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HEALTH REPORT - Studies Show Ginger May Ease Stomach Sickness During Pregnancy

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This is Phoebe Zimmermann with the VOA Special English Health Report.

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

Graphic Image
Graphic Image

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

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

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

For the study, all the women took three pills a day. They did not know if these contained ginger or the vitamin. The women who took ginger received a total of one-point-zero-five grams per day. The other 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 nausea and vomiting. In other words, the ginger and the B-six were equally effective. And there was no evidence of bad effects from either one.

A small Canadian study reported in November showed similar results for ginger. Doctor Galina Portnoi of the University of Toronto in Ontario led that study. It compared pregnant women who had used ginger products with others who had not. The researchers reported that the ginger provided some help with nausea and vomiting.

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

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

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