Background A placenta is considered to be retained when it remains undelivered 30 or 60 min after the birth of the baby following active or physiological management of the third stage of labour, respectively. It can be life threatening for the mother.
Methods We retrospectively examined the influence of acupuncture on the delivery of retained placentas in the third stage of labour in 70 women. In all cases the third stage of labour was actively managed, and acupuncture was provided 30 min after delivery at points KI16 and SP6 for 15 min.
Results After acupuncture 77% of placentas separated successfully. In 10% of cases some retained placental tissue was detected and manual removal of the avulsed cotyledon was performed, while in 13% the entire placenta was retained and manual removal of the placenta under general anaesthesia was necessary.
Conclusions Acupuncture may help to facilitate placental separation but further controlled trials are needed.
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