Morning sickness. The term alone can stir up many an unpleasant memory and unsavory flashback of constant nausea that often culminates in vomiting -- and the irony is that morning sickness is not just confined to morning hours... it can last all day long... for months. Although morning sickness affects more than half of pregnant women, there are only hypotheses, no proven data to explain why the condition exists. It is likely attributed to the rise of the hormone hCG, which peaks in a pregnant woman's body in tandem with her feelings of nausea. The rise of estrogen, and a heightened sensitivity to odors that the hormone causes are also suspect when it comes to why pregnant women suffer morning sickness. Pregnancy is no time to be taking over the counter, (or any) drugs (especially during the critical fetal development stage of the first trimester). So, we've rounded up five natural remedies to help ease morning sickness that may help you navigate the trying first months of pregnancy.
1. Don’t Go On An Empty Stomach, But Don’t Fill ‘er Up Either & Stay Hydrated
Making sure your stomach is as balanced as possible may help stave off bouts of nausea. Keep a box of your favorite crackers on your night stand, and don’t get out of bed in the morning until you’ve eaten a few. Eat small meals and snacks consistently throughout the day as opposed to waiting until you’re hungry and then eating too much. When suffering morning sickness, the mere sight or smell of some foods can send you running for the bathroom, so if possible, have someone else prepare your meals so you can consume them without thought. Or, prep your meals in advance on days or during moments when you’re not feeling sick. And obviously avoid foods that trigger nausea — both on your plate and in your vicinity. It is also vital to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially if you’ve been vomiting. If you can’t tolerate water, drink your favorite hydrating beverage, or suck on ice chips or juice cubes that may be frozen in an ice cube tray.
2. Stick it to Morning Sickness with Acupuncture
The ancient healing art of acupuncture has been shown to provide relief for pregnant women suffering morning sickness. “According to ancient Chinese medicine, an illness is simply caused by imbalance of energy inside the body. During episodes of nausea and vomiting, it is believed that the energy is not flowing in the right direction causing the stomachs energy to move upward and out.” The re-routing of your body’s chi may prove beneficial in ending nausea and vomiting, at least temporarily. *Be sure to check with your doctor or midwife before choosing acupuncture as an alternative means of healing during pregnancy. They may be able to recommend an acupuncturist, or they may advise against it in some cases.
3. Indulge in Comfort Foods and Use Lemon Drops & Mint Gum To Thwart Nausea
Sure, being pregnant doesn’t give you an all access pass to binging on foods you normally wouldn’t dream of eating. But you can certainly cut yourself some slack when you’re dealing with daily bouts of morning sickness. Now is the time to say yes to and indulge in any comfort foods that strike your fancy — at any time of the day. If you can only stomach the thought of eating macaroni and cheese at 10pm, go for it. If the only appealing choice for breakfast in your book is pudding or potato chips, dig in. Be grateful whenever a wave of hunger strikes during the challenging phase of morning sickness, and be quick to consume food and beverage when you’re able to.
Additionally, between hunger pangs, try sucking on lemon drops or chewing on mint gum to keep nausea at a distance. Lemon and peppermint are known for soothing the stomach and eliminating nausea.
4. Ginger to the Rescue
It’s an oldie but goodie: ginger is a popular choice when it comes to treating stomach upset and nausea. Avoid the typical ginger ales on the market, which are comprised mostly of high fructose corn syrup, and instead opt for pure ginger ales which may be found in specialty markets. Herbal ginger tea is also a good choice. Earth Mama Angel Baby offers an organic Morning Wellness Tea which boasts organic ginger root, organic spearmint and organic chamomile to help moms-to-be. You can also suck on a piece of straight ginger root. However you choose to get your ginger fix, try to make sure it’s in as pure and unadulterated a form as possible.
5. Sleep it Off
Sleep can be the ultimate escape, and sometimes the only thing left to do is curl up and try to take a nap, or hit the sack early. Hitting the hay may be the very best way of getting through a bout of morning (afternoon, or evening) sickness — and it’s too bad we can’t stockpile sleep, because you’ll surely need it once baby is born. Additionally, lack of sleep may actually be a trigger for morning sickness, so making sure you get enough shut-eye will be to your benefit, whether you’re escaping an episode of morning sickness or trying to prevent a future episode.
Bear in mind that in some cases of morning sickness, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a remedy. And don’t let anyone tell you that it’s all in your head, or mind over matter — because it is a very real, very frustrating condition that doesn’t need to be made worse by being minimized. In my case, nothing I did during the first four months of my pregnancy helped assuage or relieve my morning sickness. However, the natural remedies we list here have a successful track record with providing relief for many pregnant women. If none work for you, make sure you stay in touch with your care provider during this difficult time, as you may be in need of medication or hydration to get you through.