• Ken Haydock

Acupuncture for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (NVP)

Soon after receiving the wonderful news, many pregnant women get their first taste of pregnancy related nausea and vomiting. If you are affected, it may be comforting to know that you are not alone. Indeed, most pregnant women (about 70%) suffer from it to various degrees (1). The so-called 'Morning sickness' can be present at any time of the day or even constantly. For many women it peaks between week 8 and 12 and in rare cases, it may last throughout the whole pregnancy.

The main culprit for the nausea is seen in the rapid increase of the hormone hCG alongside a rise of oestrogen.

How can acupuncture help your pregnancy related nausea?

Acupuncture is known to provide relief in pregnancy related nausea and vomiting. A relevant study from 2002 (2) on nearly 600 women, has shown that women who received traditional acupuncture experienced less nausea and dry retching at 2 weeks into the treatment.

Another study from 2000 (3), looked into the most severe form of NVP, called hyperemesis gravidarum. Although the sample sizes were small, it has been shown that active acupuncture led to the reduction of nausea and vomiting.

What can you expect from an acupuncture treatment?

Acupuncture offers you an alternative to just putting up with pregnancy related nausea and vomiting. After a thorough assessment of your symptoms according to Chinese medicine, we will select a small number of acupuncture points on your body. During the treatment, you will rest for about 25-30 min. To stay in control, you will likely require one to two treatments a week depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Other things you can do to help your pregnancy related nausea:

  • Eat small meals and snacks frequently. Some women have some rice crackers on their night desk to help overcome the first bout of sickness in the morning.

  • You may suffer more nausea if you are hungry, so keep your blood sugar stable.

  • Bland foods seem to be best for many women, such as simple carbs (rice, bananas, potato soup etc.)

  • Drink sufficient water, especially if you lose fluids due to vomiting. Coconut water is a great electrolyte.

  • Coffee and other stimulants (tea, cola) are best avoided during pregnancy.

  • Some pregnancy supplements like Naturobest (first trimester) contain Ginger. Ginger can also be added to your tea or cooking to ease your nausea. In Chinese medicine, Ginger has a long history of assisting the digestive function and soothing the stomach.


(1) Einarson, T.R., Piwko, C., & Koren G. (2013). Prevalence of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy in the USA: A Meta Analysis. J Popul Ther Clin Pharmacol. 20(2), 163-70.

(2) Smith, C., Crowther, C., & Beilby, J. (2002). Acupuncture to Treat Nausea and Vomiting in Early Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Birth, 29(1), 1-9.

(3) Carlsson, C. P.O., Axemo, P., Bodin, A., Carstensen, H., Ehrenroth, B., Madegård-Lind, I., Navander, C. (2000). Manual Acupuncture Reduces Hyperemesis Gravidarum: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Single-Blind, Crossover Study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 20(4), 273–279.

17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All