Acupuncture for Morning Sickness: What You Need to Know


Acupuncture for morning sickness may be a little intimidating, especially if you’re not all that familiar with acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine. However, acupuncture has a lot to offer, and it has been found to be generally safe to experience during pregnancy.


acupuncture for morning sickness
Photo by Xavier Sotomayor/

While morning sickness can be unpleasant, it’s rarely dangerous for the baby and the expectant mother. There’s even evidence to suggest that morning sickness may actually be an indicator of a healthy pregnancy. Even so, it’s probably something that pregnant women won’t mind doing away with. There are a number of remedies that can help ease the symptoms of morning sickness, and acupuncture may be quite helpful to you.



Morning sickness: What you need to know

Morning sickness seems to one of the more prominent features of pregnancy. In fact, up to 80% of pregnant women to experience morning sickness in the early stages of their pregnancy. Though it’s called “morning sickness,” the nausea and vomiting can actually hit at any time of the day.


Because morning sickness doesn’t pose much of a threat on the pregnant woman and her baby, treatment isn’t necessary in most cases. However, there are some remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness, like consuming more food, drinks and ginger. You can also consider acupuncture for morning sickness, which researchers have found to be effective in helping lessen nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.



Causes and risk factors

Scientists still don’t actually know much about what causes morning sickness, though they have some ideas. It’s possible that increased estrogen levels, increased progesterone levels, a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), or a heightened sensitivity to smells can all contribute to nausea.


Though morning sickness affects a majority of pregnant women, some women may be more at risk than others. If you’ve experienced nausea due to motion sickness, contraceptives, or certain smells before pregnancy, you’re more likely to experience nausea during pregnancy. Meanwhile, if you experienced morning sickness during your first pregnancy, you’re more likely to experience morning sickness in your subsequent pregnancies.


Nausea and vomiting are also more likely if you’re carrying multiples.



What you can do

There are number of things you can do to make yourself feel better or lessen the occurrences of morning sickness. Getting plenty of rest can be effective, since tiredness can make nausea worse. You can also try eating something, like crackers, in the morning about 20 minutes before you get up. Medication like B6 and doxylamine or Diclegis are also safe and effective against morning sickness.


Acupuncture is also a viable option. Just make sure to consult with your doctor first before booking an acupuncture appointment, and make sure to inform your acupuncturist that you’re pregnant.



When to call your doctor

Though morning sickness is generally harmless, there are some instances when it will need medical attention. Hyperemesis gravidarum, which affects about 1-2% of pregnant women, is a severe form of morning sickness that typically goes away by the fifth month of pregnancy. While hyperemesis gravidarum won’t cause harm to the baby, it can result in a low birth weight if it causes the mother to lose too much weight during pregnancy.



Acupuncture for morning sickness

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Acupuncture during pregnancy has been found to be safe and effective against morning sickness and a number of other issues that may arise during pregnancy. It can help reduce the pain you may experience during labor, and it can also help reduce pelvic girdle pain.


Other than its effectiveness against these issues, acupuncture is also a safe alternative to medication. It’s possible that for certain reasons, you may be unable to take certain medications or remedies that can help you with morning sickness. Acupuncture is makes for a great alternative or complementary treatment.



How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to TCM, we all have a life or energy force flowing through us, called qi (pronounced “chee”). When qi flows as it’s supposed to, we’re healthy physically and mentally. However, when the flow of qi is disturbed or concentrated around certain acupuncture points, it can result in illness.


To restore the flow of qi, an acupuncturist will insert fine needles into the relevant acupuncture points. This stimulates the body into restoring health and and its natural equilibrium.


Western medicine and TCM are complementary, and both disciplines can work together to your benefit. This is why it’s best to consult with both your physician and a licensed acupuncturist to figure out the best course of treatment. It’s also best if you bring your medical records when you come in for a consultation with your acupuncturist.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, we’ll make sure to pay utmost attention to your needs and provide you with effective acupuncture for morning sickness. Our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram Pham, has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University. She also has years of experience in providing patients with all-natural healthcare.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Is acupuncture during pregnancy safe?

There are scientific studies that have investigated the safety of undergoing acupuncture during pregnancy. While side effects can occur, they are rare and and are not severe. At worst, the side effects are moderate, and no severe or fatal side effects have been associated with acupuncture during pregnancy. Side effects may include light dizziness, headaches, fatigue (usually after the first session), and some light bruising on the needle insertion sites.


At most, these side effects will last 24 to 48 hours. However, if they last longer than that time frame, make sure to consult with your practitioner.


Some acupuncture points are known to be “forbidden” for pregnant women. Thus, you should make sure to mention your pregnancy when you come in for a consultation with an acupuncturist.



Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic was founded in 1986 by Dr. Jean Yu. In 2016, Tram took over the clinic and continued its tradition of providing age-old treatments to the residents of the Santa Barbara and Goleta area. Here, you can experience acupuncture for morning sickness and other pregnancy-related issues.


To schedule an appointment with Tram, you can call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at If you’re not within driving distance, that’s not a problem. You can also have a consultation with Tram over the phone or via video call. Consider the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic to be your first stop on the road to all-natural and holistic healthcare.