A Systematic Review and Meta‑Analysis of the Effect of Acupressure on Relieving the Labor Pain

Leila Karimi, Mitra Mahdavian, Somayeh Makvandi


Background: Numerous studies have been conducted on the effect of acupressure on labor pain, some of which have reported conflicting results. Thus, the present study was performed to critically review the previous studies related to the effect of acupressure administered during labor for relieving labor pain.

Materials and Methods: In this study, databases of the Cochrane Central Register of the Controlled Trials, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched from their establishment until November 5, 2019. All the Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) that had compared the use of acupressure with either placebo or nonintervention for relieving the labor pain were included in the study. Meta‑analysis was performed using the Comprehensive Meta‑Analysis (CMA) software Version 2. The random‑effects model was used for pooling the effect sizes across the included studies. The p value <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Totally, 5853 primary papers were identified in the search, which were narrowed down to 22 studies. The results of meta‑analysis showed that the acupressure decreased the labor pain in the intervention group vs. control (‑1.67 [‑2.29 to ‑ 1.05], z = ‑ 5.25, p < 0. 001) (Q‑value = 788.98, p < 0.001, I‑squared = 96.83). No publication bias was found in the included studies (Egger’s regression intercept = ‑ 1.02, p = 0.76).

Conclusions: Although the findings of this meta‑analysis showed that the acupressure significantly reduced the labor pain during the active phase of labor compared to the nonintervention or placebo; considering that the quality of the included studies was generally moderate, rigorous RCTs with better design and higher quality are needed to obtain definitive conclusions.


Acupressure, labor pain, pain management, parturition

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