Acupuncture for early morning sickness

For most women, the news that they are preg­nant brings an over­whelm­ing feel­ing of joy, and relief if they have been try­ing for a while

Unfor­tu­nately for many, that power­ful emo­tion­al bond­ing with their future child will soon be replaced by an over­whelm­ing surge of pain, naus­ea, and vomit­ing.

 It is estim­ated that between half and two thirds of preg­nant women exper­i­ence morn­ing sick­ness.

While feel­ing sick in the early stage of preg­nancy can be a pos­it­ive sign that the preg­nancy hor­mones levels are kick­ing in, the onset of these debil­it­at­ing symp­toms can make the expect­ant moth­er very miser­able. In some cases the onset of vomit­ing can be so severe that hydra­tion and nour­ish­ment via intra­ven­ous flu­ids is required.

Know­ing that these digest­ive prob­lems will have no long-term effects on her health, or the unborn baby can be a relief. But in the mean­time, the future mother’s capa­city to work, look after her chil­dren, per­form daily tasks, and obvi­ously enjoy her affected.

In the past, morn­ing sick­ness was often con­sidered to be a mani­fest­a­tion of stress, or neg­at­ive feel­ings about the preg­nancy, but this the­ory has now been dis­cred­ited.

Recent research has found that the severest naus­ea and vomit­ing occurs when the levels of preg­nancy hor­mones, Human Chor­i­on­ic Gon­ado­trop­in (HCG), and oes­tro­gen, are their peak– between nine and elev­en weeks. It is a time when the baby’s devel­op­ment is the most vul­ner­able to the surge of human chem­ic­als in the body. This explains why women expect­ing twins or triplets, who have even high­er levels of preg­nancy hor­mones, tend to be more severely affected that oth­ers. There is also a the­ory that the increased sens­it­iv­ity to smell is a pro­tect­ive meas­ure against acci­dent­al expos­ure to harm­ful bac­teria.

While is still unclear why at least a third of lucky women man­age to go through their preg­nancy without exper­i­en­cing any digest­ive prob­lems, cas­u­al obser­va­tion points towards a genet­ic dis­pos­i­tion to the like­li­hood of being affected. Also, in many cases, women who nor­mally suf­fer from travel sick­ness, or have suffered with their first child are more likely to be affected again with sub­sequent preg­nan­cies.

There are many tips for alle­vi­at­ing the digest­ive dis­com­fort.

Doc­tors recom­mend eat­ing small, fre­quent meals sev­er­al times a day, with an emphas­is on high pro­tein foods and com­plex car­bo­hydrates, while stay­ing away from fatty foods, which are more dif­fi­cult to digest.

Since, in most cases, the digest­ive prob­lems will dis­ap­pear after the first three months, it can be help­ful to avoid, for a short peri­od of time, all the foods that trig­ger your naus­ea, while increas­ing your intake of what you feel com­fort­able eat­ing, even if your diet ends up being tem­por­ar­ily imbal­anced.

<p “=”” style=“padding: 0px; mar­gin: 0px 50px 15px 0px; box-siz­ing: border-box;”>Often cook­ing meals can bring on naus­ea, so you might prefer eat­ing cold foods until your con­di­tion improves. It is very import­ant to drink a lot of flu­ids while preg­nant, and some women have found that adding lem­on to the water is very help­ful to avoid feel­ing queasy.

There are also many altern­at­ive treat­ments to tak­ing West­ern med­ic­a­tion. Ginger has been pre­scribed for the treat­ment of naus­ea since antiquity, and ginger tea is now avail­able in many super­mar­kets, and most health stores. Pep­per­mint tea is also a good altern­at­ive. Acu­punc­ture is com­monly used in the treat­ment of digest­ive prob­lems, and morn­ing sick­ness.

A recent Aus­trali­an study by the Uni­ver­sity of Adelaide com­pared two dif­fer­ent kinds of acu­punc­ture for the treat­ment of morn­ing sick­ness.

The med­ic­al research stud­ied 600 women, who were less than 14 weeks preg­nant. The first meth­od used a vari­ety of acu­punc­ture points on the fore­arm or abdo­men, while the second one involved the use of a single point clas­sic­ally asso­ci­ated with naus­ea and vomit­ing.

The patients who received 20 minutes of acu­punc­ture a week made remark­able improve­ments.

<p “=”” style=“padding: 0px; mar­gin: 0px 50px 15px 0px; box-siz­ing: border-box;”>Dr Car­oline Smith, who led the research, com­men­ted: 
Our res­ults have shown that as little as one treat­ment can sig­ni­fic­antly change the way these women feel. We found that tra­di­tion­al acu­punc­ture reduced naus­ea through­out the tri­al, with dry retch­ing being reduced from the second week.<p “=”” style=“padding: 0px; mar­gin: 0px 50px 15px 0px; box-siz­ing: bor­der-box;”>“I hope this excit­ing evid­ence that com­ple­ment­ary ther­apy does work will open up new oppor­tun­it­ies for fund­ing future research in women’s health.”<p “=”” style=“padding: 0px; mar­gin: 0px 50px 15px 0px; box-siz­ing: border-box;”>One of the acu­punc­ture points used in that study is loc­ated on the fore­arm, two inches above the inside of the wrist, between the two middle ten­dons. Peri­car­di­um 6 is also a very effect­ive point for treat­ing sea­sick­ness. Many chem­ist shops sell spe­cially designed wrist bands which have a little pro­trud­ing bead inser­ted into the fab­ric to stim­u­late that point. They are totally pain­less, sur­pris­ingly effect­ive, and they can be retained for sev­er­al days without any dis­com­fort.

Each patient has her own indi­vidu­al pat­tern of dys­func­tion and prob­ably has sev­er­al oth­er symp­toms that would require some atten­tion, so hav­ing a couple of treat­ments with a pro­fes­sion­al acu­punc­tur­ist would obvi­ously be bene­fi­cial. But if you are unable to see one, these spe­cial bands can def­in­itely be help­ful.

Olivi­er Lejus

Olivi­er Lejus BHSc.MHSc. is a registered acu­punc­tur­ist and Chinese herb­al­ist prac­ti­cing in Sydney. A former cas­u­al uni­ver­sity lec­turer and tutor in Ori­ent­al medi­cine with over 15 years exper­i­ence in clin­ic­al prac­tice, Olivi­er spe­cial­izes in Japan­ese- style acu­punc­ture for the treat­ment of male and female infer­til­ity, migraine, pain, and insom­

About Olivier Lejus

I was born in France and I emigrated to Australia in 1980. I worked as a circus performer, puppeteer and actor before I began studying Traditional Chinese Medicine a the University of Technology of Sydney in 1997. I graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of of science degree in Traditional Chinese medicine. I am now specializing in Japanese style acupuncture for the treatment of female and male infertility, pain, and anxiety.

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