Nausea of Pregnancy
Nausea afflicts the majority of women during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, this is also the precise period in which drug therapy is most worrisome, due to the extreme vulnerability of the fetus at that time. For this reason, conventional medicine has to some extent welcomed alternative medicine’s quest for safe, natural treatment options.
Principal Proposed Natural Treatments
Two natural therapies, vitamin B 6
For natural treatments relevant to other aspects of pregnancy, see the articles on
Vitamin B 6
For many years, conventional practitioners have recommended vitamin B
supplements to treat morning sickness. In 1995, a large
At this dose (30 mg daily), vitamin B
is believed to be entirely safe. For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full
Ginger is a nausea remedy recommended by many physicians, as well as by traditional healers from a number of countries. In 2001, a relatively well-designed double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 70 pregnant women evaluated the effectiveness of ginger for morning sickness.
One study of 138 women and another of 291 women found ginger equally effective for morning sickness as vitamin B
For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full article on
Several studies have evaluated the potential benefits for morning sickness of treatment on a single acupuncture point—P6—traditionally thought to be effective for relief of nausea and vomiting. This point is located on the inside of the forearm, about 2 inches above the wrist crease. Most positive trials have investigated the effects of pressure on this point (acupressure), rather than needling. The most common means used involve a wristband with a pearl-sized bead in it, situated over P6. It exerts pressure by itself while it is worn, and the user can also press on it for extra stimulation.
In general, acupressure has shown good results.
These results are consistent with previous studies that also found benefit.
For more information, including safety issues, see the full
Other Proposed Natural Treatments
A combination of
Pregnant women commonly develop iron deficiency anemia. Iron supplements, however, can be hard on the stomach, thereby aggravating morning sickness. One study found evidence that a fairly low supplemental dose of iron—20 mg daily—is very nearly as effective for treating anemia of pregnancy as 40 mg or even 80 mg daily, and it is less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects.
11. Czeizel AE, Dudas I, Fritz G, et al. The effect of periconceptional multivitamin-mineral supplementation on vertigo, nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 1992;251:181-185.
12. Ussher JM, Dewberry C, Malson H, et al. The relationship between health related quality of life and dietary supplementation in British middle managers: a double blind placebo controlled study. Psychol Health. 1995;10:97-111.
17. Habek D, Barbir A, Habek JC, et al. Success of acupuncture and acupressure of the pc 6 acupoint in the treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd . 2004;11:20-23.
19. Hsu E, Pei V, Shofer FS, et al. A prospective randomized controlled trial of acupressure vs. sham for pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting in the emergency department. Acad Emerg Med . 2003;10:437.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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