Morning sickness, or the intense nausea that often goes along with early pregnancy, is very common and can be debilitating for many women. Here’s how you can keep it at bay.
Morning sickness should really be called all-day sickness (right, mamas?!). This very common condition is most often experienced during the early weeks of pregnancy, and usually subsides by the second trimester.
However, many moms-to-be continue experiencing it throughout their entire pregnancy, while some may not experience it at all. But what exactly is morning sickness, is it a big deal, and most importantly, what can you do about it?
What Is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness affects more than half of all pregnant women – up to 80 percent. It’s defined by nausea that can become very intense, and is sometimes paired with vomiting. Often, the nausea is most extreme in the early morning and may lessen as the day goes on.
The nausea can start before or after eating, and can be triggered by different things for different women. Sometimes, it’s the mere smell of food or even just the idea of cooking.
Severe nausea that is paired with frequent vomiting can be another condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, which affects up to 3% of pregnant women.
What causes morning sickness? Probably hormonal changes, but nothing specific has been pinpointed.
Historically, scientists have thought that morning sickness is actually a protective mechanism for the fetus, in which your body avoids and expels foods that could cause potential harm.
Is Morning Sickness Dangerous?
Although it’s super annoying, morning sickness isn’t usually a danger to you or baby.
If you do notice that you’re starting to lose weight, or cannot eat or drink much at all, it’s a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider.
Furthermore, if you can’t keep fluids down, or are throwing up and notice blood, these are signs that urgent care is needed.
Whatever the case may be, you’re going to want to know what you can do to minimize morning sickness during your pregnancy should you be faced with it.
That’s why we wanted to share some simple ideas to keep in your back pocket just in case.
6 Tips For Reducing Morning Sickness
Here are some home remedies you can try to help alleviate nausea during pregnancy.
1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
You will probably notice that your typical hunger and fullness cues, and overall eating pattern, change during pregnancy – especially early on.
For many women, it’s a mix between being hangry all the time while also wanting to throw up at the sight of food. Large meals can make nausea worse, or even trigger it.
Try grazing throughout the day rather than eating three square meals. This will help you to avoid having an empty stomach and prevent your blood sugar from plummeting, as this can make nausea worse.
2. Avoid intense smells and flavors.
We both experienced the plight of delicious home-cooked food suddenly turning our stomachs while pregnant. Talk about a total bummer for foodies. Let’s just say that there were a lot of bagels and take-out from time to time – and that’s okay!
If smells bother you, but you still want to make food at home, try making cold meals instead of things that need to be cooked.
This is also a great time to ask your significant other to do the meal prep, if they don’t already.
3. Keep anti-nausea foods within reach.
Many women swear by the smell of lemons or sucking on lemon flavored candy to reduce nausea. Other mamas say that B-vitamin lollipops, ginger ale, peppermint tea, and saltine crackers are good nausea-fighting foods.
All of these are easy to carry around in your purse or keep in your nightstand drawer when the nausea kicks in without warning.
At bedtime, eating a high protein snack before snuggling in for the night can help stabilize blood sugar and prevent nausea.
4. Try an acupressure bracelet.
Also called sea-bands, these are wrist bands made to press on the P6, or Nei-Kuan, pressure point that relieves nausea and vomiting.
The P6 pressure point is located in the center of your inner wrist, between the two tendons, approximately the length of three fingers down from your hand.
Many women use sea-bands for morning sickness. You can pick these up at most drug stores and easily find them online.
4. Evaluate your prenatal supplements.
This is often the case if you take iron in the morning or on an empty stomach. If switching your vitamin to the evening, taking it with food, or dividing the dose don’t help, check with your doctor to see if there’s another adjustment that can be made.
Sometimes it helps to switch to iron-free prenatal vitamin for the first trimester, and then adding it back later on, but this is something that should be discussed with your healthcare provider or dietitian.
Check out our FREE Supplement Handout for more guidance on proper supplementation.
5. Stay busy.
Though the benefits of exercise during pregnancy are many, this doesn’t mean you have to be jogging every day.
We’re more referring to keeping your mind busy so that you’re not focused on the feelings of ickiness when they come. Sometimes things like painting, doing a crossword puzzle, talking to a friend, or getting some fresh air can help.
Try Our “Morning Sickness No-More” Smoothie!
If These Remedies Don’t Work
If you experience severe morning sickness and none of these remedies work, please reach out to your healthcare team for other approaches. Sometimes medications are prescribed that can work wonders.
There’s no one-size-fits-all way to tackle morning sickness. Every mama is different, and your experience could be vastly different from other women you know.
Pregnancy is rarely a breeze, but we hope that you’ll have more good days than tough ones – starting with the least amount of morning sickness possible!
Want more guidance on a healthy plant-based pregnancy? Check out our Predominantly Plant-Based Pregnancy Guide!
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