The use of maternity acupuncture within a New Zealand public hospital: Integration within an outpatient clinic


Background: In June 2008, a maternity acupuncture service began operating within a Hutt Valley Hospital outpatient department, offering access to free acupuncture care for pregnancy and postnatal related conditions. This was the first and, to date, the only clinic of this type within a New Zealand hospital.

Objective: To retrospectively describe and analyse routinely collected data from 2013 and 2014, on treatment delivered in this clinic. Specifically we report on the number of women treated, their presenting condition, referral patterns and patient centred outcomes for those women presenting with back or pelvic/hip pain.

Methods: Data on the primary reason for seeking acupuncture and referral pathway were collected on a woman’s initial visit. For those women presenting with back or pelvic/hip pain, a Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP) form was also completed, with a follow-up form completed on each subsequent visit until discharge.

Findings: Two hundred and sixty-one women received treatment. The majority were referred through Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) midwives and were requesting acupuncture treatment for labour preparation, back or pelvic/hip pain. MYMOP reporting demonstrated a high level of patient satisfaction, with 80% of women reporting a change in their pain that was clinically significant.

Conclusion: Data from this clinic illustrate a successful partnership between mainstream and complementary medicine, offering integrated healthcare to women in a public health system. Acupuncture offered a non-pharmaceutical treatment option and for those with back or pelvic/hip pain delivered high levels of patient satisfaction. It is hoped that this article will stimulate further interest in the under-researched area of maternity acupuncture.

Keywords: Maternity acupuncture, integrated care, complementary medicine

Source: New Zealand College of Midwives Journal • Issue 52 • 2016

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