Acupuncture for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (NVP)
Nausea and vomiting are thought to occur in approximately 50% of all pregnancies. Although often referred to as ‘morning sickness’, the symptoms can actually occur at any time of the day or night. Usually NVP occurs between the sixth and sixteenth weeks of pregnancy, but some women can experience it right from the start, and for some it continues throughout the whole pregnancy. For some women it can be simply a mild sensation of nausea, whilst others vomit several times a day.
Severe vomiting can lead to dehydration, which can in turn lead to hospitalization so as to restore the lost intravenous fluids.
Conventional treatment aims to minimize symptoms by making suitable lifestyle changes, for example getting plenty or rest and drinking small amounts of fluid often. If this fails, a short course of a suitable anti-sickness medication may be prescribed by the GP.
Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy and TCM
Acupuncture can be an invaluable form of treatment during pregnancy, especially since many women are reluctant to take medication during pregnancy, and many drugs are not suitable for use during pregnancy anyway.
Nausea and vomiting in TCM are seen as being caused by the Qi of the stomach reversing its usual direction of flow, or ‘rebelling’. Acupuncture can be very effective at ‘subduing’ rebellious stomach Qi. In addition, it is necessary to discover why this is happening, which is to say, what the underlying disharmony of the woman’s energy is which is leading the stomach Qi to become rebellious, and cause nausea or vomiting. The acupuncture treatment administered will subsequently be tailored to address this issue as well as the physical symptoms to stop the woman’s symptoms from reoccurring after treatment. Treatment of NVP with acupuncture usually involves the insertion of a small number of very fine acupuncture needles at key points on the body which have been proven to help subdue stomach Qi, and so stop nausea and vomiting. Sometimes relief is immediate, although regular treatments are usually required, especially if the patient is experiencing vomiting as well as nausea.
Is Acupuncture Helpful in the treatment of Nausea & Vomiting in Pregnancy?
A 2002 trial conducted in Adelaide, Australia on 593 women suffering from NVP found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for nausea and dry retching1. “Our results have shown that as little as one acupuncture treatment can significantly change the way these women feel,” said research co-ordinator Dr Caroline Smith2.
The British Acupuncture Council have also published a briefing paper on NVP which can be accessed at www.acupuncture.org.uk by clicking on Research, followed by Documents. This paper is also available from our clinic on request.
Morning Sickness Testimonials
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I first visited Sean in 2004 whilst pregnant with my second child. I was in the throws of morning sickness and felt utterly miserable and unable to function. I had a course of Acupuncture treatment which worked miracles, even after my first session. My sickness abated and my mood lifted. I felt like a different person. The treatment is not painful; I find it very relaxing and often nod off!
I have been back to the clinic on and off ever since. Nadine treated me for my Eczema, which had resisted steroid creams and antihistamines for over 12 years. I had a course of 5 sessions and it is now completely cured. The difference was remarkable after the first treatment. I am a very nervous flier and have been to see Nadine and Nalinee before my last two flights. This kept me calm and well – not the usual gibbering vomiting wreck I normally am.
I am currently bringing my 5 year old daughter, Katie to see Sean and Nalinee. She had a nasty case of Eczema on her legs and was suffering from regular recurring bouts of Tonsillitis. Her Eczema has completely gone and she has only had one reoccurrence of Tonsillitis in the past few months, which only lasted 24 hours. Her general health has improved, she is now dry at night and sleeps much better than she did. As well as the Acupuncture, Sean has shown me massage techniques to use on Katie each night, and has advised me on her diet.
Katie loves going to the clinic; all the staff are brilliant with her. She tends to giggle her way through her treatments. For us, Acupuncture has worked 100% and I would certainly recommend Sean and his team to anyone.
1Smith C. et al (2002) Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: A randomized controlled trial Birth 29 (1)
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