Morning Sickness: Acupressure and Acupressure

Avoid taking medications for morning sickness if you possibly can to avoid any risk or danger to your baby. Non-food, alternative medicine approaches that may help include acupressure wristbands and acupuncture are what some women use to relief their discomfort.

Acupuncture may be helpful in relieving nausea. The acupuncture point is on the inside of the forearm, two thumbs up from the inside of the wrist crease between the two tendons. If you are considering acupuncture, talk to your doctor or midwife first and seek an acupuncturist that has been specially trained to work with pregnant women.

Acupressure wristbands are soft cotton bands with a plastic bead, which were designed for sea sickness and travel sickness. They provide pressure, without any needles. They have helped many pregnant women through morning sickness (although some studies suggests that it may be largely a placebo effect, opinions are mixed). The plastic bead presses on an acupressure point on the underside of your wrist and works on a similar principal as acupuncture, reducing nausea. They are simple, inexpensive and are sold at many drug, health and boating stores.

Morning sickness begins during the first trimester, when the your baby is most vulnerable to developing birth defects. Therefore, medications are best avoided during that time unless the benefit outweighs any possible risk to the baby. For the most severe, persistent nausea and vomiting that is causing dehydration or weight loss (hyperemesis gravidarum), your doctor or midwife may prescribe an anti-nausea medication for you that is not known to cause any risk to your unborn baby.

Since the disaster of Thalidomide in the 1950s and 60s, the use of medical treatments have been commonly avoided when possible, out of concern about the medications’ safety. Thalidomide was used by some pregnant women in over 50 countries, mainly Europe and Canada (but not in the US) to treat morning sickness and was banned worldwide, because women who took the drug in early pregnancy gave birth to children with tragic birth defects. According to the March of Dimes, more than 10,000 children around the world were born with major malformations, many missing arms and legs and most not surviving past their first year. Thalidomide was not tested for effects on unborn babies before it was prescribed to pregnant women. The more reassuring news is that the FDA now requires companies to test drugs for harmful effects on unborn babies before putting them on the market.

No drugs are currently FDA-approved for the treatment of morning sickness. However, conventional treatment for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy includes medications such as Dramamine, Unisom, Benadryl, Tigan, Zofran, Phenergan, Anergan, Reglan, Prednisone, Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid, Prevacid and sometimes a combination of Unisom and vitamin B6. DO NOT take motion-sickness or nausea medications of any kind without your doctor’s okay.

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