Graduation Date

Fall 12-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Diane Brage Hudson


The purpose of this study was to compare cervical ripening outcomes, based on Bishop scoring methodology, of pregnant women receiving usual care treatment (UC) with those receiving electroacupuncture plus UC. A sample of 36 pregnant women completing their 39th week of gestation was randomized into one of the two groups. The women in the UC group continued to meet with their provider on a weekly basis until delivery. The women in the electroacupuncture plus usual care group met with their provider on a weekly basis and also received electroacupuncture treatments: three in the 39th gestational week and two in the 40th gestational week. Conceptual basis for the study was guided by and adapted from the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Model (Figure 1). An experimental research design was used for this pilot study with a sample size of 36 women; 18 in each group. The demographic data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Means and standard deviations were calculated for the participant’s age, gestational age, parity, and Bishop score. Frequencies and percentages were calculated for ethnicity, use of induction methods, types of interventions and mode of delivery. A Mann-Whitney test was used to compare changes in the Bishop score and time in labor. Apgar scores below seven at 5 minutes were calculated using Chi Square methodology. Results from this study found that electroacupuncture plus UC positively influenced the timing of delivery (p = 0.051) and the method of delivery (94.4% vaginal delivery rate) compared to UC treatment alone (83.3% vaginal delivery rate). Electroacupuncture plus UC was not shown to be more effective for cervical ripening than UC treatment alone (p = .633); however, only 5.6% of participants in the lectroacupuncture plus UC group required induction with Cervidil® and Pitocin® compared to 22.2% of participants in the UC group. The use of electroacupuncture may be beneficial for cervical ripening, initiation of spontaneous labor, reduction of the time in active labor, and an increased potential for a vaginal birth.