• Acupuncture;
  • labour induction;
  • prolonged pregnancy;
  • sham acupuncture

Please cite this paper as: Modlock J, Nielsen B, Uldbjerg N. Acupuncture for the induction of labour: a double-blind randomised controlled study. BJOG 2010;117:1255–1261.

Objective  To investigate whether acupuncture is effective for the induction of labour in post-term pregnancies.

Design  A double-blind multicentre randomised controlled study.

Settings  Aarhus University Hospital and Herning Regional Hospital, Denmark.

Population  One hundred and twenty-five healthy women with uneventful pregnancies at gestational week 41+6 were randomised into two groups.

Methods  The intervention group was given acupuncture twice on the same day at acupuncture point GV20 and bilaterally at points BL67, LI4 and SP6. The control group received sham acupuncture at the same points.

Main outcome measures  At effect evaluation, which was carried out 24 hours after randomisation, the primary endpoint was labour or delivery.

Results  The primary endpoint was achieved in seven women (12%) in the acupuncture group and eight women (14%) in the control group (P = 0.79). Stratification for parity and fetal gender did not alter the results.

Conclusion  Under the treatment regimen investigated in this study, acupuncture for the induction of labour in post-term women at gestational age 41+6 weeks may not be effective.