Mass General Hospital

Harvard Medical School

Acupuncture for Postpartum Depression

85 women with postpartum depression were randomized to receive acupuncture plus psychological intervention (five sessions per week) or treatment with fluoxetine (20 mg per day). The two groups were treated continuously for six weeks. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Hamilton Depression scale (HAMD).

90.7% of the women in the acupuncture group and 90.5% in the fluoxetine group experienced a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms. The difference in the total effective rate between two groups was not statistically significant (P>0.05). Comparing the two groups at time points at 2, 4 and 6 weeks, there were no statistically significant differences in HAMD scores.

With regard to adverse events, 5 women had nausea, 3 had dizziness, and 6 had poor appetite in the fluoxetine group; no obvious adverse events happened in the other treatment group.

Acupuncture plus psychological intervention for postpartum depression is as effective as fluoxetine for the treatment of postpartum depression.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Huang H, Peng L, Zheng L, Wang L.  Observation on therapeutic effects of acupuncture plus psychological intervention for postpartum depression.  Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science 2014; 12(6): 358-361.


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2 Responses to Acupuncture for Postpartum Depression

  1. Kayla May 1, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    What was the psychological intervention?

  2. MGH Center for Women's Mental Health May 2, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    Good question. Looking back at the article, it looks like it was supportive psychotherapy with some psychoeducation thrown in.

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