Acupuncture treatment has been used for centuries in China as a remedy for morning sickness. It has been shown to be helpful in helping to minimise nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting are commonly experienced by women in early pregnancy; the prevalence rates are 50-80% for nausea, and 50% for vomiting and retching (Miller 2002; Woolhouse 2006). The symptoms are most common in the first trimester, between 6 and 12 weeks, but can continue to 20 weeks and last longer than this in up to 20% of women (Jewell 2003; Miller 2002). If vomiting is intractable, it can be associated with weight loss, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, and may lead to hospitalisation (Miller 2002).
The symptoms are thought to be associated with rising levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) or oestrogens (Goodwin 2002).
Women experiencing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can suffer considerable physical and psychological effects (Attard 2002; Chou 2003; Chou 2008). The symptoms can affect daily activities and relationships, and result in lost productivity and increased healthcare costs (Attard 2002; Piwko 2007).
The British Acupuncture Council says:
"Morning sickness refers to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy – despite occurring at any time of the day or night! It occurs in about 50% of pregnancies, usually between the sixth and sixteenth weeks, but the most intense at 8-12 weeks. Eating little, if there is nausea, is not the main concern, the real issue is vomiting – this can lead to dehydration, and then hospitalisation to receive intravenous fluids.
Morning sickness is generally thought to occur because of the massive change in hormones although fatigue, stress or emotional factors can also contribute. During the early stage of pregnancy, huge energetic changes are going on in the body and acupuncture can help at that energetic level - so the nausea subsides, vomiting (if there was any) or belching fades away, the sense of smell becomes manageable, and energy and emotions return to balance, so that mum to be to enjoy her pregnancy.
The treatment is entirely safe to the pregnancy and generally the morning sickness will resolve from the beginning to the end of the treatment but sometimes it can take a little longer in more severe cases."