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Acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine, where trained doctors and practitioners target specific points on the body. Acupuncture is a holistic health technique that is done by inserting thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body. Treatment can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Sometimes heat and mild electrical current are used along with the needles to help with the area that is being treated. Studies have found promising results for the use of acupuncture for stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, drug addiction, dental pain, and labor pain (Kiefer, 2016).
The paper is aimed at testing the following hypothesis: to prove acupuncture used as labor analgesia has fewer risks and complications for a pregnant woman when compared to an epidural. This type of study is qualitative research. Acupuncture is for women who plan to have a natural birth, for those who do not have a high-risk pregnancy, and for those who did not have a previous c-section. Women who participated in clinical trials for this research have experienced positive outcomes for the treatment. There are no known risks to women who use acupuncture when practiced by trained practitioners using disposable needles (Siimkin & Bolding, 2004).
The purpose of the study is to identify the advantages of having acupuncture as labor analgesia over epidural. The main problem is the theoretical justification for the effectiveness of acupuncture and the absence of harm of such a procedure for a pregnant woman. The independent variable is acupuncture during labor; the dependent variable is the risk and complications of having an epidural. Anesthetists use both acupuncture and epidural anesthesia in medical practice to relieve pain during labor.
The hypothesis: if a pregnant woman who is experiencing labor chooses to have acupuncture as labor analgesia, then she will have fewer risks and complications when compared to a pregnant woman who wants to have an epidural. The principal question is as follows: what are the benefits of acupuncture performance during labor?
Theoretical Framework and Methodology
The core of the study is the papers of those authors who previously worked with this topic, as well as general information about the specifics of acupuncture and its advantages in obstetrics. For the authors to carry out a detailed study, it was necessary to examine some materials on various cases of anesthesia performed with the use of acupuncture or an epidural method. According to this research, it was possible to conclude in favor of the first procedure.
The rationale for choosing such a conceptual framework is the sufficient knowledge of competent specialists in this field and the responses of the women themselves who directly experienced the effect of these types of anesthesia.
As the sources used in the research process, five articles from scientific journals and one article from the website are used. The review focuses on the merits of the method of acupuncture and on how this approach to reducing pain differs from a traditional epidural. According to Kiefer (2016), there are no reasons to stop using this technique because doctors haven’t found any harm from this procedure yet. The research aims at studying the problem of anesthesia for pregnant women and the main advantages of modern therapy, as well as to prove that this way of pain reduction may be a rather useful tool for the treatment during pregnancy (Da Silva, 2015).
The study is suitable for use as general comparative information of the two types of anesthesia, and also may be of some value for studying the characteristics and features of an acupuncture procedure. As primary sources used are surveys, statistical data, and reviews of doctors and patients who dealt with this treatment in practice (Citkovitz et al., 2009). Secondary sources in the study are articles in journals and on the Internet, which contain information about similar researches.
The type of paper is qualitative research. This method gives the chance to answer the principal question of the research and determine a positive correlation between the two variables. Sampling is non-probability because the researchers attract different pregnant women who have experienced acupuncture to examine their views. The type of research is a case study. The method of selecting the target group is random since the opinions of women who have experienced acupuncture are taken as a basis.
There is also some comparison of this phenomenon with another, more classical way of anesthesia. Among data collection methods, the authors distinguish interviews and literature analysis. They examine the information received from the women who participated in the research and analyzed it. The statistical data obtained makes it possible to conclude about the benefits and safety of acupuncture for pregnant women.
There is no conflict between conveying detailed information and protecting the identities of those who were a part of the study as respondent confidentiality is protected in this qualitative research. Particular forms of women’s consent to the processing of all the information, as well as questionnaires that helped in collecting all the data, are included in the appendices to the study.
Data Analysis and Applicability to Nursing
The approach to the analysis of the data received is deductive as the researchers question the group of women and then look for similarities and differences. The scholars evaluate women’s attitudes towards this type of analgesia and compare individual and group-shared ideas. For example, Park, Sohn, White, and Lee (2014), in their study, determine the percentage of women who have experienced difficulties during the procedure of acupuncture and who have remained dissatisfied with this method of anesthesia.
The method of data analysis in the study is stated clearly and explained by the authors who interact with the data close, collect and analyze the information which they receive simultaneously. The method for displaying findings includes charts and tables showing the percentage of the women who participated in the study. Solving the problem of the reliability of obtaining data is achieved by comparing the information received with information from other sources.
Within the framework of the surveys conducted, the authors present contradictions with the results of other studies and reveal the reasons for these differences. For example, Cho, Lee, and Ernst (2010) claim that the positive effect of acupuncture on the body of a pregnant woman is not entirely clear. Therefore, the researchers try to present as many pieces of evidence of the quality and safety of this type of anesthesia as possible and to determine the number of those who remained completely satisfied with this procedure and preferred it rather than epidural anesthesia during labor.
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The study focuses on the problem that has a rather significant relation to nursing and is important due to its relevance. The results help to expand the knowledge of nurses and are quite a good and reliable source for improving the procedure of labor analgesia. The completeness of the study makes it possible to use the data for conducting other analyzes on medical topics related to obstetrics and anesthesiology. Another researcher could replicate the study to provide additional information on the difference between acupuncture and epidural analgesia during labor. The whole study has a certain significance for medicine in general and allows distinguishing the advantages of acupuncture over epidural analgesia.
Thus, the authors have managed to answer the principal question about what the benefits of acupuncture performance during labor are. The method of data collection and processing used is justified and quite suitable for this type of qualitative research. The analysis of the information was carried out in detail and according to the purpose stated. Acupuncture can be considered an innovative and modern way of anesthesia during labor.
It is worth mentioning that this technique allows reducing pain and yet does not carry a threat to either a woman or her child. The risk of complications during labor reduces, and in general, the procedure does not cause harm to health. The relevance of the research makes it possible to use it in nursing and expand the knowledge and opportunities that are available to medical personnel. The findings allow the article to be used as a tutorial on anesthesiology and obstetrics and one of the sources that may be implemented into a training course for medical specialists.
Cho, S. H., Lee, H., & Ernst, E. (2010). Acupuncture for pain relief in labour: a systematic review and meta-analysis. An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 117(8), 907-920.
Citkovitz, C., Klimenko, E., Bolyai, M., Applewhite, L., Julliard, K., & Weiner, Z. (2009). Effects of acupuncture during labor and delivery in a U.S. hospital setting: A case-control pilot study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5), 501-505.
Da Silva, J. B. G. (2015). Acupuncture in pregnancy. Acupuncture in Medicine, 33(5), 413-419.
Kiefer, D. (2016). Why does acupuncture work? Web.
Park, J., Sohn, Y., White, A. R., & Lee, H. (2014). The safety of acupuncture during pregnancy: A systematic review. Acupuncture in Medicine, 32(3), 257-266.
Simkin, P., & Bolding, A. (2004). Update on nonpharmacologic approaches to relieve labor pain and prevent suffering. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 49(6), 489-504.