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Article on benefits of complementary therapies for labour and childbirth

Complementary Therapies for labour and childbirth

Interventions during labour and childbirth are on the rise in most developed countries.1  In addition, use of an epidural block has been identified as a contributing factor to assisted births, including caesarean section.

A randomised controlled trial published in the BMK Open1 evaluated the effectiveness of a birth preparation course, covering self-administered complementary medicine techniques (in addition to standard medical care), in support of natural birth.

The trial involved 176 women.  The intervention group attended a two-day course with a birth partner and were taught support techniques that could be self-administered during pregnancy and childbirth, alongside standard care: visualisation, breathing, massage and yoga to enhance relaxation; yoga and acupressure to facilitate labour progression; and breathing, acupressure and visualisation to add pain relief.  Those in the control group received standard care alone.

The results showed reduction in epidural use and caesarean section in the intervention group compared to the control group.

Full article at www.bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/7/e010691.full

1 Levett KM, smith CA, Bensoussan A, et al (2016).  Complementary Therapies for labour and birth study: a randomised controlled trial of antenatal integrative medicine for pain management in labour, BMJ Open 2016 6:e010691.  doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010691

From International Therapist Issue 118