Nausea/Vomiting During Pregnancy



Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is thought to occur in approximately half of all pregnancies.  ‘Morning Sickness’ is the common name given, however in most cases it is experienced throughout the day and night.  It usually happens between week six and sixteen, week eight to twelve can be the most intense.  Although women feel tired, cannot eat huge quantities and cannot eat the nutritious food they had hoped while pregnant, it is not thought to harm the baby itself.  The main risk for women is that the vomiting may lead to dehydration, which is why it is so important that they keep their fluids up throughout prolonged periods of vomiting. Keeping a close watch on urine levels is an important indication of body hydration.

Why do women experience nausea?

Exactly why women experience nausea and vomiting in the initial stages of pregnancy is unknown, however there are a few theories which include hormone levels, fatigue and high stress levels.  In Chinese Medicine it is seen as an imbalance with the stomach energy.  The Stomach is responsible for digestion and it also aids the downward movement of food.  A weakening in this downward action of the stomach will result in nausea and vomiting.  Acupuncture treatment at this stage is aimed at strengthening the function of the stomach to allow the unimpeded movement of food and deal with any weakness or disharmonies that are present in the digestive system.  The Acupuncture treatment is coupled with diet and lifestyle advise which will together help to bring harmony back to the digestive function.

Diet and Lifestyle Advise

Each woman is different, what worked for your mother, or sister my not work for yourself.  There is however a number of practices and particular foods that have helped a number of women ease the discomfort felt from nausea.

Fluid Intake – Not having enough fluids and becoming dehydrated is one of the biggest risks for a woman experiencing vomiting at this time.  Some women will find it hard to tolerate drinking water at times of intense nausea.  Even though the water will not help the nausea as such, dehydration will make it feel worse.  Taking small sips often is the best way to maintain your fluid intake.  Dry lips, feeling thirsty and reduced urinary output are three signs of inadequate intake of fluids.

Snacks – Eating smaller portions and more often will help to balance the sugar levels in your body.  Feeling hungry and eating too much can aggravate an already sensitive stomach and make the nausea and vomiting worse.  Ideally eat a small snack every 1-2 hours, a few raisins, nuts, piece of fruit or small sandwich are all good snack foods. Sugary foods which play havoc with your blood sugar levels are important to avoid; opt for more slow releasing foods such as brown rice, oats etc.

Rest – The body is going through a huge amount of changes in the initial weeks of pregnancy and it is important to respect that and listen to what it needs.  Each woman will differ as to how much downtime they need, but everyone should have a time in the day when they can rest to help rejuvenate the body.  Women tend to find that the more activities, work, and stress they have on the more intense the nausea feels.  Really it is about gaining the right balance of lifestyle activities and rest for you.

Recommended Fluids and Foods

Below is a list of some foods that you might find helpful to reduce nausea and vomiting.  As part of the Acupuncture treatment you will be given a list of foods that will help your particular body and taste.


Almonds, baby rice, crackers, dried fruit (especially apricots and raisins), egg sandwiches, grapefruit, noodles, pasta, peaches, pears, peppermints, potatoes, yoghurt (acidophilus).


Apple cider vinegar, chamomile tea, ginger ale, ginger tea, mineral water with lemon juice, peppermint tea, potato soup.

Acupressure Points

There are a number of acupressure points that can be useful to reduce the nausea and vomiting, these will be shown to you at the Acupuncture treatment and can be used in between treatment to aid the benefits and prolong the effects of each treatment.