Ease Morning Sickness
NEW YORK (Reuters Health)
- Pregnant women who suffer from nausea and vomiting may find
relief through the traditional Chinese technique of acupressure,
or a modern variation on the technique in which electrical stimulation
is delivered to the pressure point.
Both techniques helped women in early pregnancy who were experiencing
morning sickness, according to two studies published in the September
issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.
Acupressure operates on the same principle as acupuncture, in
which needles are used to put pressure on certain points of the
body. The less invasive technique relies on the thumb or a button
to apply pressure and lasts between 3 and 15 minutes. Acustimulation
uses an electrical stimulus instead of pressure.
In both studies, women received pressure or electrical stimulation
on an area above the wrist on the inside of the forearm known
as the Neiguan, or P6, point. Stimulation of this point is thought
to relieve nausea and vomiting related to morning sickness, as
well as from chemotherapy and motion sickness.
To investigate, Elisabet Werntoft and Dr. Anna-Karin Dykes from
Lund University in Sweden asked 60 healthy pregnant women who
suffered from nausea and vomiting to wear an acupressure band
at the Neiguan point, at another point (placebo point) or to use
One day after the study began, women who wore bands at either
point reported feeling less nauseous. But women who wore bands
exerting pressure on the P6 point continued to feel less nauseous
14 days later, while those who wore bands at the placebo point
began to experience symptoms after 6 days of relief.
``Our conclusion is that the method seems to be useful in reducing
nausea in pregnancy and that if it is possible to eliminate this
discomfort by wearing a wristband applying pressure at (the Neiguan
point) it is worth trying,'' Werntoft and Dykes wrote.
The bands are cheap, are not associated with any side effects
and deliver immediate benefits, the researchers added.
Indeed, many of the drugs used to treat nausea and vomiting may
cause birth defects, noted Dr. R. Nathan Slotnick, the author
of the second study. This leaves women who experience severe morning
sickness--who may be at risk for dehydration, nutritional deficiencies
and electrolyte imbalances--with few options.
``The cost of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy in terms of medical
care and work time loss are staggering,'' Slotnick, from Eastern
Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, told Reuters Health. He found
that symptoms of morning sickness declined when women wore wristbands
delivering electrical stimulation to the P6 point.
In the study, 41 pregnant women who reported nausea and vomiting
in the early first trimester of pregnancy wore a band that is
used to treat nausea caused by motion sickness, chemotherapy and
pregnancy. After wearing the band for an average of about 2 months,
most patients reported that they felt less nauseous and nearly
all said they would use the device during a future pregnancy or
recommend it to someone else.
Slotnick pointed out that 50% to 90% of pregnant women experience
morning sickness or a more severe condition, hyperemesis gravidarum,
in which women vomit several times a day.
Investigators of both studies had no financial connection to
the makers of the products used in their research.
SOURCE: The Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2001;46:811-814,
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