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A Patient's Guide to Morning Sickness
So, you've found out your pregnant…congratulations! If you are one of the over 90% of pregnant women, you will experience some form of nausea during the first months of pregnancy. If you are one of the unfortunate 30%, you will experience severe symptoms that can lead to excessive vomiting and weight loss, or continued symptoms throughout pregnancy.
Most often, morning sickness is caused by the rising levels of HCG. Did you know, that it can also be a signal of vitamin deficiencies (B6, Magnesium, Potassium, and Zinc…all vitamins that are depleted with the use of hormonal birth control), or imbalances in the body?
Acupuncture Decreases Symptoms of Morning Sickness
In a 2004 study conducted by University Hospital in Sweden, 36 women were divided into four groups. 1 There were two groups, each studying a different form of acupuncture (two methods of acupuncture were used: bilateral manual AP of the Pc 6 (Neiguan) acupoint (group 1, n = 10) and bilateral APr of the Pc 6 acupoint) and a control group for each of these. The results revealed that 90% of the women involved in the acupuncture groups had a positive antiemetic (vomit prevention) outcome. The doctors concluded that both acupuncture and acupressure (the act of applying physical pressure to acupuncture points with hands, elbows, or other devices) were extremely effective in the relief of morning sickness and overall nausea.
Acupuncture divides the symptoms of morning sickness into over 5 different diagnosis in TCM. Each of these diagnosis are treated differently. All treatments would include the use of Acupuncture needles at specific points on the body. These points are used to regulate the bodies energy and stop nausea, move Qi, warm the stomach, nourish fluids, and clear heat respective of the proper diagnosis.
Often after a treatment in the office, patients are sent home with tacks or seeds taped to Acupuncture points so that they can provide self-acupressure between treatments. In most cases, patients see a significant reduction in symptoms after 1-3 treatments.
Often once nausea is corrected, other symptoms will begin to change as well. Increase energy is often a "side effect" of treatments.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to treat morning sickness, with no increased risk to mother or baby.
Nutritional Supplements for Morning Sickness
Like I mentioned above, morning sickness can be a signal of vitamin deficiencies. Often related to medication prior to conception. The difficulty in treating vitamin deficiencies, especially when pregnant, is that the patient must maintain a healthy diet to complete daily requirement, as well as to recover the deficiency.
It is very difficult to do this with diet alone. Until the deficiency is resolved, nutritional supplements should be taken. I am not a fan of daily multi-vitamins. That being said, there is a time and a place for proper supplementation. In the case of extreme morning sickness, vitamin supplements can be taken in the short term. The most common supplements are B6 and Magnesium.
Some other supplements that seem to work well for morning sickness are Pineapple and raw almonds.
Pineapple contains Bromelain which is a digestive enzyme that reduces inflammation in the digestive system.
Raw Almonds will actually absorb gastric juices, reducing the amount present in the stomach which can cause less irritation. There are also enzymes present in raw/sprouted almonds that decrease inflammation in the digestive system.
1. Digestion of Raw and Roasted Almonds
2. Acupuncture and Morning Sickness British Acupuncture Council
3. Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy