In the acupuncture clinic when treating women who have been experiencing morning sickness it is common to find that their symptoms occur within the first trimester. They generally first start to feel nauseous around the third or fourth week of pregnancy and even without treatment their symptoms tend to abate by about the tenth or twelfth week. However, in some cases the nausea and vomiting is so severe that it impacts on their ability to stay hydrated and nourished. In these particular cases it is of paramount importance to ameliorate said signs and symptoms as failure to do so may pose a risk to mother and unborn child.
Acupuncture works very nicely as a safe & natural form of therapy when dealing with morning sickness. In my acupuncture practice I use a range of treatment strategies to effectively improve the signs and symptoms of morning sickness. Acupuncture regulates the individual on a systemic level, thus taking into account the hormonal fluctuations and metabolic adaptations occurring in pregnancy is of mass importance in order to reach a beneficial outcome. This concept is crucial, as morning sickness has been associated with increased estrogen levels as well as altered metabolism of carbohydrates. Thus as your acupuncturist my intention is always to assess and address the state of the organs & meridians on a ‘whole’ systemic level.
As an interesting little sidenote, in certain literature I have come across the concept that ‘morning sickness’ may be related to evolutionary physiology, rather than being solely associated with the pathological ‘label’ it has been given. It seems quite logical that with such a large percentage of pregnant women experiencing the morning sickness signs and symptoms there must be some physiological sense to it… Thus, there is a hypothesis that morning sickness occurs to prevent harmful substances from affecting mother and child. Hence, food ingested that is ‘toxic’ to mother or child will induce emesis (vomiting). This makes quite a lot of sense as an unborn child’s immune system is in the early stages of development, as well as the pregnant mothers immune system being in a ‘down regulated’ state so as to not engage the ‘foreign’ baby she is carrying.
Furthermore, in a world of pesticides, additives, pollution and all the rest… it seems plausible that in the state of pregnancy the evolutionary mechanism of morning sickness may be warranted in its widespread activity. I also found it interesting that the incidents of miscarriage were higher in women who experienced no morning sickness. This finding may support the notion of morning sickness as a ‘defence’ mechanism to ‘toxic’ ingested substances that may harm baby or mother in their current state of being. Food for thought, if nothing more…
I would like to state that if an individual is experiencing severe morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum) it is of paramount importance to seek medical attention. Acupuncture can work very well for decreasing nausea & vomiting symptoms, however if one is severely dehydrated due to severe morning sickness and thus in need of fluid/electrolytes, hospital should be the first point of call.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Giancarlo Nerini - Licensed Acupuncturist