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Acupuncture versus subcutaneous injections of sterile water as treatment for labour pain
University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
Univ Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Acad, Inst Neurosci Physiol Endocrinol, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Univ Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Acad, Dept Obstet & Gynecol, Gothenburg, Sweden.
2008 (English)In: Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, ISSN 0001-6349, E-ISSN 1600-0412, Vol. 87, no 2, 171-177 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Two methods for pain relief and relaxation during labour are sterile water injections and acupuncture. In several studies, sterile water injections have been shown to provide good pain relief, particularly for low back pain during labour. The acupuncture studies for pain relief during labour are not as concordant. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore if there were any differences between acupuncture and sterile water injections regarding pain relief and relaxation during labour. METHODS: A randomised controlled trial. Some 128 pregnant women at term were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture (n=62) or sterile water injections (n=66). The primary endpoint was to compare the differences between pre-treatment pain levels and maximum pain in the 2 groups. RESULTS: The main results of this study were that sterile water injections yielded greater pain relief (p<0.001) during childbirth compared to acupuncture. The secondary outcome showed that women in the sterile water group had a higher degree of relaxation (p<0.001) compared to the acupuncture group. The women's own assessment of the effects also favoured sterile water injections (p<0.001). There were no significant differences regarding requirements for additional pain relief after treatment between the 2 groups. CONCLUSIONS: Women given sterile water injection experience less labour pain compared to women given acupuncture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2008. Vol. 87, no 2, 171-177 p.
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Medical sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-2569DOI: 10.1080/00016340701797799ISI: 000252762000006PubMedID: 18231884Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-38649129367OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-2569DiVA: diva2:134519
Available from: 2009-01-21 Created: 2009-01-21 Last updated: 2013-01-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sterile water injections and acupuncture as treatment for labour pain
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sterile water injections and acupuncture as treatment for labour pain
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Most women experience pain during labour. Complementary pain relief methods such as sterile water injections and acupuncture are two alternatives for the child birthing women. The lack of knowledge about the use of these methods in clinical practice creates the need to develop and evaluate them.

Aims and methods: To elucidate whether the new subcutaneous method of administering sterile water, as well as the previously described intracutaneous injection method, were effective for the relief of labour pain. Ninety-nine women in labour were randomized to either intracutaneous- , subcutaneous injections of sterile water or to placebo (Paper I). To investigate if there was any difference in perceived pain between the intracutaneous and subcutaneous techniques during injection of sterile water. One hundred female volunteers were given injections with both techniques in a cross-over trial (Paper II). To elucidate the clinical use of acupuncture and sterile water injections as pain relief and relaxation during childbirth in Swedish delivery wards. Five hundred and sixty-five midwives answered a questionnaire about their use of these methods (Paper III). To elucidate if there were any differences between acupuncture and sterile water injections in terms of pain relief and relaxation during labour. One hundred and twenty-eight pregnant women in childbirth were randomized to either sterile water injections or acupuncture (Paper IV).

Results: Paper I: VAS pain scores were significantly lower in both treatment groups 10 minutes (p=0.001) and 45 minutes (p=0.005) after treatment, compared with the placebo group. Paper II: subcutaneous injections were still perceived as less painful than intracutaneous injections after trial, day and injection location were taken into consideration (p<0.001). Paper III: the midwives’ estimated frequency of administration of acupuncture was much higher than that of sterile water injections, 25 % versus 2 %. The intracutaneous injection technique was more common in clinical practice than the subcutaneous technique. Sterile water injections were used exclusively for pain relief during labour while acupuncture was used for both pain relief and relaxation during labour. Paper IV: women given sterile water injections experience significantly less labour pain and a higher degree of relaxation in labour, compared to women given acupuncture (p<0.001).

Conclusions: The results indicate that the subcutaneous injection technique is preferable when using sterile water injections for low back pain during labour. Sterile water injections seem to provide more pain relief and a higher degree of relaxation, compared to acupuncture. However, acupuncture is a more common pain relief method in clinical practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborgs universitet, 2006. 66 p.
Keyword
Labour pain, pain relief, sterile water injections, acupuncture, survey
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Medical sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-1881 (URN)91-628-6904-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
(English)
Available from: 2008-01-08 Created: 2008-01-08 Last updated: 2013-11-20Bibliographically approved

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