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Morning Sickness5


Morning Sickness5

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									            THE NATURAL HEALTH
                                         Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy although not all pregnant women experience it. It may range
from mild nausea to very severe and frequent vomiting. It usually lasts only for about 3 months but in severe cases it
may go on for a very long time or even for the whole pregnancy. Morning sickness is a condition that occurs naturally
during pregnancy. Studies show that between 50-80% of all women experience some nausea or vomiting while
pregnant, which usually subsides with time. However, between 1-2% suffer a condition known as hyperemesis
gravidarium, an instance of morning sickness so severe and long-lasting that it can cause weight loss, dehydration, and
even hospitalization. Morning sickness is closely linked to a relative imbalance between blood and qi (pronounced
chee) which means energy. During the first 3 months of pregnancy profound changes take place in the mothers system,
at this time the mothers blood, essence and Kidney energy nourish the fetus, promoting the formation of all major body
systems and organs. This places a great strain on the blood, essence and Kidney energy of the mother leading to
deficiency of these systems causing the energy to rise upward inducing nausea and/or vomiting.

Several studies have documented the use of acupuncture to combat nausea and vomiting, with PC6, an acupoint located
above the wrist on each arm, among the points most commonly tested. A randomized, placebo-controlled crossover
study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management has found that stimulating PC6 appears to ease the
symptoms of morning sickness, and that acupuncture has a "clinically useful effect" in treating hyperemesis.

Prognosis and Prevention
Acupuncture is the recommended treatment of choice for the treatment of morning sickness. I find acupuncture
excellent for stopping or alleviating morning sickness, working in almost every case. In mild cases one or two
treatments a week are sufficient, whereas in severe and protracted cases, it might be necessary to give treatment every
other day until vomiting stops.

As for prevention, although morning sickness is caused by the changes taking place in the body in the first three
months of pregnancy, the severity and duration of the morning sickness depends on the pre-existing state of the
womans digestive system. Thus, by the time she is pregnant, especially for the first time, there is little she can do about
it during pregnancy as she will need to eat more than normal. However, if a woman suffers from morning sickness she
should try to eat little and light and often and she should avoid greasy and fatty foods.

Acupuncture Points
Lets now discuss the various acupuncture points used in the treatment of morning sickness. The points are used to
pacify the penetrating vessel (which is a channel of energy that runs up the centre of the body), to subdue rising Qi,
harmonize the stomach and stop vomiting. Acupuncture in pregnancy is very safe and points used above the belly
button are ok to use in the first 3 months of pregnancy. As discussed above pericardium 6 which is located just above
the wrist is one of the most important points in the treatment of morning sickness, this point harmonizes the stomach as
well as descending the rising energy of the heart which is one of the causes of morning sickness. Another important
point is called Zhongwan which is about 4 inches above the belly button. This point harmonizes the stomach and
decends rising Qi it also tonifies the stomach and fortifies the spleen, it regulates energy (Qi) and alleviates pain. There
are other points that can be used according to the other symptoms and signs that a patient may present with along with
the morning sickness.

Patterns of Disharmony
Apart from the general symptoms of morning sickness a patient may present with other symptoms of disharmony, for
instance if the morning sickness is very pronounced or if they persist beyond the three months or both, then it is most
likely that there is an underlying pathological condition that aggravates the morning sickness of pregnancy.

In this case the patient would be given treatment according to the pattern differentiation of Chinese medicine, and
would be treated according to that particular pattern.

Kim Mc Menamin Dip.Ac. Lic.Ac. C.Ac. China

Kim Mc Menamin is a Registered Licensed Practitioner of Chinese Medicine VHI and BUPA approved
He can be contacted at the Natural Health Centre, Millfield, Buncrana, on 077/62606

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