Studies Show Ginger May Ease Stomach Sickness During Pregnancy


2004-4-27

This is Phoebe Zimmermann with the VOA Special English HealthReport.

Stomach sickness is common during the first three months ofpregnancy. Experts say most pregnant women experience times whenfood will not stay down. Or they feel like they might be sick at anymoment. Such vomiting and nausea often happen in the morning.

Many pregnant women are afraid totake medicines. They worry about possible harm to their baby. So,instead, many women take ginger products as a treatment for stomachsickness. These products are made from the ginger plant. Ginger is atraditional treatment for stomach problems in many cultures. Yetresearch on the safety has been limited.

Now, a small study in Australia has added to recent evidence insupport of ginger. Caroline Smith of the University of SouthAustralia in Adelaide headed the research team. The findings appearin the publication Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The team compared ginger with a vitamin that doctors commonlytell pregnant women to take for stomach sickness. The vitamin isB-six. The team studied almost three-hundred women. These women hadbeen pregnant less than sixteen weeks and had nausea and vomiting.

For the study, all the women took three pills a day. They did notknow if these contained ginger or the vitamin. The women who tookginger received a total of one-point-zero-five grams per day. Theother women took seventy-five milligrams of vitamin B-six per day.

At the end of three weeks, the researchers compared the results.About half the women in both groups reported reductions in nauseaand vomiting. In other words, the ginger and the B-six were equallyeffective. And there was no evidence of bad effects from either one.

A small Canadian study reported in November showed similarresults for ginger. Doctor Galina Portnoi of the University ofToronto in Ontario led that study. It compared pregnant women whohad used ginger products with others who had not. The researchersreported that the ginger provided some help with nausea andvomiting.

These studies seem to support the popularity of ginger amongpregnant women. But the scientists say they cannot guarantee thesafety for the women or their babies without more research.

This VOA Special English Health Report was written by JerilynWatson. I'm Phoebe Zimmermann.