As leaders in Vermont treating pregnancy related conditions with acupuncture, Integrative Acupuncture frequently treats pregnancy induced nausea or morning sickness. Women we have worked with at our Montpelier and Williston, VT office for fertility often continue their care with us once pregnant to prevent the discomforts of early pregnancy, like morning sickness. We also meet new patients during this time of pregnancy, as they may be referred by their care provider for acupuncture, a natural and effective treatment for morning sickness.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness, also known as nausea gravidarum, is a condition that affects over 50% of all pregnant women. A woman feels nauseous, sometimes vomits and is often tired. Sometimes symptoms may be so severe that the woman suffers from dehydration, weight loss, alkalosis (a dangerous drop in the normal acidity of the blood) and hypokalemia (low blood potassium).
When symptoms are very severe, the condition is called hyperemesis gravidarum, and develops in approximately 1% of all pregnancies. If nausea and vomiting is to occur it will usually do so during the 6th week of pregnancy, but in some cases it may strike during the second week. For many women the symptoms of morning sickness are their first signs of pregnancy.
Most pregnant women find that the morning sickness improves after the 12th week of pregnancy. Unfortunately, for some women symptoms persist throughout their pregnancy. The hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) rises rapidly during early pregnancy. No one knows how hCG contributes to nausea, but as nausea tends to peak around the same time as levels of hCG it is assumed to have a role in morning sickness. Also conditions in which women have higher levels of hCG, such as carrying multiples, are associated with higher rates of nausea and vomiting.
How Does Western Medicine Treat Morning Sickness?
Depending on the severity of symptoms, most providers try to keep solutions natural for morning sickness. These include eating bland carbohydrate foods, like crackers, eating small amounts throughout the day, changing to an iron free multivitamin, supplementing with ginger, B6 and or raspberry tea (under supervision of the care provider). Many care providers are now recommending acupuncture as a natural treatment for morning sickness. For more severe symptoms, providers may recommend prescription drugs.
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How Does Acupuncture Treat Morning Sickness?
Chinese medicine successfully treats morning sickness and has been thoroughly researched and proven. We view morning sickness as a disharmony between the Liver and Stomach, often due to underlying deficiency of the Spleen and Stomach. With acupuncture focusing on directing the Qi downwards and harmonizing the middle(Spleen and Stomach) we achieve quick results to decrease nausea. We also focus on the underlying deficient pattern to prevent the nausea and/or vomiting from continuing. A study from 2004 proved the effect of acupuncture on morning sickness.
We teach our patients acupressure points for morning sickness and many recommend essential oils for use at home.