Morning sickness is very common and the nausea can affect up to 80% of women. After 13-14 weeks, the nausea and vomiting usually subsides but it can go on into the 2nd trimester for many women. Most women stay away from anti-nausea medication because they are worried about adverse side effects.
A major research study of acupuncture for morning sickness was undertaken in Adelaide in 2002 and the conclusion was that acupuncture is an effective treatment for women who experience nausea and dry retching. This result and conclusion was reached even though the number and frequency of acupuncture sessions was less than what the average professionally trained acupuncturist would normally do in actual practice. The research also found that there were no adverse effects from the acupuncture.
The treatment of women’s gynecological problems has already been a specialist area of Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. There are many acupuncture points that have been used successfully for morning sickness. The modern research in the west that has been undertaken to validate the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating morning sickness only used one acupuncture point as a measure because it was easier for the researchers to do the analysis.
There are numerous Chinese herbs that treat morning sickness with ginger being one such example of an herb that is useful for morning sickness and Perillia is another. In China there have been numerous research projects validating the effectiveness of herbal medicine for morning sickness but women in the west still tend to shy away from herbs because they think it is similar to taking modern pharmaceuticals and worry about side effects. This is a shame, because Chinese herbs have had a history of being used for hundreds of years in treating morning sickness.
Heiko Lade of The Acupuncture Clinic was a previous lecturer in women’s health disorders at Acupuncture colleges in Christchurch and Auckland.