Five Ways to Fight Through Morning Sickness While Staying Healthy
Morning sickness is actually a misnomer. Nausea, one of the first signs of pregnancy, can happen at any time during the day. During the first trimester, it often lasts throughout the day. Uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating, morning sickness is one of the biggest complaints pregnant women have about the challenges of pregnancy. What can pregnant women do to alleviate morning sickness?
- Avoid Nausea Triggers
Different women have different reactions to different foods. Trial and error is often the best way to figure out what you can tolerate. Some of the biggest culprits are spicy foods, acidic foods, and foods with strong odors. Warm or hot foods can trigger nausea more often than cold foods because they emit stronger smells. Once you’ve determined what is easiest on your stomach, stick to those.
- Choose Bland Foods
Many pregnant women find bland carbohydrates to be easiest on their stomachs. Crackers, pasta, and bread often become staples in many first-trimester diets. It might be a good idea to keep crackers near your nightstand and nibble on them even before you get out of bed in order to stem the nausea.
- Eat Smaller Meals
Large meals can cause an upset stomach, and even more so if you are experiencing nausea. Pregnant women needing relief from morning sickness can try eating small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of three larger meals. Having too little or too much in your stomach can often trigger nausea as well. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day as well.
- Try Supplements
Since Vitamin B6 has been proven to help reduce prenatal nausea, consider talking to your doctor about taking a B6 supplement. You can incorporate B6-rich foods into your diet like eggs, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, carrots, green peas and chickpeas.
Many women have found relief through drinking ginger tea, eating dried or candied ginger, or taking it in capsule form. Another option is to diffuse ginger essential oil as part of an aromatherapy approach. If ginger is not palatable, something sour like lemon and lime might help.
- Seek Intervention: Natural and Medical
Some women have sought out acupuncture as a natural treatment to their morning sickness. Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body in order to balance out the system and restore health. There are specific points associated with nausea, one of which is found on the inside of the wrist. (That is why travel sickness bands are worn around the wrist!) Acupuncturists will take the full history of a patient into consideration so that they can personalize treatment for each individual.
Sometimes morning sickness is so severe that women experience significant weight loss, dehydration and the inability to tolerate any food at all. When it becomes clear that dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments do not help, then medical treatment may be necessary. Doctors can prescribe certain medications that will help alleviate the nausea. These medications may come with side effects so women will have to consider it carefully with their doctors to come to a decision.
Maintaining Good Nutrition While Suffering from Morning Sickness
Though these tips might be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of morning sickness, should a pregnant woman be concerned that she’s not eating well enough? How can a nauseous mom get all the nutrients she needs for growing a baby when all she’s eating is crackers? Claire Vigra, Registered Dietician and Nutrition Classes Instructor at the Motherhood Center who shared some good suggestions for addressing morning sickness in this post, also weighs in on the nutrition aspect:
“When all you can stomach is bland carbohydrates, it is very normal to worry that your baby isn’t getting enough nutrients. However, you can relax knowing that your body has nutrient stores for this reason and prioritizes giving over your stored nutrients to your baby to help support their growth and development.
If you are experiencing food aversions, try changing the texture, temperature or consistency of the foods you aren’t able to eat to see if this helps. For example, cooked vegetables are often better tolerated than raw vegetables so instead of trying to force down a kale salad, roast some sweet potatoes or sauté some zucchini. Milder tasting vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and squash are often better tolerated than the more bitter vegetables.
You can also try sneaking your veggies in! Throw spinach in a berry smoothie, use butternut squash as a pasta sauce or add zucchini to a breakfast muffin. When you want something sweet, choose a piece of fresh fruit over candy or a cookie.
If you find it’s easiest to tolerate carbohydrates, choose fiber-rich ones over processed ones. Pick a whole wheat toast over white toast, for example. Instead of traditional wheat-based pasta, find a chickpea-based or a whole wheat pasta instead. Making simple swaps like this can boost your nutrient intake greatly.”
If you’d like to learn more about nutrition, feel free to explore the Motherhood Center classes on the topic. You can sign up for a live-stream virtual Prenatal Nutrition 101 class and learn how to eat well for yourself and the baby growing inside you.
“Pregnancy nutrition is so individualized and so I never take a one-size-fits-all approach with my clients. In my prenatal nutrition class at the Motherhood Center, participants are able to ask their specific questions and receive personalized recommendations. In addition to tips and recommendations from me, the class is a great way for women to connect and learn from each other!”