Findings and methodological quality of systematic reviews focusing on acupuncture for pregnancy-related acute conditions

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Abstract

Introduction

Major concerns regarding the use of medication during pregnancy justify the need for safer interventions. Acupuncture is an emerging alternative for several clinical conditions during this period. The objective of this study is to summarise evidence derived from systematic reviews (SRs) focusing on acupuncture for pregnancy-related acute conditions.

Methods

Review of SRs. A systematic literature search was carried out in several electronic databases, aiming to include all SRs assessing the effects of acupuncture for acute conditions during pregnancy. Methodological quality and quality of the publication/reporting of each SR were assessed by the application of AMSTAR (Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews) and PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses), respectively.

Results

The initial search retrieved 11 492 records, of which 16 SRs met our inclusion criteria. The average AMSTAR score was 7.3, the lowest score being 3 and the highest 11. The lowest PRISMA score was 12, the highest 25, and the average PRISMA score was 19.9. The results support the proposal that acupuncture might be considered an option for alleviating pain during labour, for correcting breech presentation, and for managing pelvic and back pain during pregnancy. There is insufficient evidence to recommend acupuncture for inducing labour, managing nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy, improving sleep quality, controlling nausea and vomiting associated with Caesarean delivery, and managing urinary infection.

Conclusions

Acupuncture might be an option for alleviating pain during labour, for correcting breech presentation, and for managing pelvic and back pain during pregnancy. More studies are needed to confirm the effects of acupuncture for other pregnancy-related acute conditions.

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