The Use of Anaesthesia for Labour and Delivery

Acupuncture anaesthesia is widely used for Caesarean sections in China. A report recently published by the Chinese, discusses the results of 1,000 cases managed in this manner. The Chinese claim a 98 per cent success rate in the abolition of pain, a quicker recovery rate from the operation, less blood loss, and the obvious advantage of the mother being able to see the baby at, or soon after, birth. This report finds acupuncture a superior form of analgesia compared to other forms of pain relief (general or epidural anaesthesia) for Caesarean section. This success rate is astonishingly high and may well be a rather ‘enthusiastic’ claim.

Acupuncture can also be used to provide pain relief in normal obstetric deliveries. Adequate assessment of this form of obstetric analgesia has not yet been published, although the experience of a wide variety of acupuncturists in the West would indicate that it is a useful and effective procedure.

George T. Lewith MA MRCGP MRCP Written by George T. Lewith MA MRCGP MRCP

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