Acupressure offers the chance to relieve morning sickness, aches and pain, swollen feet and ankles, and several other pregnancy discomforts, with no side effects to the mother or fetus. Using the fingers and hands to apply moderate pressure to specific points on the body, this therapy rebalances the flow of vital life energy, or qi, in the body.
Each pregnancy discomfort calls for treatment of different acupressure points. The treatment can be performed several times a day or week as a preventive measure. Or, as in the case of nausea, it can be done whenever the symptom strikes.
Acupressure treatment of morning sickness has received special scrutiny from the scientific community. For example, a trial conducted in part by the University of California School of Nursing in San Francisco tested this treatment on expectant mothers. Half of the 60 patients tested were taught to apply pressure to the P6 point on the lower arm for ten minutes, four times a day. The other patients were instructed to use a "sham" acupuncture point. The women using P6 experienced significantly less nausea than the other women.
It's wise to consult a trained acupressure practitioner before performing self-treatments at home, as applying pressure to a certain points may induce early labor.