TCM therapies like acupuncture, herbs and tuina can ease symptoms of nausea when you’re expecting.

Most mums-to-be experience morning sickness, an unpleasant side effect of pregnancy.

Contrary to what its name suggests, morning sickness can happen any time. Symptoms may vary, but common ones include loss of appetite and bouts of nausea and vomiting.

In most cases, morning sickness gradually resolves by the end of the first trimester without the need for medication. But some women experience symptoms throughout their pregnancy.

Severe cases of morning sickness some women experience (hyperemesis gravidarum) can cause dehydration and serious complications that may be harmful if left untreated.

TCM treatments range from acupuncture to herbal remedies and tuina, depending on each patient’s needs… TCM helps to reduce nausea and minimise discomforts like headaches, dizziness and insomnia. It can also improve digestion and ease acid reflux.”

While you can try certain tactics to prevent morning sickness, you can also look to natural TCM treatments to manage the symptoms and ease discomfort.

How can TCM be used to alleviate morning sickness?

TCM treatments range from acupuncture to herbal remedies and tuina, depending on each patient’s needs. Overall, TCM helps to reduce nausea and minimise discomforts like headaches, dizziness and insomnia. It can also improve digestion and ease acid reflux.

What are some TCM remedies that are suitable for pregnant women?

A wide variety of effective Chinese herbal formulas can be used to treat morning sickness. Here are three simple remedies:

  1. Si Shen Soup (四神) This nourishing prescription strengthens the digestive system and improves immunity. Sishen soup treats patients with “damp” body constitutions and typically consists of pearl barley ( ), Poria (茯苓), Chinese yam () and Gordon Euryale seeds ().
     
  2. Li Zhong Wan (理中丸) This Chinese herbal supplement warms and reinforces the spleen and stomach, this pill relieves bloating, gas and minor indigestion.
     
  3. Shou Tai Wan (寿胎丸) Shou Tai Wan is formulated to nourish the kidneys and strengthen the spleen. It helps pregnant women with “yang-deficient” constitutions whose symptoms include cold limbs, low tolerance for cold weather and lethargy.

Consult a licenced TCM physician before supplementing your diet with any herbal remedies.

Is it safe to undergo acupuncture during pregnancy?

Yes, the acupuncturist will avoid pressure points that are unsafe for pregnancy. Common acupuncture points used during the treatments are located around the head, forearms, legs, feet, and ears. These points stimulate the stomach, kidney, liver, and du meridians.

What are some easy acupressure points to ease nausea?

For a quick relief of morning sickness, apply moderate to firm pressure on the following points:

Neiguan (内关), PC6 (Pericardium 6) Neiguan is a pressure point that relieves nausea as well as many other different conditions. It is located on the inner wrist ― about the distance of three finger widths below the wrist ― between the tendons of palmaris longus and flexor carpi radialis muscles.

Zusanli (足三里), ST36 (Stomach 36) This point is commonly used to treat gastric discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. Zusanli is a pressure point located about four finger-widths below the kneecap, outside the shin bone.

6 factors to consider when engaging TCM services

  1. Select a licenced TCM practitioner Ensure that your physician is registered with the TCM Practitioners Board on www.healthprofessionals.gov.sg/tcmpb
  1. Communication It is important to understand your TCM diagnosis without any language barriers.
  1. Physician’s clinical Interests While TCM medicine has no specialisations, you can enquire if the physician has clinical interests in the areas you are consulting for.
  1. Location Choose a clinic that is convenient for you, in case follow-up treatments are required.
  1. Forms of medication Some TCM clinics only offer raw herbs that require brewing, while others dispense a variety of “ready-to-consume” medicine in powder, capsules or syrup form.
  1. Range of services As not all clinics offer the full range of treatments, it’s important to ensure that your preferred clinic is able to provide the most suitable treatment for your condition.

Physician Chen Fang practises at Thomson Chinese Medicine.

This article first appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Thomson Medical’s Celebrating Life magazine.

Photos: iStock

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