Treating Pain in Pregnancy with Acupuncture: Observational Study Results from a Free Clinic in New Zealand

J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2018 Feb;11(1):25-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2017.11.005. Epub 2018 Feb 1.


Introduction: Clinic-based acupuncturists, midwives, and physiotherapists have reported using acupuncture to treat lumbopelvic pain in pregnancy, a common condition that may affect functioning and quality of life. To contribute to the emerging evidence on treatment outcomes, we collected patient-reported pain reduction data from women treated during pregnancy in a no-pay, hospital-based acupuncture service in New Zealand.

Methods: Observational study of patient-reported symptom reduction.The main outcome measure was the MYMOP (Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile), a brief, validated self-report instrument. Open-ended questions on treatment experiences and adverse events were included.

Results: Of the 81 women on whom we had complete treatment data, the majority (N = 72, 89%) reported clinically meaningful symptom reduction. Patient-reported adverse events were infrequent and mild.

Discussion: Patient-reported and treatment-related lumbopelvic pain symptom reduction findings provide further evidence that acupuncture in pregnancy is safe and beneficial in a field setting. We discuss this study's unique contributions in providing guidance for clinicians who practice acupuncture in pregnancy, including midwives, physiotherapists, and physicians.

Keywords: antepartum care; complementary and alternative therapies; observational studies; pain management.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupuncture Therapy* / methods
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • New Zealand
  • Pain Management
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome