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No evidence for morning sickness treatments

By Lilian Anekwe

None of the many current treatment options for women with morning sickness have enough evidence to show they are effective and safe, concludes a gold-standard systematic review.

Irish researchers conducted a systematic review of 27 randomised controlled trials of pharmaceutical and alternative medicines involving 4,041 women who were up to 20 weeks pregnant. Benefit was measured by various nausea severity scales three days after treatment.

In six studies of acupressure and two of acupuncture there were no significant differences in benefit compared to control groups. One study of acustimulation did report some improvement over three weeks. There was limited evidence of an effect of ginger, vitamin B6, antihistamines and antiemetic drugs.

But antiemetics caused drowsiness and ginger caused heartburn in some people.

Lead researcher Dr Anne Matthews, a lecturer in nursing at the Dublin City University said: ‘A number of the studies we looked at appeared to show benefits, but in general the results were inconsistent and it was difficult to draw firm conclusions about any one treatment in particular.

‘Despite the wealth of different treatments available, it is not possible currently to identify with confidence any safe and effective interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.'

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD007575

Credit: Meagan, Flickr Pregnant woman