Comparing the impact of acupuncture and pethidine on reducing labor pain


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical School, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Generally 50 to 70 percent of women suffer from a severe and unbearable pain during their childbirth. Abnormal fetal heart patterns, an increase of caesarian delivery rate, prolonged labor and low APGAR score in newborn are some of adverse effects of labor pain. Disagreement between different studies regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of acupuncture on labor pain led us to do this study.
Materials and Methods: This is a clinical trial study. Sampling was done randomly in Esfahan, Shahid Beheshti Hospital, based on the subjects' characteristics. Patients were classified into three groups of control, Pethidine and acupuncture (27-30 women in each group). All women with a first and second pregnancy.VAS pain ruler was used as data collection tool. Data were analyzed in SPSS software, and using ANOVA and kruskal-Wallis tests.
Results: The average pain score in control group 30 min after intervention was 7.80, while in Pethidine and acupuncture groups respectively were 6.87 and 5.77. Kruskal-Walis test showed that three groups in pain severity had significant difference at this time. The average length of the active phase of labor in Pethidine and acupuncture groups was 175 min while this time in control group was 243 min that ANOVA test showed a significant difference (P = 0.000).
Conclusion: Results showed that acupuncture can significantly reduce labor pain in 30 min after intervention, while it had no effect on labor pain at full dilatation. However, both in Pethidine and acupuncture groups, the length of the active phase has been considerably shortened.


Melzack R. Labour pain as a model of acute pain. Pain 1993;53:117-20.  Back to cited text no. 1
Mackey MC. Women's preparation for the childbirth experience. Matern Child Nurs J 1990;19:143-73.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bonica JJ. The pain of child birth. 3 rd ed. Edinburg: Churchill Livingstone; 1994.  Back to cited text no. 3
Wall PD, Melzack R. Textbook of pain. 4 th ed. Edinburg: Churchill Livingstone; 1994.  Back to cited text no. 4
Roghaei MA, Ghahiry A. Complementary therapies for pregnancy and childbirth. Kankash: Bailliere Tindall; 1992.  Back to cited text no. 5
Beischer NA, Mackay EV. Obstetrics and newborn. 3 rd ed. Baltimor: Sandurers Company; 1995.  Back to cited text no. 6
Nesheim BI, Kinge R, Berg B, Alfredsson B, Allgot E, Hove G, et al. Acupuncture during labor can reduce the use of meperidine: A controlled clinical study. Clin J Pain 2003;19:187-91.  Back to cited text no. 7
Winer N. Different methods for the induction of labour in postterm pregnancy. J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris) 2011;40:796-811.  Back to cited text no. 8
Marra C, Pozzi I, Ceppi L, Sicuri M, Veneziano F, Regalia AL. Wrist-ankle acupuncture as perineal pain relief after mediolateral episiotomy: A pilot study. J Altern Complement Med 2011;17:239-41.  Back to cited text no. 9
Hjelmstedt A, Shenoy ST, Stener-Victorin E, Lekander M, Bhat M, Balakumaran L, et al. Acupressure to reduce labor pain: A randomized controlled trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2010;89:1453-9.  Back to cited text no. 10
Helmseresht E. Maternal and neonatal health. Tehran, Iran: Chehr publication; 1994.  Back to cited text no. 11
Cui JM, Yang XX, Jin ZH, Ma SX, Dong LH, Li Q. Effect of acupoint Sanyinjiao (SP6) moxibustion on the first stage of labor and uterine contractive pain in primiparae. Chin J Integr Med 2011;17:464-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
Ma W, Bai W, Lin C, Zhou P, Xia L, Zhao C, et al. Effects of Sanyinjiao (SP6) with electroacupuncture on labour pain in women during labour. Complement Ther Med 2011;19(Suppl 1):S13-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
Ma SX, Wu FW, Cui JM, Jin ZH, Kong LJ. Effect on moxibustion at Sanyinjiao (SP 6) for uterine contraction pain in labor: A randomized controlled trial. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2010;30:623-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
Ma WZ, Zhou PJ, Zhang Y, Yuan Y, Wu Y, Zhao CH, et al. Clinical observation on the effect of electroacupuncture of Sanyinjiao (SP 6) on labor. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 2010;35:217-21.  Back to cited text no. 15
May AE, Elton CD. The effects of pain and its management on mother and fetus. Baillieres Clin Obstet Gynaecol 1998 Sep; 12:423-41.  Back to cited text no. 16
Kennel J, Klaus M, MCGrath S, Robertson S, Hinkley C. Continuous emotional support during labor in a U.S. hospital: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 1991;265:2197-201.  Back to cited text no. 17
Zeisler H, Tempfer C, Mayerhofer K, Barrada M, Husslein P. Influence of acupuncture on duration of labor. Gynecol Obstet Invest 1998;46:22-5.  Back to cited text no. 18
Ramnerö A, Hanson U, Kihlgren M. Acupuncture treatment during labour - A randomised controlled trial. BJOG 2002;109:637-44.  Back to cited text no. 19
Lowdermilk DL. Maternity nursing. 6 th ed. Mosby: Missouri; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 20
Eappen S, Robbins D. Non pharmacological means of pain relief for labor and delivery. Int Anesthesiol Clin 2002;40:103-14.  Back to cited text no. 21
Lyrenäs S, Lutsch H, Hetta J, Nyberg F, Willdeck-Lundh G, Lindberg B. Acupuncture before delivery: Effect on pain perception and the need for analgesics. Gynecol Obstet Invest 1990;29:118-24.  Back to cited text no. 22
Scott JS. Obstetric analgesia. A consideration of labor pain and a patient-controlled technique for its relief with meperidine. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1970;106:959-78.  Back to cited text no. 23