Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of acupressure in reducing nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
Methods: Symptomatic pregnant women were randomized to one of two acupressure groups: one treatment group using an acupressure point (PC-6) and one sham control group using a placebo point. Subjects were blind to the group assignment. Each evening for 10 consecutive days, the subjects completed an assessment scale describing the severity and frequency of symptoms that occurred. Data from the first 3 days were used as pre-treatment scores. Beginning on the morning of the fourth day, each subject used acupressure at her assigned point for 10 minutes four times a day. Data from day 4 were discarded to allow 24 hours for the treatment to take effect. Data from days 5-7 were used to measure treatment effect.
Results: Sixty women completed the study. There were no differences between groups in attrition, parity, fetal number, maternal age, gestational age at entry, or pre-treatment nausea and emesis scores. Analysis of variance indicated that both groups improved significantly over time, but that nausea improved significantly more in the treatment group than in the sham control group (F1,58 = 10.4, P = .0021). There were no differences in the severity or frequency of emesis between the groups. There was a significant positive correlation (r = 0.261, P = .044) between maternal age and severity of nausea.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that acupressure at the PC-6 anatomical site is effective in reducing symptoms of nausea but not frequency of vomiting in pregnant women.