncture could increase plasma PRL level in women of lactation deficiency.”

Zhang RY, Chen ZQ. Effect of various methods of promoting the secretion of breast milk. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 1987 Feb;7(2):89-90, 69.

Markova H, Marek J, Joza V. The effect of acupuncture on lactation. Cesk Gynekol 1987 Dec;52(10):783-6.

Yao CX. Acupuncture treatment for agalactia. J Tradit Chin Med 1988 Jun;8(2):128.

Fava A, Bongiovanni A, Frassoldati P. Acupuncture therapy of hypogalactia. Minerva Med 1980 Dec 22;71(51):3747-52. CONCLUSION: “The conclusion is drawn that the technique is effective, innocuous and well accepted.”