Acupuncture is better than western medicine at treating discomfort in pregnancy and is safe

Objective: To systematically evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in the treatment of pregnancy-related symptoms such as acute vomiting during pregnancy.

Methods: We comprehensively searched the available literature up to November 2021, including PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure Database, for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on acupuncture for the treatment of severe vomiting, insomnia, pharyngeal and pelvic pain, mood abnormalities, and dyspepsia during pregnancy.

Results: Sixteen RCTs with a cumulative sample size of 1178 cases were included. Of these, 964 patients were included in the Meta-analysis. The Meta-analysis results showed that acupuncture was more efficient than Western medicine in treating discomfort during pregnancy [odds ratio (OR) = 1.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.11, 1.28), P < 0.01]. Acupuncture was better than the control group in improving the visual analog scale scores [standard mean difference (SMD) = 0.62, 95% CI(0.53, 0.71), P < 0.01].

Acupuncture was superior to the control group in improving Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) symptom scores [OR = 7.31, 95% CI(3.36, 15.94), P < 0.01]. There was no significant difference in adverse effects between the acupuncture and sham-acupuncture groups and the analgesic drug group [OR = 0.70, 95% CI(0.39, 1.28), P = 0.25], but the treatment and control groups had mild adverse effects with a low incidence.

Conclusions: acupuncture is more effective than other treatments or pharmacotherapy alone in the treatment of pregnancy-related symptoms, and is relatively safe.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38213235/

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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