Results

The outcome was that all the treatment groups showed less nausea than those women who had no treatment. The traditional acupuncture groups showed less nausea in the first week of treatment, and the PC-6 only group from the second week of treatment. By the third week the sham acupuncture group showed less nausea. Perinatal outcome showed no difference in all four study groups so it was deemed that acupuncture in early pregnancy was thought to be a safe and effective treatment for nausea.

A more recent pilot study on acupuncture and acupressure at PC-6 in the treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) showed positive results (Habek et al 2004). However, this was a small study and HG is a serious complication and care must be taken in the treatment of these women.

POINTS TO TREAT

• PC-6: this is the point that has been most researched for its use in relieving nausea, not only for pregnancy but also for postoperative sickness. It helps to relax the chest and diaphragm and to ease the sickness by removing stagnant Qi in the Upper and Middle Jiao. It is the mainstay of morning sickness treatments, and is a good point to combine with other points according to the patient's history.

• ST-36: this point works very well in deficient conditions and for patterns of rebellious Stomach Qi. It is good combined with PC-6 and CV-12.

• CV-10: this is the crossing point of the Conception and Spleen channels. One of its functions is to control the cardiac sphincter at the entrance to the stomach, so that it is an effective point to use to help retention of food in the Stomach, in combination with PC-6.

• CV-12: this corresponds to the centre of energy for the Spleen, and is good for nausea caused by deficient Spleen and Stomach conditions. Use moxa if the deficiency is accompanied by Cold. The point is good for rebellious Stomach Qi.

• CV-14: this helps the Qi to descend from the Collecting point of the Heart. It is good to use if there are a lot of emotional problems.

• ST-19 or 20: I use this in combination with KI-21, especially for patterns of the Stomach where the patient feels fullness or blockage in the epigastrium that is relieved by vomiting.

• ST-21: this, combined with ST-44 for Stomach Heat, is beneficial.

• ST-34: this is the Accumulation point of the Stomach, which I use if there are excess Stomach conditions. It is especially good in combination with PC-6 for excess vomiting in pregnancy.

• ST-40: this is used in combination with PC-6, especially where there is a lot of Phlegm.

• KI-21: I find this excellent in an emergency combined with ST-19.

• SP-4 on the right and PC-6 on the left: this is a prescription (Maciocia 1998) that I have used very effectively for women with very persistent conditions, where other points have not been making any significant improvement. I would use it as a last resort because I feel that it is a strong treatment.

Figure 5.1 Main abdominal points used for morning sickness. (Reproduced with permission from Maciocia 1998, p. 453.)

Xyphoid process

(O) ,

KI-21 ST-20

Stomach channel

Kidney channel

Umbilicus

Umbilicus

Some of these points are illustrated in Figure 5.1.

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