Acupuncture to treat morning sickness in pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, often called as morning sickness are troublesome symptoms for some women. It often develops by 5-6 weeks of gestation. Symptoms usually peak around 9 weeks and improve by 16 to 18 weeks of gestation. However, symptoms continue into the third trimester in 15-20% of individuals and until delivery in 5% [1].

Using acupuncture treatment for nausea has been studied for decades, and the results are overwhelmingly positive. In 2003, The World Health Organization (WHO) published a review and analysis of Acupuncture reports on controlled clinical trials. Acupuncture reports have shown good evidence to help, prevent or reduce nausea post-surgery and when using chemotherapy drugs AND also for morning sickness-related nausea.

In a study conducted already in 2002 in Australia [2], 593 women in early stage of pregnancy were randomized into 4 groups which include 2 forms of acupuncture treatments, sham acupuncture and a control group. The treatment was administered weekly for 4 weeks and the primary outcomes were nausea, dry heaving, vomiting, and health status. Women receiving acupuncture reported less nausea throughout the trial and less dry retching from the second week compared with women in the no acupuncture control group.

Is Acupuncture a safe therapeutic modality during pregnancy?

A large-scale cohort study in Korea to examine the safety of acupuncture during pregnancy, which included more than 20,000 patients, showed that both Acupuncture and control groups have NO significant difference in delivery outcomes like pre-term delivery and stillbirth. Thus, it looks like acupuncture therapy is a safe therapeutic modality for relieving discomforts without side effects outcomes.

Here are some non-chemical advices that can help you and have NO(!) side effects:

1. Do Acupuncture regularly! Acupuncture is not only effective but also safe treatment during the pregnancy [3].

2. Dietary supplements: Vitamin B6 & Ginger extract is an effective and safe to use during pregnancy. As well, to some women probiotics can reduce the nausea and improve their digestive system function. 

3. Drink ginger, lemon and honey. slice 2-3 fresh ginger root and use Manuka honey which is very very healthy (also expensive but worth it) and drink according to your need

4. Diet: In order to support the digestive system, the general recommendation is to consume cooked, baked or steamed food and avoid raw and cold food. In addition, it is recommended to eat small meals more often and not full and rich meals which makes your digestion very heavy.

Sources:

  1. Committee on Practice Bulletins-Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 189: Nausea And Vomiting Of Pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 2018; 131:e15. Reaffirmed 2020.
  2. Birth. 2002 Mar;29(1):1-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-536x.2002.00149.x.
  3. BJOG 2020 Jan;127(1):79-86. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.15925. Epub 2019 Sep 19.

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