Did you know acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can help with morning sickness? There are six patterns of imbalance that can cause nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and of course they can come in combination. Each pattern comes with its own set of symptoms and specifics to when, how, and what makes you nauseous. Each pattern also comes with its own recommendations on how to eat and what to do to alleviate symptoms. This is why drinking water through the day works for some and absolutely makes things worse for others, while eating small meals through the day works for some while that does absolutely nothing for others!
For the most part patterns fall into two groups – either your digestion is not strong enough so you show signs of weak digestion: poor appetite, nausea in the morning or on an empty stomach, and only able to handle small amounts at a time – or - too much in your digestion in which case the nausea tends to hit after meals and gets worse towards the end of the day. Of course having your digestion be overburdened can easily happen if your digestion is too weak to handle whatever you're eating - and thus it is easy to end up with BOTH patterns. Navigating which pattern you have, the nuances of it and therefore which diet or even lifestyle changes to make can be tricky, which is why its good to go to an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner who specializes in treating pregnant women.
Digestive issues during pregnancy can be considered more as a barometer for the health of your digestion as a whole. Morning sickness is an opportunity to treat long standing issues that you may even have gotten used to and consider normal but are really a sign of imbalance, the pregnancy just bringing it to the forefront as your body demands nutrients for your growing baby. Treating morning sickness will not only positively impact your digestion, but will also improve breastmilk quality and quantity after baby is born. If you want to minimize or avoid morning sickness altogether, consider working on your digestion before pregnancy.
Treatment is simple, and usually very effective – acupuncture, ear seeds, herbs, and a shift in diet to fit the pattern. While needles and herbs in combination are ideal, stand alone treatments can be just as effective for long lasting improvement.
Johanna Herget, LAc