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Alternative Treatment For Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is an undesired feeling that most pregnant women have to suffer from. In some women this uneasy feeling passes after a couple of months, while in other women can last as long as until delivery. Morning sickness is usually a mild form of nausea and vomiting that is experienced by nearly 80% women. There is also a severe form of nausea and vomiting known as hyperemesis gravidarum that is seen in about 1% of pregnant women. This is so severe that they need to be hospitalized for fluid replenishment, but is not life threatening to either the child or the mother.

Morning sickness can be managed with lifestyle changes in diet and other precautionary methods. There are antiemetic medications in market that some women take when their symptoms are unmanageable by natural ways. There are also alternative treatment methods that have been touted to cure nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP). Although, they are quite popular in some communities, complete scientific research is still lacking for these treatment options.

What Are The Alternative Treatments For Morning Sickness?

Acupuncture and acupressure are two alternative treatment methods, which took its roots in China and now they are so popular that they have their branches all around the world. Acupuncture uses needles to release pressure from various pressure points in the body, while acupressure does not use needles to release pressure, just constant hand pressure. These have been found to be safe for relieving nausea after surgery and chemotherapy. Some studies have shown that these methods are as effective as antiemetics at relieving nausea without the side effects. There are some studies that argue that they also relieve nausea during pregnancy, but still further research is needed. The pressure point for NVP is the Neiguan pressure point (P6 point), which is present on the inner wrist about 2-3 finger width apart from the crease of arm and hand situated between the two prominent tendons. There are also wrist bands available to put extra pressure on these points in both the wrists.

Aromatherapy is another alternative treatment option that has helped reduce nausea in morning sickness. Aromatherapy has calming and relaxing effect to your nerves and senses; however, in some pregnant women aromatherapy can make nausea worse, thus it should be used with caution. Aromatherapy uses essential oils in different forms, such as vapors, massage oil, bath oil or in tea form to relax the nerves. Peppermint oil is one such oil that has shown positive as well as mixed results at reducing nausea in pregnant women. Other oils touted to have antiemetic effect are lemon oil, spearmint oil, and orange oil.

Muscle relaxation through progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) exercises or through massage have also been tried to reduce nausea. PMR is a technique in which systematic muscle tension and relaxation techniques are utilized to relax muscles deeply, which ultimately help relieve nausea in morning sickness. It has been utilized in chemotherapy receiving patients with effective results. Another way of relaxing muscles is through massage therapy, which can release the overall tension and stress of the body.

Reflexology is another alternative therapy for morning sickness, which is quite similar to acupressure, but they work under different principles of energy and reflex points. Reflexology utilizes reflex maps in the body that are particularly found in the feet, hands and outer ear. These points when stimulated properly can help ease nausea symptoms. However, any evidence regarding its effectiveness in treating NVP is still lacking.

Another alternative therapy is hypnotherapy that aims at treating NVP through hypnosis, which helps to reduce any phobia, anxiety or other emotions that may be causing morning sickness. Music is another form of therapy, and is provided in the form of an app. When nausea is exaggerated by movement, this app along with music in addition to pulsations helps balance the sensitive and fine hearing mechanism of the inner ear, but you need to use headphones instead of earphones to achieve this.

Before indulging in any of the above alternative therapies, it is prudent to discuss with your obstetrician about them.


  1. American Pregnancy Association: “Morning Sickness Relief” Link: https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/morning-sickness-relief-791

  2. Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: “Acupressure and Acupuncture: Techniques for Nausea and Vomiting in Early Pregnancy” Link: https://journals.lww.com/jpnnjournal/Abstract/2004/07000/Acupressure_and_Acupuncture__Techniques_for_Nausea.12.aspx

  3. International Journal of Nursing Studies: “The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Reducing Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6437396/

  4. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing: “The Effect of Music and Aromatherapy on Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting in Abdominal Surgery Patients” Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10696725/

  5. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice: “The Use of Aromatherapy for Postoperative Pain Management: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials” Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25907183/

  6. European Journal of Oncology Nursing: “Effects of Progressive Muscle Relaxation on Anxiety and Quality of Life in Home-Based Carers of Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial” Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21145024/

  7. Journal of Clinical Nursing: “Effect of Foot Reflexology on Nausea, Vomiting, and Fatigue of Pregnant Women in Their First Trimester” Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23094646/

  8. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology: “Psychological Interventions for Hyperemesis Gravidarum: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32686991/

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 19, 2023

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