A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Effect of Acupuncture on Increasing Milk Supply of Lactating Mothers

[thumbnail of LI Ke-thesis_nosignature.pdf]
LI Ke-thesis_nosignature.pdf - Submitted Version (3MB) | Preview

Li, Ke (2003) A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Effect of Acupuncture on Increasing Milk Supply of Lactating Mothers. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.


Breastfeeding benefits the mother as well as the baby. Breast milk is a complete food for newborn human infants, adequately supplying all nutritional needs for at least the first 4- 6 months of life (Kramer & Kakuma, 2002). In 1993, the Commonwealth of Australia recommended the following goals for promoting breastfeeding by the year 2000 and beyond (Nutbeam, Wise, Bauman, Harris & Leader, 1993): For infants to the age of three months, 60% should be fully breastfed or 80% should be partially breastfed. For infants to the age of six months, 50% should be fully breastfed or 80% should be partially breastfed. However, according to the most recent national survey, these targets have not been met (Donath, 2000). In effect, breastfeeding figures have not changed in the last ten to fifteen years (Mortensen, 2001). Research indicates that the largest decrease in breastfeeding occurs between two weeks and six weeks after birth (Binns & Scotts, 2002; Stamp & Crowther, 1995; Mogan 1986), with women giving Insufficient Milk Supply (IMS) as the major reason for stopping. Despite research in the field of physiology, biochemistry, psychology and socioeconomics, this phenomenon of IMS remains an 'enigma' (Hill, 1991, p. 312). However, failure to thrive in infancy can be seen in babies who do not achieve an adequate weight gain within the normal time span. According to lactation consultants at the Royal Women's Hospital Breastfeeding Assessment Service in Melbourne, some babies who are breastfed present with inadequate weight gain due to IMS. Women with low breastmilk supply who wish to persist with breastfeeding often look for some means to increase their milk supply. There are very few alternative treatment to assist them. For over a thousand years mothers in China have used acupuncture to increase their supply of breast milk. Within the last decade, several authors have published results of studies on the effect of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCA) on lactation (Wu, 2002; Huang & Huang, 1994; Tureanu, 1994; Dong, 1988; Kang, 1990). These study all indicated improvement in lactation after TCA therapy. However, all these studies have been uncontrolled clinical trials. This research is a first single blind controlled clinical trial to investigate the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture for the treatment of IMS. The aim of the study is to find out whether a course of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture treatment would help mothers diagnosed with insufficient breast milk supply produce more milk. This clinical trial was conducted by a qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. The researcher gained a Bachelor of Medicine degree in TCM after completing the five years program at the Beijing College of TCM in China. The researcher has been in clinical practice for more than 15 years. This is a pilot study. The final number of subjects in the study was 27,: 9 in the Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCA) Group; 6 in the Sham Acupuncture (SA) Group and 12 in the Non-Treatment Control Group. The major finding of the study was that - 'Other things being equal, infants whose mothers received TCA weighed 160.13 grams more on average than those whose mothers received SA. This effect is marginally significant (p less than 0.1)'. The finding generally confirms that the Traditional Chinese Acupuncture intervention to the mother is effective in increasing infant weight gain.

Additional Information

Master of Health Science

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/241
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 320000 Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Nursing and Midwifery
Keywords acupuncture; milk supply; lactating mothers; breastfeeding
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login