Morning Sickness and Chinese Medicine

During pregnancy many women experience aches, pains, digestive problems and allergies. Acupuncture is very effective for all of these ailments and is a wonderful alternative to drugs, which is important as many pregnant patients are hesitant to take anything. In this post, from the Portland Acupuncture Blog, Amy writes about one of the most common ailments of pregnancy – morning sickness.

Why oh why is it called “morning” sickness? For so many women, this part of an otherwise joyous experience lasts all day, sometimes through the night, and occasionally in the afternoon. Many women I’ve spoken to say that they either had no symptoms, a little nausea, a lot of nausea, or were just constantly sick. The consensus seemed to be that the majority of the nausea was over by around 12 weeks, but for some it lasted 20 weeks (halfway through the pregnancy).

There are often changes with the symptoms as the levels of hormones change, and the body begins to adjust to life with extra hormones and blood. The hormone HGC (human chorionic gonadotropin) is said to be the possible cause of the heaving and nausea. Others say the shifting hormones make you out of balance, which is very close to the way we see it in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the early stages of pregnancy, a woman’s body is Yin. When egg is fertilized, it begings to bring more Yang into the body, which in turn causes something of an upheaval and imbalance of the Yin and Yang within the body, leading to nausea.

Acupuncture practitioners have wonderful tools to help ease this sometimes difficult transition. Besides using acupuncture needles, a common formula for nausea is Gui Zhi Tang, which contains cinnamon bark, red dates, white peony, and ginger- a great combination to warm and ease the stomach as well as help balance out the struggle with the Yin and Yang of the body. Once this balance is achieved, the nausea should improve. There are other formulas that may be helpful, and acupuncture treatments are very safe and effective if you are worried about taking formulas or anything besides prenatal care. Also, keep in mind that this formula may not be for everyone- ALWAYS check with a practitioner before taking formulas during your pregnancy.

Common tips from women were:

-eat small meals frequently,

-try to eat a little protein in the morning

-keep crackers, dry toast, and clear soda near the bed to avoid getting hungry (which may lead to nausea)

-take prenatal vitamins on a full stomach

*If you experience a fever, or are vomiting so severely you cannot keep food or liquids down, contact your health care provider immediately*

I welcome any more tips for discussion! Chinese Medicine is a great tool, and I feel that sharing the wisdom passed down from women is the best way to learn more about how we can help each other at this special time. Also, check out Blossom Clinc’s recommendations for morning sickness!

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