Morning sickness is one of the hallmarks of pregnancy that all women prefer not to have to experience. If you’re one of the unfortunate, here are 6 natural remedies to help you get through it.
Morning sickness in pregnancy can be really rough. And for a small proportion of women, it can be so extreme that it becomes classified as hyperemesis gravidarum – or excessive vomiting in pregnancy.
On the worse end of the spectrum, you may need to go to the hospital to get enough fluids and nutrients. Fortunately, most people with bad morning sickness just need a little help managing nausea and getting in enough nourishment on their own.
If you’re experiencing nausea, here are a few ways to help decrease its symptoms and help you move through your day.
Ginger has been shown to significantly decrease nausea, and is safe in pregnancy. If you choose to take a supplement, you can safely take up to 250 mg every 6 hours, but food sources are generally safer if you like the taste of ginger.
Eating ginger chews, crystallized ginger, or candies made with real ginger specifically for nausea can be a great option. Tea made by boiling fresh chopped or grated ginger is one way to get a good dose, and you can also drink herbal tea that has ginger in it. Just be sure to look for ginger as the first ingredient if you buy it in tea form.
While ginger ale may not actually have much ginger in it, non-alcoholic ginger beer is another sparkling beverage that might help, which usually does have real ginger (be sure to check the ingredient label!). Ginger kombucha is another option – but it’s important to buy kombucha from a trusted source as it has live cultures that may make you sick if it’s been contaminated or hasn’t been stored properly.
Vitamin B6 is commonly used in the hospital along with other medications to help with nausea. There is some B6 in your prenatal vitamin, although not much beyond what meets your basic needs.
If you’d like to take B6 as a supplement, try to find one that has pyridoxal-5-phosphate. As the active form of B6, it is safe to take 10-25 mg every 8 hours. You can also try snacking on Vitamin B6 rich foods throughout the day, including avocados, bananas, pistachios, and sunflower seeds – or if you can stomach it, meat, fish and poultry are rich sources of B6.
Snack first thing in the morning
It might sound a little counter-intuitive, but putting something easy to digest in your stomach before you even get out of bed can help it settle before you get going in the morning. Carbs will be easiest to digest, but some people may find that something with protein works a little better.
Keep a glass of water on your nightstand ready for the morning, along with a banana, a few crackers, or some salted nuts. Sit up so you can eat safely, but take a few bites before you put your feet on the floor and stand up. Just get a little something in your system before you get ready.
If nausea and vomiting spells get too intense, and keeping down enough food and fluid becomes the primary concern, please call your doctor. Dehydration and malnutrition are real concerns with excessive vomiting.
Small frequent meals and snacks
Eating a little bit at a time at frequent intervals throughout the day can help your stomach regularly digest foods without overwhelming it. This also helps your blood sugar stay fairly even – blood glucose spikes and dips can actually worsen nausea.
If you vomit, you lose a lot of water and electrolytes. It is really important to drink not only water, but something with both sodium and potassium in it as well.
Any sports drink will work well, but you can also make your own drink by blending together water, a banana, a little honey, and a pinch of salt.
Eat what sounds good
Trust your cravings in this scenario, and also listen to your aversions. At a certain point, it’s more important to get something down than to agonize over whether it’s the most nutritious option.
Carbs will be your friend as they digest the easiest, while salty or sour foods are common cravings that might help with your morning sickness too. When you can, try to get in some protein – this doesn’t have to be meat!
Eggs, poultry, fish and meat are the best sources of protein, but beans, nuts and nut butters, cheese and yogurt are less likely to be nausea-inducing for most people.
Take good care of yourself, mama!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: ANDREA BERTOZZINI
McKenzie Caldwell, MPH, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian based in Charlotte, NC who specializes in prenatal & postpartum nutrition. With an intuitive eating approach, McKenzie empowers new and expecting mothers to heal their relationships with food, recover from disordered eating, and manage conditions like gestational diabetes so they can achieve their health & life goals in pregnancy and beyond. Learn more at Feed Your Zest Nutrition & Wellness.