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Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Online ISSN 1827-1812
Palermo P. 1, Di Stanislao C. 2, Patacchiola F. 1, Di Stefano L. 1, Coppola G. 1, Mascaretti G. 1
1 Clinica Ostetrica e Ginecologica, Università degli Studi di L’Aquila, Ospedale Civile S. Salvatore, L’Aquila;
2 Divisione Ospedaliera di Dermatologia, Ospedale Civile S. Salvatore, L’Aquila
The study considers the use of acupuncture to induce labour and provide pain relief, and indicates a possible protocol. Acupuncture offers many therapeutic possibilities in the gynaecological and obstetric fields. The principal use is based on acupuncture’s ability to control pain. One of the most-studied aspects concerns pain relief during labour. At today’s state of knowledge, the accepted effects of acupuncture during labour may be summed up in 4 points: action on pain and anxiety; action on the duration and nature of labour; action on the myometrial contractility and on the neck of the uterus; consequent positive effect on well-being of mother and foetus. The pain relief produced by acupuncture is achieved by raising the pain threshold, with improved uterine perfusion and modified contractile activity. The treatment causes less frequent and sometimes irregular contractions, which are therefore less painful. Since each woman is different and therefore each pregnancy and each delivery is different, even differing from the same woman’s previous experiences, it is practically impossible to establish a behaviour protocol that is repeatable in every obstetric situation. Despite this, after having evaluated the potential risk, guidelines must be drawn up that determine clinical conduct with regard to the use of acupuncture to induce labour, and that ensure a good degree of overall success. A preliminary and absolute selection excludes all women with a medical history concerning the previous pregnancy that is positive for CT or for the use of forceps. It is also absolutely essential to make a precise evaluation, on the basis of clinical and/or instrumental data, taking into account any factors that increase the risk to mother and/or foetus-neonate, which must direct the clinician towards different and consolidated choices.