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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:169184. doi: 10.1155/2013/169184. Epub 2013 Nov 24.

Acupuncture for anxiety in lactating mothers with preterm infants: a randomized controlled trial.

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Ribeirão Preto School of Nursing, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Rua José Lyra Filho, 110, apto 23A, 13309-340 Itu, SP, Brazil.
Postgraduate Program in Public Health, Ribeirão Preto School of Nursing, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of acupuncture versus placebo acupuncture on anxiety in lactating mothers with preterm infants. A parallel, randomized, patient-assessor blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in a tertiary school hospital in Londrina, Brazil, between 2011 and 2012. Mothers (n = 29) with very low birth weight infants born at this institution were randomly assigned to two treatment groups: acupuncture, AG (n = 14), or placebo acupuncture, PG (n = 15). Treatment sessions occurred once a week, using 5 Chinese auricular points unilaterally. The primary outcome measure was STAI-State scores, and secondary outcome measure was salivary cortisol levels. Both measures were collected before and after treatment and submitted to a blind assessor. Before-after treatment mean difference in STAI-State scores was observed in both groups (AG = 8.71 and PG = 8.20), not statistically significant (P = 0.888), although within group analysis was significant for both groups (P < 0.005). Salivary cortisol levels did not change after treatment in both groups (P = 0.480). There was no correlation between STAI and salivary cortisol results. At infant's hospital discharge, 76% subjects were breastfeeding exclusively. There was no difference between real and placebo acupuncture for anxiety in mothers with preterm infants.

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