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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 4, Issue 4, Pages 409-417

Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Pain Relief during Labor

Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Saint Vincent de Paul Hospital, University of Paris, 82 Avenue Denfert Rochereau 75014 Paris, France

Received 5 November 2006; Accepted 16 January 2007

Copyright © 2007 Michel Tournaire and Anne Theau-Yonneau. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This review evaluated the effect of complementary and alternative medicine on pain during labor with conventional scientific methods using electronic data bases through 2006 were used. Only randomized controlled trials with outcome measures for labor pain were kept for the conclusions. Many studies did not meet the scientific inclusion criteria. According to the randomized control trials, we conclude that for the decrease of labor pain and/or reduction of the need for conventional analgesic methods: (i) There is an efficacy found for acupressure and sterile water blocks. (ii) Most results favored some efficacy for acupuncture and hydrotherapy. (iii) Studies for other complementary or alternative therapies for labor pain control have not shown their effectiveness.