Study Design

Subjects Age



Treatment of




Initial Exam

Outcome Measures





Randomized, controlled trial (RCT).

120, 20 to 29 year olds.


Obstetrics and



Han’s EA at JiaJin (TL10-L3) and Ciliao (BL 32), PCIA, PCEA, no analgesia.

30 min., 100 Hz with 2 Hz burst, 15 - 30 mA.

≥3 cm.

APGAR, delivery mode, labor length, fetal weight, oxytocin dose, PPH, 10-point VAS.

None after delivery.

Shorter Stage 2 labor and half the adverse events with EA than PCEA, p = 0.05 and p < 0.05. Compared to no analgesia, EA and PCEA reduced CD rate p < 0.05. Compared to PCIA, EA, PCEA, and no analgesia increased 1-minute APGAR score p < 0.05.



Double-blind RCT.

156, any age.

Public hospital, Sao Paulo State, Brazil.

Sanyinjiao (SP6) acupressure, superficial touch (TG) or no intervention.

5 - 15 kg or 100 g pressure for 20 min. during contractions.

≥4 cm.

APGAR, delivery mode, induction, labor length, membrane status.

None after delivery.

SP6 acupressure reduced average labor duration by 160.4 min., p = 0.0047. SP6 point acupressure did not affect CD rate, 1- and 5-min. APGAR scores, p = 0.2526, p = 0.9542, and p = 0.7218.



RCT of 180, 20 to 35 year old, nulliparas.

Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, China.

Han’s-100B, EA at JiaJin (TL10-L3) or Sanyinjiao (SP6), standard care control.

Begun at onset of active labor

≥3 cm.

APGAR, labor length, oxytocin use, fetal weight, VAS pain scores before intervention, and 30, 60, and 120 min. post intervention.

None after delivery.

EA at TL10-L3 or SP6 reduced pain at 30 min. post intervention (p < 0.01) and reduced active phase labor length (p < 0.05). EA at TL10-L3 resulted in less subsequent pain, measured at 60 and 120 min. post intervention, than EA at SP6, p = 0.02 and p = 0.04. EA at TL10-L3 reduced mean active labor length (33.45 min., p < 0.01) more than EA at SP6 (21.57 min., p = 0.03).



RCT. 97, 18 to 35 year olds.

Esfahan Shahid

Beheshti Hospital, Iran.

Acupuncture at Hegu (LI4) and Zu san li (ST 36 for 20 to 30 min., Pethidine and standard care.

At onset of active labor.

4 to 5 cm.

APGAR, labor length, PPH, VAS scores before intervention, 30 min. post intervention, and at full dilation.

None after delivery.

Acupuncture most effectively reduced pain when measured 30 min. after intervention, p = 0.0001. In comparison to the control, acupuncture and pethidine similarly reduced the mean length of active phase labor by 68 min., p = 0.0001. PPH comparable across groups.




303 nulliparas.

2 Swedish hospitals.

EA or MA, standard care.

40 min. MA or combined EA and MA, repeated in 2 hours, prn.

>3 cm.

APGAR, augmentation, epidural use, delivery mode, labor length, 100 mm VAS line.

Separate reference as below.

EA reduced pain, OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.23 to 4.82. EA least associated with CD (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.14 to 1.26), or labor augmentation (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.36 to 1.28). EA reduced labor by 115 minutes (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.97).




Secondary analyses.

2 Swedish hospitals.

EA or MA, standard care.

40 min. MA or EA and MA, repeated in 2 hours, prn.

>3 cm.

Positive birth experience, recalled pain on a 100-point VAS line.

2-month post-


EA group most likely to recall sufficient pain relief (OR 2.1, 95% CI 0.9 to 4.9), but less likely than MA group to plan to use the same analgesia in their next labor (OR 0.8, 95% CI 0.4 to 1.5).




1 Turkish hospital.

TENS acupuncture pen at Hegu (LI4), standard care.

20 min.

3 to 5 cm.


cortisol, VAS.

None after delivery.

Non-significantly lower ACTH, cortisol, and VAS in TENS acupuncture pen at Hegu (LI4) group in comparison to standard care controls.



RCT. 63 nulliparas who refused PCEA.

2 Iranian hospitals.

Acupuncture at Hegu (LI4) and Sanyinjiao (SP6), sham acupuncture.

20 min.

≥4 cm.

Cortisol, labor length, VAS.

None after delivery.

Statistically similar cortisol levels and VAS scores. Acupuncture at Hegu (LI4) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) reduced labor length by 118 min., p = 0.000.



RCT. 100, 20 to 40 year olds.

1 Iranian hospital.

Acupressure at Hegu (LI4), TG.

20 min.

3 to 4 cm.

APGAR, labor length, satisfaction, VAS.

1-day post-


Membrane rupture occurred more in the acupressure group 48%, versus 34% in the TG control. Overall pain was less in the acupressure group, p = 0.0001