How to help with morning sickness.

How to help with morning sickness.

drinking small sips of water helps with morning sickness
Staying hydrated helps with morning sickness

Nausea with or without vomiting is so common in the early weeks of pregnancy that it is considered normal to have morning sickness, and even reassuring.  My mom used to tell me that as long as I still had morning sickness, the baby was doing well.  Now that’s not entirely 100 % accurate as nausea occurs in 90 % of pregnancies.   So about 10 % of you won’t ever get to experience the joys of morning sickness.

We are going to get into what you can do to help ease the quease.  But first, lets talk about why we even get it????

Morning Sickness usually begins around 4-6 weeks of pregnancy and can worsen over the next 4 weeks.  But don’t worry.  For most women, the morning sickness usually goes away on its own once you move from the first trimester to the second trimester, so around 12-14 weeks.    Believe it or not, the exact cause is not really known, although there are several theories that might explain it.  One theory is that nausea and vomiting is your body’s response to a quick rise in the pregnancy hormone HCG.   Another possible cause could be from slowed movement of the stomach’s content, or simply the increased emotional stress from the pregnancy itself.

In reality, it doesn’t matter what causes it.  When you are feeling nausea, what really matters is how to get rid of it!

How to help with morning sickness
Frequent small sips of water help you stay hydrated and helps with morning sickness

First, try adjusting your daily routine a bit.  For starters, start drinking more fluids.   Be careful not to guzzle your drink too quickly.  Frequent small sips throughout they day can help keep you hydrated without filling your stomach too full.  An over-full stomach can worsen nausea.    If you do drink a large glass of fluids, it’s best to drink about 30 minutes before or after meals to avoid over-filling during a meal.

An over-full stomach can worsen nausea

Make sure to eat a small snack ask soon as you feel hungry.  An empty stomach can trigger the feeling of nausea.  It’s best to keep something with you at all times to munch on if you start to feel nauseated.  This includes nighttime.  Keeping something mess free and easy by your bed can help you if you wake up in the middle of the night with nausea, or first thing in the morning.    Some easy quick snacks could be:  crackers, either plain or with peanut butter, pretzels, flavored popsicles, ginger or peppermint tea.  We’ll talk about that a little more in a bit.

It’s best to keep something with you at all times to munch on if you start to feel nauseated

how to help with morning sickness
Strong odors can worsen morning sickness. Source:

Food triggers are foods that make your nausea worse.  Start to recognize your triggers and modify your diet accordingly.    Figure out what foods you tolerate the best and stick with those.     While every woman is different, common food triggers are: coffee, spicy foods, very aromatic foods, fatty foods, acidic foods, or very sweet foods.  For me cooking butter was one of my triggers.     Many women tolerate protein rich foods, salty foods, low fat, bland or dry foods.

Figure out what foods you tolerate the best and stick with those

Along with food triggers, there are some environmental triggers that might worsen nausea.  These might include:  stuffy rooms, strong odors, (perfumes, chemicals, smoke)   heat, humidity, loud noise and physical motion (like driving in a car at night or flickering lights)  In addition to this, not getting enough sleep or lying down after eating might worsen nausea as well.     Cold foods tend to be tolerated better as they have less odor and often take less preparation.   Brushing your teeth right after meals might help reduce nausea AND improve your dental care.

Cold foods tend to be tolerated better

Ginger can help with morning sickness
Ginger tea can help with morning sickness. shredded ginger, lemon and honey in warm water

If everything I mentioned so far isn’t working, studies have shown that ginger improves nausea.   You can get ginger in many different forms including:  ginger lollipops, ginger tea, Ginger ale (made with real ginger)    I like to grate some ginger into warm water with a little lemon and honey.    Avoid taking ginger in the form of tablets.  It difficult to be sure just how much ginger you are actually getting.

Studies have shown that ginger improves nausea.

You can also try peppermint.    Peppermint comes in many forms including: essential oils, peppermint tea or candy.    Pick your preference.

If none of this works and you still have nausea, but don’t want to take a prescription, you can go to your pharmacy and pick up Vitamin B6.   It’s OTC (over the counter) and has been shown to be safe for pregnancy with minimal side effects.

Another OTC product that can help is called Unisom.  Be careful when picking it out.  There are actually two kinds of Unisom so read the label.  Do not get Unisom with the active ingredient Diphenhydramine.  This is actually just Benadryl.  Get the Unisom with the active ingredient Doxylamine.  both are antihistamines, but Doxylamine has been shown to reduce nausea better than Diphenhydramine.   Before taking Unisom or vitamin B6, I recommend that you discuss yours symptoms with your doctor.

Before taking Unisom or Vitamin B6, I recommend that you discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

If you aren’t into taking medications at all, there are some less traditional ways to treat nausea as well.  Acupuncture or acupressure seem to help some women.  Remember those nausea wristbands that people use to keep from getting sea sick?  That same wrist band might help with morning sickness too.   Hypnosis has been shown to be helpful for some women.

For some women, morning sickness can be severe (hyperemesis gravidarum)   Vomiting throughout the entire pregnancy can cause dehydration and premature contractions.  If nothing you are trying helps with vomiting, you should talk to your OB about prescriptions to help.   Some women need IV fluids to keep from getting dehydrated.

For most women, morning sickness is mild with nausea and occasional vomiting.  Simple things you can do every day can really help ease the intensity of morning sickness.  For most women… Relax.  It will get better. And no matter what, it will all be worth it.

How to help with morning sickness
It will all be worth it

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