Tips for Dealing Morning Sickness
If you are suffering from pregnancy morning sickness, you are not alone! Many women find themselves dealing with morning sickness. Morning sickness during pregnancy can occur at anytime of the day or night, and is one of the top pregnancy complaints. In fact, approximately 80% of pregnant women experience morning sickness. In this article, we will talk about what causes morning sickness as well as offer tips to relieve some of the nausea during early pregnancy.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
If you feel sick to your stomach, with or without vomiting, you are likely experiencing “morning sickness”. Morning sickness most often occurs as an early sign of pregnancy and during the 1st Trimester of pregnancy. It usually begins between 4-7 weeks and typically ends between the 12 -14th week of pregnancy. Morning sickness can occur at any time of the day or during any week of pregnancy. A small percentage (10%) of women continue to experience morning sickness after 20 weeks.
No one knows for sure what causes morning sickness but the most common belief is that it is caused by an increase in the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This hormone is produced at a higher level during the first trimester than at any other time during pregnancy.
The Good News about Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is believed to be a sign of a healthy pregnancy. However, up until recently, there wasn’t any quality evidence to support this belief. A study done by the National Institutes of Health in 2016 shows a link between nausea and vomiting and a lower risk of miscarriage. The study of 797 women found that women who experienced nausea alone or nausea accompanied by vomiting were 50 to 75 percent less likely to experience a pregnancy loss, compared to those who had not.
Tips to Feel Better While Dealing with Morning Sickness
Every woman and every pregnancy is different so there isn’t a one size fits all approach to relieving morning sickness. Try these morning sickness tips below to see what works best for you.
1. Get Plenty of Rest
Growing a baby is a job in and of itself, so it only stands to reason that rest is a very important factor to a healthy pregnancy. Try to get to bed earlier than you typically would, especially if you are working and are unable to take a nap during the day. Being tired can make morning sickness worse. However, avoid taking a nap after a meal because it may increase nausea symptoms.
2. Eat before sleeping and upon Waking
You may find that eating a protein snack before going to bed helps. Keep a protein snack near your bed to have overnight if needed. Also eating a small snack such as a few crackers or a piece of toast when you wake up can help. You may even want to keep a stash of crackers next to your bed.
3. Have Small and Frequent Meals
Try eating smaller meals at more frequent intervals. Sometimes having an empty stomach can make you feel more nauseous. Stick with foods that are bland such as broths, soups, chicken, oatmeal, plain vegetables and fruits. If you feel too nauseous to eat, try having a handful of salty potato chips. This trick will often settle your stomach enough to eat a small meal. You can also eat a piece of fruit with a protein like a nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter) or cheese; fruit boosts blood sugar quickly, while protein helps keep it boosted for longer. As much as possible, avoid eating spicy and rich foods.
4. Opt for cold foods over warm foods.
Warm foods usually have stronger smells so cold foods may be easier to stomach.
5. Stay Hydrated
Sip fluids throughout the day to keep from getting dehydrated. For added help, try adding lemon to your water. Lemons add flavor and have an anti-nausea effect.
6. Try Acupressure
Several studies have shown that acupressure can be an effective treatment for nausea. The most common location for acupressure is located three finger-breadths above the wrist. There are several over-the-counter products, such as acupressure wrist bands, you can try as well.
Ginger has been used since ancient times as a remedy for upset stomach issues. Various studies have shown ginger to be an effective and safe treatment for morning sickness relief during pregnancy. There are many forms of ginger including ginger tea, ginger ale, ginger snaps, ginger candies, ginger capsules or ginger powder.
Vitamin B6 has been found to reduce nausea and vomiting. The recommended dose is generally 50mg daily. If you are taking prenatal vitamins, they likely contain B6. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. There are also many foods that contain vitamin B6 including:
- Sweet potatoes
- Lean beef
- Dried fruits such as raisins or apricots
- Lean pork
- Seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin, squash
- Nuts (pistachios, walnuts, cashews, peanuts)
- Fish, including tuna or salmon (wild caught is best)
9. Avoid Trigger Foods
Some foods may be more likely to trigger morning sickness including fatty or spicy foods or foods that have a strong smell. Try keeping a food diary which will help you identify trigger foods.
Remember that every pregnancy is different, so one remedy may work well for someone and not for someone else. Begin by trying the above suggestions. If you continue to have trouble managing your morning sickness, talk to your provider.
When to call your Healthcare Provider
While morning sickness is uncomfortable, in most cases it is not harmful for you or your baby. It is rare but some women experience severe morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Call your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and:
- Vomit more than 3-4 times each day and are unable to keep food down
- Have lost more than 10 pounds
- Feel dizzy and lightheaded
- Are unable to keep liquids down and risk becoming dehydrated
- Have pain or fever
**If you experience any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider or go to the hospital immediately.
Pregnancy by Design’s information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always ask your healthcare provider about any health concerns you may have.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Nutrition During Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/-/media/womens-health/nutrition-in-pregnancy.pdf.
Cleveland Clinic. (2016). Hyperemesis Gravidarum (Severe Nausea & Vomiting During Pregnancy). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12232-hyperemesis-gravidarum-severe-nausea–vomiting-during-pregnancy.
Lee NM, Saha S. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2011;40(2):309-34, vii. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676933/.
Lete I, Allué J. The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integr Med Insights. 2016;11:11-7. Published 2016 Mar 31. doi:10.4137/IMI.S36273. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818021/.
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