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How does acupuncture support nausea in pregnancy?

Updated: Jun 17

Are you experiencing nausea during your pregnancy? Morning sickness is a common symptom, affecting over half of all pregnant mothers, especially in the first trimester. The main cause of nausea during pregnancy is thought to be a hormone known as hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which is spiked when an embryo is implanted into the uterus. This combined with increased estrogen, low blood sugar, and increased sensitivity to smells makes for the perfect storm when it comes to nausea in pregnancy.

In Chinese Medicine, we treat morning sickness by restoring balance in the liver, stomach, and spleen. According to a study conducted in 2002, women receiving traditional acupuncture treatments reported less nausea and less dry heaving than women who did not. (2) Another study found that acupuncture is just as effective as ondansetron, a medication used to prevent nausea post-surgery. (1) So, acupuncture is an effective and natural way to reduce nausea during pregnancy.

Acupuncture can help reduce nausea and vomiting by:

  • Increasing the secretion of endorphins that inhibit the areas of the brain responsible for nausea

  • Treating the upper gastrointestinal tract to decrease stomach acid

  • Managing stress and promoting relaxation

  • Creating custom nutrition plans as medicine

Here are some additional suggestions for reducing nausea:

  • Increase: fluid intake, protein and healthy fats

  • Try: Ginger Tea, Ginger Chews, Umeboshi plum paste on toast, Nut butter on toast, rice, saltine crackers, getting up slowly, eating small meals every 2-3 hours

  • Avoid: cold foods, caffeine, and spicy foods, computer screens


  1. Gan TJ, Jiao KR, Zenn M, Georgiade G. A randomized controlled comparison of electro-acupoint stimulation or ondansetron versus placebo for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Anesth Analg. 2004;99(4):1070-1075.

  1. Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. Acupuncture to treat neasea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized trail. Birth.2002Mar:29 (1):1-9


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