Pregnancy is an amazing journey but certain stages can make for a fairly bumpy ride! Most of the discomforts that occur during pregnancy are the result of hormonal changes within the body, nutritional deficiencies and profound anatomical changes.
Approximately 70% of women experience nausea early in pregnancy and about 50% experience vomiting. Although it’s commonly called morning sickness, those who have been through it before will attest that it can actually occur at any time throughout the day and for many, throughout the entire day. If you’re pregnant (congratulations!) and your tummy feels like it’s riding the seven seas, consider trying these natural remedies to help calm the quease.
Eat small meals and snacks, often: While the last thing you may feel like doing is eating, it helps to keep some palatable food in the stomach at all times. When your tummy is empty, stomach acids have nothing to feast on but your stomach lining, compounding nausea. On the other hand, eating too much can overtax the digestive system, exacerbating nauseousness. Eating a little bit before you get out of bed in the morning can help to prevent nausea, and a light bedtime snack will stabilize your blood sugar throughout the night. Surrender to the fact that for this short time, you may not be able to eat as healthfully as you had hoped, and just focus on having a supply of reasonably healthy food on hand. This might be comfort food like mac n’ cheese, plain ol’ boiled potatoes or just bucketloads of oranges. Go with it!
Consume ginger: Ginger has long been touted as a stomach soother, and studies have shown that it may help quell queasiness. To make ginger tea, boil 30 grams of dried root (available in health-food stores) in 1 cup water for 15 to 20 minutes and then strain. You can also try ginger tea bags or simply a few slices of fresh ginger in hot water. If none of that sounds appetizing, try snacking on a handful of crystallized ginger.
Take a high quality pregnancy multi-vitamin: While it’s best to get vitamins and minerals from the food that you eat, when you’re pregnant, it’ advised that women take a high quality pregnancy multivitamin also. Along with other essential nutrients, ensure it contains B6 as studies show that this vitamin is particularly good at balancing hormones and helping to prevent morning sickness.
Drink water regularly: It sounds like such simple health advice, but many pregnant women find the idea of drinking bland water totally unappetizing and it can seem like a monumental effort. However, drinking a glass of water every hour can greatly reduce your morning sickness, while obviously providing you with essential hydration. Quite simply, the more dehydrated you become, the more nauseated you’re likely to become.
Eat cold foods: If nothing wants to stay down, treat yourself to a homemade frozen fruit ice block (making an extra large smoothie and freezing the leftovers is a good trick!). So many women I’ve spoken to find that cold, refreshing foods are the most appetizing. Frozen fruit treats also helps replace sugars lost through vomiting. And since an ice block contains frozen water, it also helps keep you hydrated.
Stock up on lemons: Whether it’s the less-than-pleasant whiff of a rubbish bin, or the smell of the oven heating up, certain scents can turn your tummy. Morning sickness is often exacerbated by certain smells as estrogen is the hormone that’s responsible for the sense of smell, and estrogen levels are high when pregnant. Some pregnant women report that sniffing on a slice of lemon helps with morning sickness. You can also carry a sprig of fresh rosemary in your bag, and whip it out for a quick sniff when certain smells upset you.
Consider acupuncture or acupressure bands: Pregnancy acupuncture is safe and drug free and can also be used to relieve many common conditions that occur during pregnancy. Acupressure wristbands (available from pharmacies) can also work by applying light pressure to a spot located inside the wrist believed to be related to nausea and vomiting.
Lie Down: Sometimes the best solution is the simplest. Try lying down, taking a few deep breaths, and just getting some chill time. Easier said than one if you already have little ones, but sleep really is a great way to escape morning sickness – and keep up with the growing demands on your body! Don’t be shy about asking for help from family and friends.
It’s important not to let morning sickness go too far in the interest of avoiding pharmaceutical medication at all costs because ongoing dehydration and calorie deprivation is unhealthy for the baby. If you’re having a hard time keeping anything down, then it’s time to see a doctor who can determine whether you need to take something. Abnormal vomiting – severe, continual nausea and vomiting after the twelfth week – occurs in approximately 1 in 300 pregnancies. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum, and it can result in dehydration, acidosis, malnutrition and for some, substantial weight loss.
If you, or someone you know, is planning on or already embarking on the pregnancy journey, I wish you radiant health, loved-up anticipation and the acceptance that not every day is going to be easy and not every pregnancy is the same. You can only do the best you can to make it a smooth ride towards Motherhood!