Clinic-based acupuncturists, midwives, and physiotherapists have reported using acupuncture to treat lumbopelvic pain in pregnancy, a common condition that may affect functioning and quality of life. To contribute to the emerging evidence on treatment outcomes, we collected patient-reported pain reduction data from women treated during pregnancy in a no-pay, hospital-based acupuncture service in New Zealand.
Observational study of patient-reported symptom reduction.The main outcome measure was the MYMOP (Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile), a brief, validated self-report instrument. Open-ended questions on treatment experiences and adverse events were included.
Of the 81 women on whom we had complete treatment data, the majority (N = 72, 89%) reported clinically meaningful symptom reduction. Patient-reported adverse events were infrequent and mild.
Patient-reported and treatment-related lumbopelvic pain symptom reduction findings provide further evidence that acupuncturein pregnancy is safe and beneficial in a field setting. We discuss this study’s unique contributions in providing guidance for clinicians who practice acupuncture in pregnancy, including midwives, physiotherapists, and physicians.
Treatment approach: Women received weekly treatment based on Traditional Chinese Medicine principles. Clinicians used palpation to identify appropriate points for alleviating discomfort and to provide a calming effect. Point location and needling depths were selected according to a recognized acupuncture pregnancy text . Depending on a patient’s needs, needling and/or cupping (the use of glass cupping jars to create a local suction over muscles in the lower back) may have been used. Points seen as having possible labor stimulating effects [, ] such as LI 4 and BL 60 were not needled. See Table 2 for a list of all points used. Note that treatment was individualized and not all points were used in all cases.