The great news is that YOU ARE PREGNANT!!! Now, you get to practice gratitude as you suffer through one of the most common pregnancy ailments: Morning Sickness. Most of our clients are appreciative (to a point) of their first-trimester nausea, fatigue, and vomiting – but they’re also happy for any advice on how to manage morning sickness naturally.
If this is your first pregnancy, understand that the term “morning sickness” is relative. Those waves of nausea can wash over you at virtually any time of day, so be prepared! Also, don’t stress too much about your pregnancy diet during this phase of the game. Your body will continue nourishing your baby, and you’ll be able to make up for lost nutrients once morning sickness fades – around weeks 14 to 20.
Fertility patients are understandably careful about everything they do and ingest after getting pregnant because they don’t want to jeopardize their baby’s health or pregnancy. These natural remedies for morning sickness are risk-free, but you should always run them by your fertility specialist or OB for the official stamp of approval.
1. Start grazing (instead of eating full meals)
Most women experience the worst bouts of morning sickness when their tummies are empty. Keeping a little something in the stomach at all times helps to minimize excessive acid that contributes to morning (or all-day) sickness.
Instead of eating three solid meals, start using a grazing approach to eating. Enjoying five smaller, healthy meals with sporadic snacks in between keeps food in your stomach, and that saves you from the extremes. As a rule of thumb, foods lower in carbs but higher in protein tend to help more than fatty foods. Salty foods also seem to be a favorite (like salt & vinegar chips, pretzels, and saltines).
Bonus Tip: Set up a glass of infused water (lemon, cucumber, mint, etc.) and some crackers or your favorite “morning sickness reliever on your nightstand. Take some nibbles during the evening and first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.
Ginger is a root, and it’s available at most grocery stores and all Asian markets. It has been used for thousands of years to tame irritated stomachs – and as a way to manage morning sickness. One of the simplest ways to enjoy it is to boil freshly sliced ginger in a pot of water and let it steep for a few minutes. Then, experiment with various amounts of ginger to find your preferred ginger concentration. A squeeze of lemon and a dollop of honey is a flavor bonus. Click Here for a ginger tea recipe.
If you don’t have time to prepare ginger tea, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate tummy-soothing ginger into your routine:
- Ginger tea bags (available in any grocery store tea section)
- Ginger capsules, taken several times a day (in the vitamin/supplement section of the grocery or health food store – look for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not mixed with other substances that may harm your baby)
- Ginger chews and ginger pops (keeping them in your mouth and sucking on ginger candies or pops can keep nausea at bay)
- Natural ginger ale (read the label since most mainstream brands no longer use real ginger. You want the kind that has “ginger root” in the ingredient list)
- Ginger snaps or ginger biscuits (again, look for those made with real ginger and nibble on them throughout the day)
Like the proverbial pregnancy cravings, every woman is different about what triggers or exacerbates morning sickness. We’ve had patients who make their partners cook certain foods outside on a camping stove, for example. However, some food items are triggers for the majority, so avoiding them is your best bet.
Some of the most common morning sickness triggers include:
- Fatty foods
- Citrus juices
- Spicy foods
- Coffee and caffeine (which you should avoid during pregnancy anyway)
Pay attention to what smells, foods, or experiences cause or exacerbate bouts of morning sickness, and then you can avoid them whenever possible.
Just like smells can tip you over the nausea edge, they can also pull you back. Many women find that keeping their favorite essential oils on hand helps them bridge the gap between a steady or queasy stomach. Use essential oils in a diffuser or put a couple of drops on a cotton ball that you keep in a baggy in your purse.
Some of the scents that seem to help most include:
- Peppermint (like ginger, peppermint tea is also a common nausea reliever)
A trip to a local health food store is a good way to test sample oils and see what you like and what you don’t.
If you can’t eat much, then get the most from what you do eat. Examples of nutrient-rich foods to try out include:
- Smoothies (try this pineapple ginger smoothie recipe), using yogurt, protein powders, almond milk, fresh fruit, etc., that you can sip on throughout the morning or afternoon)
- Brown rice with sea salt
- Avocados with lime, salt, and pepper
- Bone broth (here’s an easy recipe). If you’re a vegetarian, try sipping on salty miso soup and adding extra tofu chunks for a protein boost.
- Fresh fruits (have a super-sensitive tummy? Try fruit gummies made from 100% juice and no added sweeteners)
Finally, don’t skip the exercise routine. The research shows that regular, moderate exercise each day relieves many normal pregnancy discomforts, including morning sickness.
Again, the Fertility Solutions team is thrilled that you are pregnant, and we hope these tips help you find calmer waters between waves of morning sickness.