Objective: To review available evidence about the effectiveness of alternative therapies for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
Data sources: MEDLINE and 13 additional US and international data bases were searched in 1996-1997 for papers that described use of alternative medicine in the treatment of pregnancy and pregnancy complications, specifically those addressing nausea, vomiting, and hyperemesis. Bibliographies of retrieved papers were reviewed to identify additional sources.
Methods of study selection: All relevant English language clinical research papers were reviewed. Randomized clinical trials addressing specifically the use of nonpharmaceutical and nondietary interventions were chosen for detailed review.
Tabulation, integration, and results: Ten randomized trials studying the effects of acupressure, ginger, and pyridoxine on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy were reviewed. Evidence of beneficial effects was found for these three interventions, although the data on acupressure are equivocal. Insufficient evidence was found for the benefits of hypnosis. Other interventions have not been studied.
Conclusion: There is a dearth of research to support or to refute the efficacy of a number of common remedies for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. The best-studied alternative remedy is acupressure, which may afford relief to many women; ginger and vitamin B6 also may be beneficial.