Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Alternative" methods of pain relief in labor

In case anyone was still wondering if "alternative" methods of pain relief in labor work, they don't. This is not suprising since most "alternative" methods are ineffective for virtually everything they claim to do, treat, cure or prevent. The comprehensive reivew Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Pain Relief During Labor by Tournaire and Yonneau in the current issue of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Therapy provides even more scientifc evidence that the claims of "alternative" providers are unsubstantiated:

"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."

Methods that were evaluated and found to have no scientific evidence of effectiveness included:

"natural" childbirth

Interestingly, even for methods that demonstrated some effectiveness, more than 50% or treated patients found the method to be inadequate.

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