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Acupuncture in pregnancy

(15 Posts)
naomi79 Tue 21-Jun-11 18:03:43

Anyone know what the say so is on having acupuncture during pregnancy??
Thanks xx

bittersweetvictory Tue 21-Jun-11 19:27:17

Ive just answered a post about acupuncture for sciatica ( which worked for me) but didnt have it during pregnancy but all indications suggest its safe.
some info on here

naomi79 Tue 21-Jun-11 19:38:54

Thanks for that! Really needing it as ache all over smile
Cheers x

DBennett Wed 22-Jun-11 10:20:36

Although I would agree that acupuncture is probably safe during pregnancy (as long as aseptic technique is practiced) I want to point out that it probably doesn't work beyond placebo for any condition.

Lots of people say it has worked for them and there is a lot of mostly poor quality scientific evidence to support it's effectiveness.

But when you have a study which includes good quality "sham acupuncture" the effect almost always disappears.
This suggests acupuncture is no more than a powerful ritual which invokes the placebo effect.

And I hope this effect is sufficient to relieve your aches and pains.

worldgonecrazy Wed 22-Jun-11 10:28:33

I saw an accupuncturist to help with my IVF. I kept it up through pregnancy but he wouldn't use needles, just burnt some stuff on the acupressure points.

When my waters broke early and we had to get baby out quickly if I wanted a natural birth, he used needles again.

cardamomginger Wed 22-Jun-11 11:51:37

I had it during pregnancy at the Whittington hospital. They provide it to help with a variety of "pregnancy problems" including nausea and SPD, as well as to induce labour. So I don't think there's a problem, as long as your accupuncturist is experienced treating pregnant women.

naomi79 Sun 26-Jun-11 09:21:14

all very helpful, thanks x

strawberryjelly Sun 26-Jun-11 14:21:10

DBennett sorry but you are wrong.
Ther e has been a lot of research into acupuncture over the last year or tow and several studies have shown it does work for pain.

strawberryjelly Sun 26-Jun-11 14:23:27

worth reading

DBennett Sun 26-Jun-11 15:50:17


Setting aside the Daily Mail's oft lamented history of poor medical reporting, the fact they they have removed the links about what conditions they feel acupuncture is proven to work for is not helpful.

But that's OK, I'm familiar with the review they're talking about and where it is located.

And if I may quote from the summary, I think it supports what I said earlier.

"There is no evidence for an effect of 'true' acupuncture over sham interventions, though this is difficult to interpret, as exact point location could be of limited importance"

(the latter part of that is a symptom of the mish-mash of theory that is acupuncture, do we use Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Western models. If we try to take into account all of them there's hardly any safe area of skin to use for the fake treatment!)

So, as I said, acupuncture doesn't appear to work any better than fake acupuncture.
It is all placebo.

Whether this means people shouldn't use it, I don't know.
But they should absolutely have that information to guide their choice.

strawberryjelly Sun 26-Jun-11 15:56:21

well, I beg to differ. there was another report not long ago saying it most deffo was useful for muscluar skeletal probs.

DBennett Sun 26-Jun-11 16:44:56

You're very welcome to differ.

But I for one would take your disagreement more seriously if you could be more precise about what report/condition you were referring to.

Was it:

Shoulder pain, mixed and unimpressive results.

Tennis elbow. Mixed results, only benefit found lasted less than 24hrs.

Rheumatoid Arthritis, no benefit.

Peripheral joint osteoarthritis, no benefit beyond placebo.

Lower Back Pain, no effect beyond placebo, no better than standard therapy.

Chronic Neck Pain, small short term benefits beyond placebo, probably not better than massage.

I should point out that Cochrane reviews don't take into account how a therapy might work and are generally a bit more generous to alternatives like acupuncture as a result.

I'd advocate better studies but I've come to the conclusion it won't make any difference to acupuncture proponents.

Just as I don't anticipate this post will have any effect on your view.

strawberryjelly Sun 26-Jun-11 18:06:15

you are fully entitled to have a different opinion.
if you have read alll the stuff around you will see that one of most tricky things is having sham acupuncture as part of a trial- you an't do double blind as for drugs. I do know many very good drs and consultants- including my own- who do think it has its place in treatment.

This is useful reading

There is moderate evidence that for neck pain, acupuncture is more likely to be effective than sham treatment and offers short-term improvement compared to those on a waiting list.[95] This is tentatively supported by a recent review.[12]

There is evidence to support the use of acupuncture to treat headaches that are idiopathic, though the evidence is not conclusive and more studies need to be conducted.[96] Several trials have indicated that migraine patients benefit from acupuncture, although the correct placement of needles seems to be less relevant than is usually thought by acupuncturists. Overall in these trials acupuncture was associated with slightly better outcomes and fewer adverse effects than prophylactic drug treatment.[97]

DBennett Sun 26-Jun-11 19:56:44

It would have been more useful to give us an opportunity to read those references for ourselves by linking to them.

But your paragraphs are from wikipedia and they're referencing the same organisation, the Cochrane Collaboration which I mentioned earlier.

And I'd already referenced the neck one.

If you had gone to the source (here and here then you'd see that in idiopathic headache only 8 of 26 trials showed an effect beyond placebo and I've already quoted from the summary in migraine prophylaxis but as now I get to do it again:

"There is no evidence for an effect of 'true' acupuncture over sham interventions, though this is difficult to interpret, as exact point location could be of limited importance"

And your point about how difficult it is to do sham acupuncture, which I had noted before, would make acupuncture look more effective than it really is.

naomi79 Thu 30-Jun-11 22:20:05

Ummmm didn't mean to start a heated debate, thanks for the links etc, all I wanted to know was that it was safe, maybe we could leave it at that?! wink
Thanks x

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