Reported June 08, 2009
Acupuncture can help relieve the symptoms of indigestion
in pregnancy, new research suggests.
A small study involving 36 women found "significant improvements" among
those treated with acupuncture.
Digestive disorders are one of the most frequent complaints in pregnancy,
with 45% to 80% of women reporting things like heartburn, pain or
discomfort, regurgitation, belching and bloating. Such symptoms tend to get
worse as a pregnancy progresses, said researchers from Sao Paulo University
Their study, published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, included
women aged 15 to 39 who were 15 to 30 weeks into their pregnancy. All were
suffering from symptoms of indigestion and none had had acupuncture in the
None of the women had an underlying condition that could have caused the
symptoms and none had a history of similar problems before they fell
The researchers used heartburn as a measure of
indigestion and asked women to rank the severity and frequency of their
symptoms from one to 10, with 10 being the greatest imaginable. Their
ability to eat and sleep due to their discomfort was also measured.
The women were split into two groups - with one group receiving acupuncture
and the other receiving conventional treatment, including counselling on
dietary changes and indigestion remedies.
The acupuncture group underwent treatment once a week, or twice a week if
necessary, over an eight-week period. The women had a minimum of eight and a
maximum of 12 sessions each. On average, 12 needles were used and were left
in the body for about 25 minutes per session.
The study found that average heartburn intensity fell by at least a half in
15 out of 20 (75%) women receiving acupuncture compared with seven out of 16
(44%) women not receiving it.
The authors added: "After treatment 15/20 (75%) of the members of the study
group reported an improvement of at least 50% in respect to eating compared
to only 5/16 (31%) of the control group. In respect to sleeping, 14/20 in
the study group and 4/16 in the control group also reported improvements of
50%. In our cohort, acupuncture proved to exert a great influence in
minimising the heartburn in pregnancy during treatment." They called for the
research to be replicated in a larger study group.
Source : The Press Association