Effect of ear acupressure on acute postpartum perineal pain: a randomised controlled study

Authors

  • Winny SC Kwan RCMP, FHKAN,

    Registered Nurse-Midwife, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong
    • Correspondence: Winny SC Kwan, Registered Nurse-Midwife, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, 30 Gascoigne Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone: +852 2958 6151.

      E-mail: bkscw01@ha.org.hk

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  • William WH Li MBBS, FRCOG, FHKAM (O&G)

    Consultant Obstetrician
    1. Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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Abstract

Aims and objectives

To explore the effect of ear acupressure in relieving perineal pain in women during the first 48 hours after delivery.

Background

Perineal pain is a common problem during postpartum, and different treatment modalities have been used for relief. Ear acupressure has been reported to have possible benefit on relieving acute postpartum perineal pain.

Design

This study was designed as a prospective, randomised controlled trial.

Methods

Chinese women with a singleton vertex foetus at the gestation of 37 weeks or above were recruited. One hundred and twenty six and 130 women were randomised into the intervention and control groups, respectively. Women in the intervention group received application of tapes and seeds on four designated acupressure points on both ears, while women in the control group received tapes on four irrelevant points. Both groups were instructed to stimulate the points in a similar fashion. Pain perception was assessed by the Verbal Descriptive Pain Scale and the Visual Analogue Scale, and the consumption of analgesics was also reviewed.

Results

No significant difference in perineal pain perception between the groups was observed in Verbal Descriptive Pain Scale. Although the mean Visual Analogue Scale and the accumulative mean consumption of paracetamol were generally lower in the intervention group, statistical significance was not reached.

Conclusions

There is no evidence so far to conclude that ear acupressure can effectively relieve perineal pain based on the statistical results. Further research is suggested to explore whether the effectiveness of pain relief is affected by the frequency and duration of acupressure point stimulation.

Relevance to clinical practice

Training of midwives to perform this intervention is easy to achieve, but further evidence is required to prove its effectiveness.

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