Acupuncture as a drug-free alternative to pain relief in labour has been called into question.
New analysis of research shows that only 11% of women trialed had any significant pain reduction and this only lasted for half an hour.
Women have used acupuncture drug-free pain relief in labour since the 1970s. “Our analyses show that the effects of acupuncture perceived by women are largely due to placebo,” said Professor Edzard Ernst from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, who co-wrote the report.
Mums-to-be who were treated with acupuncture during labour did require less pain relief medication, but this has been attributed to the belief that the treatment works and their desire to have a drug-free birth.
Acupuncture remains a popular alternative therapy for couples trying to conceive and there has even been evidence that it can help treat depression during pregnancy.