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October 2022

Acupunct Electrother Res. 1986 ; 11(2): 147-51.

Sacral acupuncture for pain relief in labour: initial clinical experience in Nigerian women.

Umeh BU.

Sacral acupuncture was used for pain relief during labour in 30 pregnant Nigerian women. It produced clinically adequate analgesia in 19 women (63.3%). 6 women in this group (31.6%) reported that they had experienced no pain whatsoever throughout the period of labour and delivery (average duration - 8 hours). 11 women (36.7%) had no pain relief and required pethidine injection when sacral acupuncture proved ineffective. 24 women (80%), including 5 who did not obtain relief, indicated their wish to have sacral acupuncture during their next confinement. 2 women (6.7%) objected to needling, 3 considered acupuncture useless while another 2 did not believe in it. The patients' cardio-respiratory functions and uterine contractions were not adversely affected. There were no untoward effects on the mothers or their neonates. The procedure was technically simple, the equipment light and cheap. The needles did not interfere with nursing or obstetric manouvres. The procedure was however time consuming. The results were inconsistent and unpredictable. Despite these limitations, the simplicity, cheapness and absence of physiological complications associated with the procedure, make it a worthwhile medical armament for pain relief in the Nigerian environment, with limited resources and specialized manpower.

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