Background: The objective was to investigate whether acupuncture could be a reasonable option for augmentation in labor after spontaneous rupture of membranes at term and to look for possible effects on the progress of labor.
Methods: In a randomized controlled trial 100 healthy parturients, with spontaneous rupture of membranes at term, were assigned to receive either acupuncture or no acupuncture. The main response variables were the duration of active labor, the amount of oxytocin given, and number of inductions.
Results: Duration of labor was significantly reduced (mean difference 1.7 h, p=0.03) and there was significant reduction in the need for oxytocin infusion to augment labor in the study group compared to the control group (odds ratio 2.0, p=0.018). We also discovered that the participants in the acupuncture group who needed labor induction had a significantly shorter duration of active phase than the ones induced in the control group (mean difference 3.6 h, p=0.002). These findings remained significant also when multiple regression was performed, controlling for potentially confounding factors like parity, epidural analgesia, and birth weight.
Conclusion: Acupuncture may be a good alternative or complement to pharmacological methods in the effort to facilitate birth and provide normal delivery for women with prelabor rupture of membranes.