Prenatal treatment with acupuncture affects prostaglandine serum level in the first stage of labor

H.Zeisler, M. Rabl, S. Feistauer, A. Witt, B. Wiltos, C. Winzer, P. Husslein
University of Vienna, Department of Obstet & Gynecol, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the so far controversially discussed influence of prenatal acupuncture (AP) on the duration of labor and the serum levels of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) at the end of the first stage of labor.

STUDY DESIGN: Fifty-seven women with AP treatment (group A) and vaginal delivery of a singleton at full term were included in our study. The control group (group B) consisted of 63 women. The following parameters were assessed: duration of the first stage of labor, defined as the time interval between 3 cm of cervical dilatation and complete dilatation, duration of the second stage of labor, the use of analgesics (pethidin) during labor, administration of epidural anesthesia, and intravenous application of oxytocin during the first and second stages of labor, the serum levels of PGE2 in group A and B.

RESULTS: Median duration of the first stage of labor was significantly shortened after AP, 196 minutes (group A) vs. 321 minutes (group B) (P < 0.0001). Median duration of the second stage of labor was 57 minutes in both cohorts. Group B received significantly more often oxytocin during the first stage of labor compared with group A (85% and 15%, respectively, P=0.01) as well as during the second stage (72% and 28%, respectively, P=0.03). The use of epidural anesthesia and analgetics was equal in both groups. The median serum levels of PGE2 in group A and in group B were 31.4 (0.07-438) and 6.3 (0.14-32) (P=0.04).

CONCLUSIONS: Shortened first stage of labor in AP-treated women was associated with significantly elevated serum levels of PGE2.

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