Pregnancy. It’s weird, but it’s wonderful. There are many ups during those nine months, from the first ultrasound to the baby’s first kick. On the flip side though, there’s morning sickness.
Morning sickness, which is caused by high levels of pregnancy hormones, affects approximately half of all pregnant women, while 80 percent of women experience nausea within the first 12 weeks.
Anyone who’s experienced morning sickness will tell you, it’s no picnic. So is there anything you can do to avoid it? Here are the top 10 tips to help you combat nausea.
1. Eat small portions, but eat often.
When your stomach is empty, the acids only have your stomach lining to turn to, which creates a nauseating feeling. Though it might be difficult at times, try eating (or grazing) on small portions during the day (snacks such as nuts, pretzels, and fruit are great options).
2. Keep track of your sickness.
Although sickness during pregnancy might appear to be random and unexpected, there is more often than not a trigger. Keep a diary of each time you’re sick and look back at any similarities, such as particular time of day or specific foods. It may be something you never expected, like your colleague’s go-to afternoon snack that’s triggering your nausea.
3. Sniff lemons.
If you’re surrounded by smells you can’t escape and they’re making you feel nauseated, a lemon is a strong fresh scent that will help you relax, and it will (hopefully) ease any queasiness you’re experiencing.
4. Use ginger.
Ginger has been known to be a stomach soother. Its active ingredient, gingerol, is a natural anti-inflammatory and soothes the digestive tract. Try adding slices of ginger to your water, drinking ginger ale or ginger tea, or even snacking on gingerbread or crystalized ginger to ease your nausea.
5. Try eating cold foods over warm foods.
If you’re experiencing severe sickness, try sticking to cold foods rather than warm meals. The smell of cooking meals alone can be enough to create a nauseous feeling, so instead, turn to cold meals that require minimal prep.
6. Drink plenty of fluids.
Staying hydrated is important, and not just during pregnancy. If you’re struggling to keep food down in particular though, ensure you’re drinking plenty of water. You can try adding lemon and lime to flavor your water if needed. Additionally, sports drinks can be used in moderation to help to replace electrolytes lost while vomiting.
7. Avoid certain foods.
There are many foods and beverages to avoid during pregnancy because they can either harm the fetus. Others can simply trigger nausea and vomiting. Some foods known to trigger sickness include:
- Strong tasting vegetables
- Fatty foods
- Low quality meat, poultry, and dairy products
8. Take over-the-counter supplements.
Many women turn to home remedies for handling morning sickness, but there are over-the-counter treatments available, too. These include magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, probiotics and omea-3 fatty acids.
9. Do moderate exercise.
This is probably the last thing you want to do while battling morning sickness, but moderate exercise, like walking, yoga or swimming are great outdoor activities that can release endorphins as well as help to relieve digestive pains.
10. Use essential oils.
Essential oils including lavender, chamomile, peppermint and lemon can help women to feel relaxed. Some women say oils help in calming nausea, reducing cramping and boosting mood and/or appetite. Using a diffuser or adding drops of these oils to a bath are popular ways to feel the benefits.
If you’re experiencing severe sickness and are struggling to keep even water down, contact a doctor as soon as possible. Morning sickness in its severest form, also known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) can result in dehydration and undernourishment, at times even necessitating hospitalization.