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    Acupressure as labor induction technique?


    Acupressure and sham acupressure were performed twice daily (between 9 AM and 11 AM and again between 3 PM and 5 PM); the morning treatment was performed by the researcher on the first day and every other day thereafter while the remaining treatments were performed at home.

    The spots used in the acupressure group were bladder 32, spleen 6, and bladder 60. Each active and sham session lasted 30 minutes with each spot pressed 5 times for 1 minute with a 1-minute rest interval between pressure applications. Labor was induced pharmacologically if it was not initiated by 41 weeks of pregnancy.

    There were no statistically significant differences between the 3 study groups in mean maternal age, gestational age, pre-pregnancy BMI, or Bishop score. The 3 groups were also similar with respect to level of education, profession, prenatal care, and participation in childbirth preparation classes.

    Rates of spontaneous labor within 48 hours of intervention initiation in the acupressure, sham acupressure, and standard care groups were 30%, 20%, and 22%, respectively, (P = 0.464). There were also no statistically significant differences between the 3 groups for rates of spontaneous labor initiation at 49-96 hours (14%, 34%, 24%, respectively) or at 97 hours to time of hospitalization (56%, 56%, 60%, respectively). Mean time to birth in the three groups was 124.88, 135.39, and 114.16 hours, respectively (P = 0.565).

    Proportions of women delivering by a normal vaginal birth or having a cesarean delivery were also similar in the 3 study groups, as were mean Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes and mean fetal weight.

    The investigators noted that a previously published study evaluating acupressure for initiating labor in term pregnant women found it had a significant benefit compared with touch intervention and usual care for initiating labor within 48 hours.2 The earlier study involved a shorter acupressure intervention period and enrolled multiparous as well as nulliparous women who were also at a later gestational age (≥40 weeks).



    1. Torkzahrani S, Mahmoudikohani F, Saatchi K, Sefidkar R, Banaei M. The effect of acupressure on the initiation of labor: A randomized controlled trial. Women Birth. 2016 July 18 [Epub ahead of print].

    2. Azhari S, Abrishami L, Fadaee A, Shakeri MT. Efficacy of acupressure on initiating labor in term pregnant women. J Mashad School Nurs Midw. 2009;9(3):207-214.


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