Acupuncture and pregnancy
Acupuncture that’s specific for depression may benefit some pregnant women with the mood disorder, suggests a new study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology. In the 8-week study, depression-specific acupuncture—based on traditional Chinese medicine—outperformed traditional acupuncture and Swedish massage in reducing the severity of depression symptoms. The special acupuncture’s response rate was also greater: 63% versus 44% for the other therapies. But notably the groups had similar rates of depression remission, characterized by the absence of sadness and an ability to feel pleasure.
Side effects of acupuncture included temporary discomfort and bleeding at the point of needle insertion.
According to the authors, depression-specific acupuncture may be a viable treatment option for some pregnant women. The response rate from the acupuncture was comparable to standard depression treatments, such as interpersonal psychotherapy.
The bottom line: Although promising, more research needs to be done before depression-specific acupuncture is widely recommended. For example, future studies need to include depressed individuals with co-occurring mental disorders.