Elizabeth Soliday;Patrice Hapke;Washington State University Vancouver;Bastyr University;


Washington State University Vancouver;Bastyr University;


Objective: To describe characteristics of and treatment effects in U.S.women who had acupuncture for labor preparation(cervical ripening).Although acupuncture is increasingly used in the U.S., few observational studies of acupuncture patients have been conducted.With particular consideration for vulnerable populations, we focusedthis preliminary inquiry on pregnant women.Design: Observational study surveyed background characteristics, birth variables(setting, interventions), and treatment satisfaction among former clinic patients treated in pregnancy.The response rate was 51.3% and yielded 66 participants treated for labor preparation.Intervention: Acupuncture points were selected according to traditional Chinese medicine(TCM) system of diagnosis and pattern differentiation and on modified version of Roemer's Scheme(Mannheim Model; Roemer, 2005).Results: Patients were in their mid-30s, educated, and most were white.They underwent a mean of 2.2(SD=1.0; range 1-4) treatments beginning in pregnancy week 37.Seventeen(25.8%) planned out-of-hospital birth.Hospital birthing mothers' birth intervention rates were lower than those reported in national surveys, with a medical induction rate of 13.6% compared to 34% in Decercq et al(2006) and an episiotomy rate of 4.6% compared to 25% in Declercq et al.An 18.2% labored cesarean rate was comparable to the national data(Menacker & Hamilton, 2010).No out-of-hospital births transferred to hospital, but one(5.88%) required labor stimulation(suppository).Treatment satisfaction ranged from high to very high.Conclusion: This preliminary study of a U.S.acupuncture clinic sample suggests benefits in terms of reducing certain birth interventions, and patients found acupuncture care and effects to be satisfactory.Our high percentage of home birth indicates a need to address treatment effects and overall safety in this subgroup.


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