While no two pregnancies are exactly alike, it’s not uncommon for expecting moms to experience some morning sickness. However, the severity, triggers, and duration can vary widely.
For some women morning sickness is a simple food aversion, triggered by certain smells or tastes. There are women whose morning sickness presents as periodic queasiness. And for the unlucky few, it’s all-day nausea coupled with regular bouts of vomiting.
Furthermore, contrary to the name, morning sickness can present at any time of day — including the afternoon, evening, and middle of the night.
PLEASE NOTE: If you experience prolonged or severe morning sickness, see a medical professional immediately. The following tips and advice are not a diagnosis or treatment recommendations and should only be used with the express permission of your medical doctor.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
The exact cause of morning sickness has not been determined. But we do know there is a rapid and intense surge of hormones produced during pregnancy — especially during the first trimester. These hormones are not ones your body is typically accustomed to. Furthermore, these hormones can give you a heightened sense of smell and a more sensitive digestive system — both of which can contribute to morning sickness.
How Long Does Morning Sickness Last?
Generally speaking, morning sickness will begin in the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy and last until the start of your second trimester. The worst two weeks are often the last two weeks during your first trimester (weeks 10 and 11). However, morning sickness can persist throughout your whole pregnancy.
25 Natural Morning Sickness Treatments
In extreme cases, your doctor may recommend anti-nausea medication. Unfortunately, introducing chemical substances like this can have negative side effects including drowsiness and constipation. Generally speaking, it’s best to pursue natural morning sickness treatments first. These can include:
1. Eat Small Meals Frequently
While the last thing you probably want to do when feeling nauseous is eat, not eating can actually make your nausea worse. To help mitigate this issue, try to avoid an empty stomach by eating small meals frequently.
2. Eat Before You Even Sit Up in Bed
Keep a plain starch by your bedside, such as crackers, dry bread or cereal. As soon as you wake up, nibble a few small bites before you even sit up. Getting a little bit of that plain starch down can help you regulate your nausea.
Ginger has long been the go-to natural anti-nausea for good reasons. Taking ginger capsules throughout the day can be a good way to help you fight nausea. Though if you’re sick already, the capsules can be hard to tolerate. A good alternative is ginger tea or ginger chews, which can be much more palatable.
4. Avoid Triggers
It sounds like a no-brainer, but if certain foods are triggering you to get sick, avoid them. And don’t be afraid to let your loved ones know which foods are triggers. Sometimes even just the sight or smell of triggers can cause you to feel uncomfortable.
5. Dine In
Love to eat out? That’s fabulous. Unfortunately, restaurants are often a landmine of unpredictable smells that can trigger morning sickness. For the time being, stick to dining in, where you can be in control of the smells.
6. Switch up Your Food
When you’re suffering from morning sickness it can be easy to stick to the one or two foods that you’ve been able to keep down. Unfortunately, these “comfort foods” can easily become associated with nausea and start to trigger another bout of queasiness. So rather than get stuck in a rut with one cracker, try to vary your go-to bland food when possible. Try bagels, plain bread or a different cracker.
7. Steer Clear of Fat and Grease
Fat and grease can be hard for your stomach to digest. So when you’re on the brink of being sick, skip the French fries.
8. Skip the Sweets
Think being pregnant is all about the ice cream? Maybe press pause on that one for a bit. Sugar is another food that can be hard of your stomach to process, especially when sick.
8. Pass on Spicy Foods
Like fat and sweets, spicy foods are best avoided when you’re sick. Not only can they cause you to feel nauseous, they can also induce heartburn.
10. Slice Some Lemons
Some pregnant women have also reported finding relief from the smell of freshly sliced lemon. And don’t let those lemons go to waste. Add them to water to create a light infusion that can help make the liquid you’re drinking more palatable.
11. Practice Controlled Breathing
Take some time to concentrate on your breathing. Focus on slow, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. This can help lower your heart rate, reducing nausea. It can also be a good way to distract your mind from the current state of distress.
12. Relax Your Muscles
Tense muscles can also contribute to nausea. Take some time to relax your muscles. A good way to do this is with a muscle-relieving massage. Just be sure to tell your massage therapist you are pregnant, as certain types of massages can be unhealthy for you and the baby during pregnancy. Another technique is to try tensing and relaxing your muscles in a continuous sequence. This can help you relax mentally and physically.
13. Increase Your Protein
When possible, try to increase your protein as this can be a better way to fight nausea.
14. Incorporate Anti-Nausea Spices
Certain spices have been shown to help decrease the severity of nausea in women during menstruation and those suffering from morning sickness. These include: fennel powder, cinnamon, and cumin.
15. Go for a Walk
Some women have found that exercise can help relieve their morning sickness. This could be something as simple as walking, but it could be doing for a swim or taking a prenatal yoga class.
This may seem like a silly treatment, but pediatric hospitals regularly use laughter as a form of therapy for everything from pain and anxiety to nausea with great results. The same positive benefits can be experienced by expecting moms. If you need some good laugh-inducing material, check out these hilarious quotes about motherhood by mom and comedian Ali Wong.
17. Time Your Prenatal Vitamins
It’s common to take vitamins in the morning. Unfortunately, the iron in many prenatal vitamins can exacerbate nausea. Many expecting moms often have a better experience when they take their prenatal vitamins before bed, so they aren’t taking them on an empty (or nearly empty) stomach.
18. Try Acupuncture or Acupressure
Acupuncture and acupressure are two non-invasive techniques based in Chinese medicine. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including the treatment of nausea.
19. Wear Sea-Bands
Sea-bands are a form of acupressure that you can easily apply at home. They are a 1-inch band that places a small amount of pressure on the inside of your wrists. This pressure can help lessen nausea without any side effects.
20. Stay Upright After Meals
When you’re really sick, all you want to do is lay down. But, laying down after eating can exacerbate nausea. Rather, try to stay upright for 30 – 60 minutes following any meal to allow your food to settle.
21. Make Hydration a Priority
Dehydration can worsen during nausea. Not only are you less likely to want to drink, but vomiting can strip your body of the precious H2O it has. When you’re struggling to drink liquids, consider options that will be electrolyte-rich and potentially more palatable. Broth-based soups are a good way to get nutrients and liquid. Sports drinks and lemonade can be other good alternatives. So too can ginger ale.
22. Limit Stress
While limit stress may seem easier said than done, it can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of you and your baby. If you find certain situations regularly cause you to become stressed or flustered, consider avoiding them as much as possible.
23. Get a B12 Injection
B12 is another way to help alleviate nausea without chemical medications. By getting a B12 injection you can quickly and easily deliver the nutrients directly to your bloodstream, so your body can start using them right away.
24. Harness the Power of IV Drip Therapy
Because combating morning sickness often results in a bland diet and lowered fluid intake, many expecting moms suffer from vitamin deficiencies and dehydration. IV Drip Therapy can help restore your body’s key nutrients and give you the electrolyte-rich hydration you need for you and your baby to thrive.
25. Savor the Smell of Peppermint
Even if it’s not the holidays, you might want to indulge in some peppermint aromatherapy. It can be an effective way to soothe your nausea. You can do so by putting some peppermint essential oil in a diffuser. You may also want to rub a small amount of peppermint oil on the back of your neck or your wrists.
Get Professional Help
As stated above, if your morning sickness is severe, contact your medical professional immediately. At Tru Health our experienced naturopathic doctors are committed to helping you find natural remedies that are safe for you and your baby.
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