Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation at acupuncture points in the induction of uterine contractions

Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Feb;73(2):286-90.


The effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical stimulation at acupuncture points for increasing uterine contractions in 20 post-dates pregnant women was assessed in a controlled study. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a treatment condition, consisting of the application via surface electrodes of a 30-Hz current to the points "spleen 6" (lower leg) and "liver 3" (foot), or a placebo condition, in which the equipment was attached but not activated. The frequency and strength of uterine contractions were monitored for 1 hour prior to stimulation and then for the final 2 hours of a 4-hour test period. A significant increase in frequency and strength of uterine contractions was found in the electrically stimulated women compared with the placebo-group women. The possible physiologic mechanisms underlying this effect, and its implication for labor induction, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Induced / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Prolonged*
  • Random Allocation
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*
  • Uterine Contraction