By Christina Morris, L.Ac.
Approximately fifty to eighty percent of women experience morning sickness during the first three months of pregnancy. Some women continue to have it during their entire pregnancy. Despite its name, morning sickness can occur during anytime of the day and can be quite debilitating.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has treated morning sickness for thousands of years. The use of acupuncture as a treatment for morning sickness is gaining more popularity. This form of intervention is drug free and effective in many cases. Research studies around the world indicate that acupuncture decreases and often eliminates morning sickness. Pregnancy is a miraculous event. During pregnancy the woman’s body changes in many ways to support and nourish the growth of a new life. The mother’s energy is responsible for nourishing the fetus. The mother’s blood is pumped through the fetus allowing the fetus to grow and develop. Despite this natural occurrence, pregnancy can create an imbalance in the regular flow of blood and energy in the woman’s abdomen creating possible digestive problems including nausea and vomiting. As the woman’s body adjusts to this natural phenomenon, usually within three months, the nausea and vomiting should stop. Acupuncture can be used to balance the disharmonies that can create the nausea and vomiting, resulting in a quick and effective relief of morning sickness.
The most common acupuncture point for morning sickness is Pericardium 6 (P6), located about 2 inches above the transverse crease of the wrist on the palm side of the forearm. Researchers use this point most frequently, although there are many other acupuncture points that can be combined with P6 for greater efficacy. The presence of other symptoms in addition to nausea and vomiting should be carefully considered. Acupuncture treatments are based on the individual, and treatment plans vary according to each individual’s case. There are many possible treatment plans for morning sickness. The main treatment goal for morning sickness is to pacify the energy in the abdomen, subdue rebellious energy, harmonize the stomach, and stop the vomiting.
Many tastes, smells, and even the thought of certain foods can trigger the discomforts of morning sickness. The ingestion of water can even cause nausea and vomiting for some women. To help lessen the nausea it may be helpful to eat small portions, and avoid spicy, greasy foods. For some women, nothing seems to help. Acupuncture may be the only answer to stop the morning sickness.