Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Acupuncture May Relieve Heartburn In Pregnancy

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 percent 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.

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 percent of the women treated with acupuncture. Women receiving acupuncture also ate and slept better, he said.

Among the 14 women who took antacids, seven in each group, those receiving acupuncture took 6.3 fewer doses, while those receiving conventional treatment upped the amount of medication they took by 4.4 doses, the researchers found. In addition, 15 women in the acupuncture group said that their eating habits improved by 50 percent, compared with fewer than one in three in the other group. Fourteen women receiving acupuncture said their sleep had improved by 50 percent, compared with just one in four women treated conventionally.

Source