You already know that your body will be going through a lot of changes physically, and hormonally, over the next nine months, and you may even have extreme feelings of nausea and may experience vomiting around the time that you get the news. This can be confusing, shouldn’t the good news make you feel happy? What is this uneasy feeling in my stomach?
This is called morning sickness.
Morning sickness is completely normal, and is experienced by approximately 80% of women, however a small percentage (up to 3%) of women may experience a very severe form called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). This is more common if you are carrying multiple children (twins, triplets, quintuplets or more!), or have a family history of the condition.
Morning sickness tends to come on in the first four to eight weeks after conception and usually gets better by the fourth of fifth month of pregnancy, but unfortunately for some, it can last the entire nine months up until the due date. And don’t let the name fool you, symptoms can be experienced anytime of the day.
There are a couple concerns we should be aware of if experiencing these symptoms. Firstly severe vomiting can lead to weight loss and dehydration, the number one cause of hospitalization of pregnant women. And secondly, the acid content of our stomach fluids can have a devastating effect on our teeth leading to erosion of the enamel, hypersensitivity, and decay. So it goes without saying that we want to prevent the symptoms associated with morning sickness as much as we can.
With all the advances in technology or medicine, we still don't have any clear indication of what causes the nausea and vomitting, but luckily we have found many remedies for it.
Keep in mind, it is not uncommon to have heightened senses of smell and taste, which may make certain foods less desirable- even foods we have liked before our pregnancy. Its best not to force yourself to have something that doesn’t agree with you, so above all else use your intuition as your guide!
Though it is being legalized in 29 states, pregnant women should be strongly advised against using any form of marijuana. Marijuana is often prescribed and used for treatment of nausea but can be extremely harmful to a developing fetus, especially in the first trimester during central nervous system development, this is when baby is in early stages of it’s neural circuitry development in the brain- a very crucial time for your child.
Don’t get too creative.
The first recommendation when treating nausea is to make dietary changes before trying any home remedies or over the counter products.
Go for bland foods high in carbohydrates and proteins, such as breads, oats, and potatoes.
Coming from a background in health and fitness, I always recommend to go with complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, steel cut oats, whole-wheat pastas, and sweet potatoes.
These carb sources do not spike insulin as easily as their refined counter parts, and will keep you much fuller for longer, better regulate your mood, weight, and blood sugar, and be healthier for you and baby in the long run.
A developing fetus can be very sensitive to high amounts of sugar, therefore very processed or refined carbs should be eaten in moderation, along with most desserts and sweet. Fruits in moderation are okay.
It is also much better to eat small, frequent meals. Have some whole grain crackers by your bed, so you can have one or two slowly after waking up.
For breakfast have some toasted Ezekiel bread with egg whites, and a small serving of pistachios. Or switch it up and have some steel cut oats with some strawberries, and a side of 0% greek yogurt.
For your snacks have some veggies with hummus, or apples with some peanut butter or low far cheese. Whole grain crackers with your snacks will help you feel fuller for longer.
For lunch try a serving of whole-wheat pasta with kale pesto and some grilled chicken.
And for dinner have a serving of baked sweet potato with a ground turkey patty, and a light salsa made of tomato, cucumber, lemon and touch of parley.
You can have some white rice or white potato as a substitute in some meals, but definitely stay away from most cereals, white breads, and all sweets. Sorry ladies, ice cream is a big no for your growing child.
Getting to the root of the problem.
If you have tried simplifying your dietary choices with little luck in preventing nausea there is another natural remedy that may help.
Ginger root is an ancient Chinese medicine has been used for centuries for nausea and indigestion. You can grate it, boil it, and strain it to use as a tea, or you can press it through a juicer with some cucumber for a mild fresh drink. Crystallized ginger, or a small amount of ginger cookies can be helpful as well if you’re tight on time, or want something to have on the go!
We are made up mostly of water.
Hydration is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy, and ice chips may be helpful to soothe an upset stomach. Alternatively water with lemon or lime can make bland water more appetizing.
If none of that works for you electrolyte tablets come in a variety of great flavors and usually have less sugar then sports drinks, so they are a better choice to maintain vitamin and mineral balances.
You can also use this as an opportunity to great creative in between meals as you can freeze some of your favorite fruits to make a nice smoothie in you’re feeling queasy.
Try a smoothie with ginger, flax, spinach and frozen fruits like bananas, strawberries, or peaches, always mixed with water to ensure you are staying hydrated.
Avocados are also great in smoothies, adding a very mild flavour, and giving a lot of nice creaminess!
Not all food choices are created equally.
Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) has also been a great home remedy for morning sickness, and can be found naturally occurring in many food sources!
You can find it in:
For those still experiencing nausea after incorporating these natural recommendations, I understand your frustration. You probably cant wait for your due date already! But don't lose hope, you still have some options.
You should consult your doctor.
In situations where the nausea persists there are some over the counter remedies, and prescription medications that you may want to consult your doctor about.
Over the counter remedies, though readily available should only be used after asking your doctor. This includes the use of acupressure wristbands like sea-bands and vitamin B-6 supplements combined with doxylamine (an antihistamine).
Your doctor may want to prescribe other antihistamines such as hydroxyzine, or dopamine antagonists such as promethazine, or finally serotonin antagonists like ondansetron.