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Morning Sickness And Nausea During Pregnancy? Try Acupuncture

Most women who have ever been pregnant have shared the unfortunate and unpleasant experience known as morning sickness. In fact, the vomiting and nausea that are often associated with the early stages of pregnancy affect 50-80% of women during the first trimester of their pregnancies. Though some expectant mothers may seek relief with certain home remedies such as eating crackers or drinking hot tea, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) aims to help women by addressing the imbalances that have been shown to cause morning sickness.

The ancient practice of acupuncture, which involves strategically inserting small needles through the skin, may be just the thing that can help pregnant women to feel their best and get back to their normal routines during the early months of their pregnancies. If you would like to know more about acupuncture for morning sickness, then read on.

Causes of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy : Chinese Medicine View

Practitioners of TCM believe that pregnancy nausea can be the result of an imbalance between the liver and the stomach or spleen. Possible causes of such imbalances may include a rise in the levels of progesterone which can slow the digestion process and cause a buildup of excess acid in the stomach. This slowdown can delay gastric emptying leading to feelings of nausea. Nausea can also result if there is a rise in stomach Qi or stagnation of liver Qi. Some treatments for morning sickness aim to clear stomach heat while pacifying the liver in an effort to reduce vomiting and keep the fetus calm while others help by improving the motility of the stomach.

Can Acupuncture for Pregnancy Nausea Help?

Used for centuries in TCM, acupuncture has a proven track record of helping to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness. It does so in a number of ways. For example:

  • Decreases the Secretion of Stomach Acid: As hormone levels rise, an increase in stomach acid secretion may occur. When there is heat stagnation in the stomach or liver, acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment. Acupuncture may also help by reducing the rate of fluid secretion in the small intestine. Certain acupoints, such as Ren-12 Zhongwan, can help to soothe the increase in stomach Qi which can result in relief from nausea in some patients.
  • Increases the Secretion of Endorphins: Part of acupuncture’s success in relieving morning sickness symptoms is its ability to increase the release of feel-good hormones known as endorphins. This increase in hormone levels has an analgesic affect and can help to reduce discomfort and the perception of pain.
  • Increases Secretion of ACTH: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is released in response to stressors to help the body to reduce its stress response. It does so by playing a role in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal cortex axis (HPAA). Acupuncture can aid in regulating the function of both ACTH and HPAA.
  • Helps to Reduce Stress: Pregnancy is often a stressful time for most women. Unfortunately, emotional stress can play a large role in making pregnancy nausea worse. Because acupuncture can help to regulate hormones that are associated with stress management, it can help reduce stress levels in pregnant women. There have been studies that have shown that the role of acupuncture in regulating heart rate may help to decrease physiological and emotional stress.

What to Expect from Acupuncture for Pregnancy Nausea?

If you are considering trying acupuncture for morning sickness, the treatments may vary from person to person. Some women can expect to have weekly treatments for as little as four weeks. Others may possibly require treatment throughout the first trimester in order to achieve relief from symptoms. A study out of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Adelaide University in Australia treated women in their first trimester with weekly acupuncture for four weeks. The results were reports of fewer instances of dry retching and a decrease in feelings of nausea.

However, this may not be the case for all expecting mothers. Outcomes will vary from person to person. Though some women can expect to have weekly treatment for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, other women reported relief form their symptoms within their first week of receiving acupuncture as a treatment. To ensure that you receive optimal treatment, be sure to speak to a qualified TCM practitioner to understand how your treatment needs may differ.  You can book to speak with our experienced and qualified acupuncturist here.

Is Acupuncture for Morning Sickness Safe?

Thankfully, acupuncture is proven to be both safe and effective for pregnant women. Women who have tried acupuncture for pregnancy nausea experience almost no adverse effects. Not only is it safe, but acupuncture is a non-invasive, drug-free option for treating morning sickness.


Since so few women are spared from the feelings of nausea during their early pregnancies, treatments such as acupuncture can help many women to feel better during the first trimester when morning sickness is usually at its worst. Due to the slowdown in stomach motility, bland foods and teas are often not kept down long enough to be effective in reducing vomiting. With its centuries-old history, acupuncture has long shown its effectiveness when it comes to helping to improve digestion motility, increase the secretion of feel-good hormones, and reduce levels of emotional stress that can accompany pregnancy. It is both drug-free and non-invasive, and it has been proven safe when performed on pregnant patients. If you are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant soon, then consult with a TCM practitioner to learn more about how acupuncture for morning sickness can help you to feel your best throughout your pregnancy.

For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with morning sickness, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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