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Acupuncture Shown to Ease Indigestion in Pregnant Women

Posted: June 11, 2009

Joining a range of wellness treatments helpful to mothers-to-be, a new study shows acupuncture to be useful to those suffering heartburn and indigestion while pregnant.

Acupuncture relieves the indigestion and heartburn that bother many women as their pregnancy progresses, a new Brazilian study shows. Indigestion is common during pregnancy, with up to 80% of moms-to-be suffering heartburn, stomach pain or discomfort, reflux, belching and bloating. Symptoms tend to worsen over time, and women who avoid taking medicine for fear of harming the developing fetus might welcome an alternative treatment.

"Although small, this study suggests that acupuncture can relieve symptoms of indigestion that are pretty common in pregnancy and may provoke loss of quality of life in the final days, disturbing not only eating but also sleeping," said lead researcher Dr. Joao Bosco Guerreiro da Silva, from the department of internal medicine at Rio Preto Medical College.

For the study, the researchers randomly assigned 42 pregnant women with indigestion to dietary counseling plus antacids or to dietary counseling and antacids plus acupuncture once or twice a week. The researchers assessed the women's symptoms at the beginning of the study and every two weeks after that for eight weeks.

Heartburn, the main symptom, was reduced by half in 75% of the women treated with acupuncture. Women receiving acupuncture also ate and slept better, he said. The report is published in the June issue of Acupuncture in Medicine.