Acupressure as adjuvant treatment for the inpatient management of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: A double-blind randomized controlled trial

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2017 Apr;43(4):662-668. doi: 10.1111/jog.13269.


Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of acupressure at the Neiguan point (Pericardium [P]6) as adjuvant treatment during inpatient management of severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Methods: Low risk, spontaneously conceived singleton pregnancies were randomly assigned to a treatment group, who received an acupressure band placed at the Neiguan point (P6) or a placebo group who received an otherwise identical non-stimulating wristband. Participants wore the band for 12 h daily for the first three days of admission. The primary outcome measure was the severity of symptoms of nausea, vomiting and retching, recorded according to Pregnancy-Unique Quantification of Emesis and Nausea score.

Results: There was a statistically significant improvement in Pregnancy-Unique Quantification of Emesis and Nausea scores from day 1 until day 3 of admission in the treatment group compared with the placebo. Patients who received Neiguan point acupressure also showed a significant improvement in their ketonuria scores. The treatment group required a shorter hospital stay compared with the placebo. The only reported side effect of the acupressure band was redness on the wrist.

Conclusions: The use of the acupressure band at the Neiguan point (P6) for 12 h daily for three days for inpatients with hyperemesis gravidarum significantly reduced the symptoms of nausea, vomiting and retching and ketonuria and led to a reduction in hospital stay. We recommend the use of the acupressure band at the Neiguan point (P6) as an adjunct/supplementary therapy to co-exist with the standard care of management for hyperemesis gravidarum, particularly in low-risk pregnant women.

Keywords: Neiguan point; acupressure; adjuvant treatment; hyperemesis gravidarum; nausea; vomiting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / instrumentation
  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Morning Sickness / therapy*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pregnancy