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Remedies for Morning Sickness and Nausea During Pregnancy
Why morning sickness and nausea?
Almost 75% of pregnant women will experience morning sickness (known medically as "nausea and vomiting during pregnancy") during the first trimester. Some may experience symptoms in the morning, and feel increasingly better throughout the day. Most, though, will feel nauseous for the majority of the day, and may vomit consistently throughout the day and evening.
The main cause of morning sickness is still relatively unknown, but there are many factors that contribute to the discomfort, such as:
- Having an increased sense of smell. Being sensitive to smells (especially unfavorable ones) may lead to nausea.
- Stress. Researchers have found that having a higher level of stress promotes stomach aches and nausea.
- Predisposition. Typically, if a woman already has a sensitive stomach and digestive system, the major changes that occur during the first trimester can easily cause irritation. Women with an increase in bacteria in their stomach or digestive tract are more likely to have morning sickness.
- hCG or Human chorionic gonadotropin. During the early stages of pregnancy, hCG levels rise drastically. Although not directly linked to morning sickness, hCG levels do spike when nausea does, which leads scientists and doctors to believe that they are related.
- Estrogen. As the level of estrogen and other hormones rise, accordingly, so does the intensity of nausea.
Even if a woman does not experience vomiting during pregnancy, she may still experience unrelenting bouts of nausea. With a higher level of fatigue, muscle aches and cramping, having nausea and vomiting can really halt a woman in her tracks. Sometimes, its about mind over matter, but when that proves to be too difficult, there are other saving graces for that upset stomach!
Ways to relieve morning sickness and nausea
As I am not a physician, please speak with your doctor about what is best for you. Every pregnancy is different, and everyone responds differently to treatments and remedies.
- Mint. Mint tea (with pure mint oil/extract) is a great way to ease nausea and heartburn during pregnancy. You can use fresh mint in tea, or buy already made tea. Eating boiled mint leaves will help as well and are safe to consume.
- Clear liquids. The March of Dimes has found that drinking a plentiful and consistent amount of clear fluids will aid in hydration, which will help decrease nausea.
- Ginger. Ginger tea, gingerbread, ginger snaps, ginger ale... Regardless of what form it takes, as long as it is made from real and pure ginger, it will help with nausea and digestion! Some health food stores sell chewable and/or hard ginger candies, which are perfect to keep in your purse, desk, or car.
- Eat small meals more often. Try to avoid overeating, as this can upset the stomach. Eating smaller meals more often will help to maintain blood sugar levels. Make sure to eat lots of protein.
- Avoid fatty, spicy, and acidic foods. Fat-filled foods tend to take longer to digest, and spicy and acidic foods can upset the stomach and cause heartburn and acid reflux, which may lead to nausea and vomiting.
- Get out of bed slowly. Take your time waking up and getting up.
- Crackers or other potassium and sodium-rich snacks. Keep some next to your bed to munch on before bed if you tend to have nausea and vomiting at night. If you tend to vomit early in the morning, try to eat a couple of crackers prior to starting your morning routine. Relax for a bit after eating, prior to getting out of bed.
- Nap. Taking small naps will not only help with fatigue, but with nausea as well, as being tired can increase the intensity of stomach aches. Your body needs rest now more than ever, anyway! Take advantage of it!
- Vitamin B6. Scientists are a bit dumbfounded by how vitamin b6 helps first trimester nausea, but it indeed does! Not only does it help with nausea and morning sickness, but helps with fat metabolism, which leads to decreased fatigue and increased energy.
- Light exercise. Again, I am not a physician. However, I have found that light exercise has helped decrease stress, put my mind at ease, and decrease my nausea. Prenatal yoga, dancing, swimming, and biking can all be helpful for gaining and maintaining strength, which will help lessen nausea when your body is stretching and moving to make room for the baby. Make sure not to overexert yourself, and do not allow your core body temperature to rise to an uncomfortable level. Make sure to remain cool and hydrated.
- Antacids. Tums is great because it contains calcium as well, which is helpful in decreasing muscle cramps (and acid, of course). Talk with your physician, but there are many antacids that have been proven to be effective and okay during pregnancy.
- Aromatherapy Essential Oils for Pregnancy & Morning Sickness (by Maddie Ruud)
Hang in there!
Morning sickness and nausea can certainly make you feel like you have been hit by a bus, but there are numerous ways to help alleviate the pain and discomfort, and ease vomiting.
Many of the above can be used at anytime during pregnancy, and anytime for those whom are not pregnant.
If you have persistent, violent vomiting (especially if accompanied by a fever) and/or are unable to keep down liquids, contact your doctor right away. There may be further underlying issues, or you may need another form of treatment that can only be prescribed by your physician. Talk with your doctor prior to beginning treatment on your own, and what may help you in particular.
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
Hang in there. You are making the most beautiful sacrifice - of your own body. Embrace it, mom!