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Alternative Remedies

Evidence for the effectiveness of alternative treatments is lacking  and even anecdotally very few women are able to control HG successfully without using pharmaceuticals. While ginger has been shown to be more effective than placebo for mild to moderate pregnancy sickness, it has not been shown to be more effective than antiemetics. Ginger is not effective for women with HG, and it can actually make symptoms worse. For evidence of this, see Stop Telling us to Take Ginger


Some women find acucpuncture extremely helpful, whereas for others it does not help at all or only moderately. It's worth trying as it is not thought to be harmful.

A Swedish research paper from 2000 showed that acupuncture could improve symptoms of HG when used alongside conventional treatment. 33 women were offered acupuncture while they were admitted to hospital for IV fluids. Some were given placebo acupuncture and some were given actual acupuncture 3 times a day by trained midwives. It was found that the severity of nausea and incidence of vomiting reduced for significantly more of the group given the actual acupuncture than for the group given the placebo. The abstract of the paper is given below.

Hyperemesis gravidarum, severe vomiting, develops in about 1–2% of all pregnancies. Acupuncture on the point PC6 above the wrist on the palmar side has been found to prevent some types of nausea and vomiting. The purpose of the present study was to see if acupuncture, in addition to standard treatment, could hasten the improvement of hyperemesis gravidarum. Thirty-three women with hyperemesis were evaluated in a randomized, single-blind, crossover comparison of two methods of acupuncture, active (deep) PC6 acupuncture or placebo (superficial) acupuncture. The women estimated their degree of nausea on a visual analogue scale (VAS). The daily number of emesis episodes were documented. Crossover analyses showed that there was a significantly faster reduction of nausea VAS and more women who stopped vomiting after active acupuncture than after placebo acupuncture. This study suggests that active PC6 acupuncture, in combination with standard treatment, could make women with hyperemesis gravidarum better faster than placebo acupuncture. 

Carlsson et al, Manual Acupuncture Reduces Hyperemesis Gravidarum: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Single-Blind, Crossover Study Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 20 (4): 273-279. 2000


Hypnosis can help with symptoms of HG and also in coping with the misery of the condition. It can help a woman to regain some control over the way she is feeling. Hypnosis has also been found to be beneficial for people suffering from sickness due to other causes such as chemotherapy and motion sickness.

A 1999 American research paper discusses the benefits of hypnosis in dealing with HG. The authors stress the need for women to be medically assessed before any referral for hypnotherapy.

Hyper-emesis gravidarum in pregnancy is a serious condition that is often resistant to conservative treatments. Medical hypnosis is a well-documented alternative treatment. This article reviews the empirical studies of medical hypnosis for treating hyperemesis gravidarum, explains basic concepts, and details the treatment mechanisms. The importance of a thorough differential diagnosis and appropriate referrals is stressed. The article presents three case studies to illustrate the efficacy of this treatment approach. It is suggested that medical hypnosis should be considered as an adjunctive treatment option for those women with hyperemesis gravidarum. It is also stressed that medical hypnosis can be used to treat common morning sickness that is experienced by up to 80 percent of pregnant women. Its use could allow a more comfortable pregnancy and healthier fetal development, and could prevent cases that might otherwise proceed to full-blown hyperemesis gravidarum.

Simon EP and Schwarz j, Medical hypnosis for hyperemesis gravidarum. Birth - Issues in Perinatal Care 26(4): 248-254. 1999