Acupuncture offers Relief for Postpartum Depression

Acupuncture and Herbs for Post partum Depression

A Stanford study shows that acupuncture offers relief to women with post partum depression

The birth of a new child is a joyous event that comes with serious new responsibilities.  Women are flooded with hormones flushing out of their system, exhausted by their new round the clock nursing schedule and confronted with a whole new identity : Mama.  Many women silently struggle with all of these physical and emotional responses to her new role because she does not know it is normal to feel overwhelmed.  Women do not need to suffer alone through this precarious time.  There are many resources for advice, and I offer acupuncture and herbal relief as well as a compassionate ear.  I love working with new mothers and I welcome mama and baby to come in for a little energetic TLC.  I offer this study as further evidence of the natural relief of acupuncture.

Obstetrics & Gynecology:

March 2010 – Volume 115 – Issue 3 – pp 511-520

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181cc0816

Original Research

Acupuncture for Depression During Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Manber, Rachel PhD; Schnyer, Rosa N. DAOM, LAc; Lyell, Deirdre MD; Chambers, Andrea S. PhD; Caughey, Aaron B. MD, PhD; Druzin, Maurice MD; Carlyle, Erin MS; Celio, Christine MS; Gress, Jenna L. BA; Huang, Mary I. MS; Kalista, Tasha MA; Martin-Okada, Robin BS; Allen, John J. B. PhD


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the efficacy of acupuncture for depression during pregnancy in a randomized controlled trial.

METHODS: A total of 150 pregnant women who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(Fourth Edition) criteria for major depressive disorder were randomized to receive either acupuncture specific for depression or one of two active controls: control acupuncture or massage. Treatments lasted 8 weeks (12 sessions). Junior acupuncturists, who were not told about treatment assignment, needled participants at points prescribed by senior acupuncturists. All treatments were standardized. The primary outcome was the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, administered by masked raters at baseline and after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment. Continuous data were analyzed using mixed effects models and by intent to treat.

RESULTS: Fifty-two women were randomized to acupuncture specific for depression, 49 to control acupuncture, and 49 to massage. Women who received acupuncture specific for depression experienced a greater rate of decrease in symptom severity (P<.05) compared with the combined controls (Cohen’s d=0.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.01–0.77) or control acupuncture alone (P<.05; Cohen’s d=0.46, 95% CI 0.01–0.92). They also had significantly greater response rate (63.0%) than the combined controls (44.3%; P<.05; number needed to treat, 5.3; 95% CI 2.8–75.0) and control acupuncture alone (37.5%;P<.05: number needed to treat, 3.9; 95% CI 2.2–19.8). Symptom reduction and response rates did not differ significantly between controls (control acupuncture, 37.5%; massage, 50.0%).

CONCLUSION: The short acupuncture protocol demonstrated symptom reduction and a response rate comparable to those observed in standard depression treatments of similar length and could be a viable treatment option for depression during pregnancy.

© 2010 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists