Up to 80 per cent of pregnant women experience morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy. And while ginger has long been used as a remedy for nausea, research on its ability to ease morning sickness is limited.
The new findings, based on a randomized, controlled trial involving 291 pregnant women, suggest the common spice could be a natural option for reducing symptoms of morning sickness. However further evidence of its safety is still needed.
Women took 1.05g of ginger or 75 mg of vitamin B6 daily in three supplements for three weeks. B6 has also been shown to improve nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women.
Differences from baseline in nausea and vomiting scores were estimated for both groups at days 7, 14, and 21. Ginger was equivalent to vitamin B6 in reducing nausea, retching and vomiting.
Dr Caroline Smith of the University of South Australia in Adelaide and colleagues report in the April issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology (103:639-645) that morning sickness improved in a little more than half of the women in each group.
While neither ginger nor vitamin B6 caused any major side effects, there have been some concerns that taking ginger during pregnancy may be harmful to babies.
Because of the small size of the study, the authors conclude that:"Firm evidence on the safety of ginger in pregnancy is essential and further systematic research on the risks and benefits of ginger during pregnancy would be of great clinical relevance."