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Use of Acupuncture and Sterile Water Injection for Labor Pain: A Survey in Sweden

Authors

  • Lena Mårtensson RNM, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. 1Lena Mårtensson is Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, University of Skövde, Skövde, and Doctoral Candidate, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Göteborg’s, Göteborg; and 2Gunnar Wallin is Attending Obstetrician, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.
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  • and 1 Gunnar Wallin MD, PhD 2

    1. 1Lena Mårtensson is Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, University of Skövde, Skövde, and Doctoral Candidate, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Göteborg’s, Göteborg; and 2Gunnar Wallin is Attending Obstetrician, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.
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  • This study was supported by grants from the University of Skövde, Skövde, and the Skaraborg Institute for Research and Development, Skövde, Sweden.

Lena Mårtensson, School of Life Sciences, University of Skövde, PO Box 408, SE-541 28 Skövde, Sweden.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Background: Acupuncture and sterile water injections are nonpharmacological pain relief methods used for labor pain in Swedish delivery wards. Their use has changed over time, the reasons for which are unclear, and acupuncture is currently in more common use than sterile water injections. The aim of this study was to elucidate the clinical use of acupuncture and sterile water injections as pain relief and relaxation during childbirth in Sweden. Methods: Twelve hundred questionnaires were sent out to all delivery wards in Sweden. Nine hundred sixty midwives fulfilled the inclusion criteria, and the response rate was 565 (59%). Results: Acupuncture was used for both pain relief and relaxation, whereas sterile water injections were used almost exclusively for pain relief. The midwives’ own choice of pain relief during childbirth for a possible future delivery was similar to their choice of method in clinical practice. Conclusions: Our study shows that acupuncture was used for both pain relief and relaxation, whereas sterile water injections were used almost exclusively for pain relief. The results also indicate a weakness in midwives’ awareness and use of scientific knowledge and general recommendations about these methods. (BIRTH 33:4 December 2006)

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