Incompleteness of Swedish local clinical guidelines for acupuncture treatment during childbirth

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2011 Jan;90(1):77-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.2010.01027.x. Epub 2010 Nov 26.


Objective: To investigate the presence and content of local clinical guidelines for acupuncture treatment in Swedish labor and postnatal wards.

Design: A Swedish national survey.

Main outcome measures: Presence and content of clinical guidelines for acupuncture. Setting. All Swedish labor and postnatal wards at the time of data collection (April 2007-March 2008).

Material and methods: Enquiry was made on local clinical guidelines for acupuncture treatment at 50 labor and 50 postnatal wards. The standards for reporting interventions in controlled trials of acupuncture document was used to identify core aspects of acupuncture treatment and the proportion of wards with guidelines on these aspects was evaluated.

Results: Guidelines were obtained from 27 labor wards and 22 postnatal wards. Descriptions of the core aspects of acupuncture treatment, such as acupuncture rationale, needling details and treatment regimens, were limited in most. All local guidelines included indications for treatment, but these were not based on scientific evidence of effect, and only two mentioned the importance of achieving de-qi - a feeling of soreness reflecting an effective treatment. Few clinical guidelines required that the practitioners' acupuncture education should be on an academic level and relevant references based on clinical trials were lacking in all guidelines.

Conclusion: Swedish local clinical guidelines on acupuncture for childbirth-related symptoms lack sufficient information to support midwives and obstetricians in administering acupuncture treatment. The content of the guidelines was unclear, inconclusive and, in some cases, irrelevant, and a majority lacked important information on indications and technique.

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Labor Pain / therapy*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / therapy*
  • Patient Selection
  • Postnatal Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sweden