Does acupuncture used in nulliparous women reduce time from prelabour rupture of membranes at term to active phase of labour? A randomised controlled trial

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2007;86(12):1447-52. doi: 10.1080/00016340701645287. Epub 2007 Oct 25.


Background: To assess if acupuncture influences the onset of labour and the need for induction after prelabour rupture of membranes (PROM) in nulliparous women. Further, to investigate a possible effect of acupuncture on the woman's wellbeing.

Methods: In a randomised controlled trial (RCT), 106 nulliparous women with PROM were allocated to an acupuncture group (AG) or a control group (CG). The outcome measures were time from PROM to onset of active phase of labour, and rate of inductions if labour was absent after 2 days. The women's self-reported wellbeing was registered on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).

Results: There was no statistically significant difference between the 2 groups regarding time from PROM to active phase (median times in AG versus CG: 15 versus 20.5 h, p=0.34). Additionally, there was no difference between the 2 groups in the need for induction. We found no significant differences in self-reported wellbeing, but the women receiving acupuncture considered their treatment to be more positive than the controls (p=0.003). No adverse effects were reported.

Conclusions: Acupuncture treatment used in nulliparas after PROM showed no significant effect in reducing time to active labour or in reducing rate of inductions. There was no change in wellbeing as a result of acupuncture, but it was considered positive to receive this kind of treatment while waiting for labour to begin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture*
  • Humans
  • Labor Pain / therapy*
  • Labor, Induced*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome