While the positive sign on the pregnancy stick is exciting, the often-accompanying morning sickness is not. It’s about a 50/50 split whether you’ll experience morning sickness or not, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. What we do know is that certain home remedies are more effective than others.
In most cases, the most dramatic physical discomforts associated with morning sickness diminish and go away altogether after the first trimester. A very small percentage of women experience morning sickness throughout their entire pregnancy. An even smaller percentage have hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a very severe form of morning sickness that often leads to hospitalization.
And, before we continue, let’s be clear that morning sickness is a misnomer; it should be referred to as “pregnancy sickness” or “anytime sickness” for accuracy’s sake because it can strike at any time of the day or night.
Home Remedies That Effectively Relieve Morning Sickness
Your healthcare provider will check in during prenatal visits to ask how you’re feeling, ensuring you’re adequately hydrated and that your nutritional needs are met. Believe it or not, most women continue receiving all the nutrients they need, despite the puking and lack of appetite that accompanies pregnancy sickness.
That said, the more you can do to relieve nausea and vomiting, the more nutrients you and your baby will benefit from. Here are some remedies to try:
Don’t let your tummy get empty
An empty tummy is lose-lose because higher-acid levels cause or prolong nausea, which creates a vicious cycle. Rather than going your normal three-meals-a-day route, eat very small snacks as often as you can. This will help keep just enough coming in to ward off intense nausea without overwhelming your sensitive tummy and gag reflex.
- Don’t skip breakfast, and consider keeping a box of crackers, or nuts, on your nightstand so you can nibble on them when you wake up at night and first thing in the morning.
- Never go more than two or three hours without a little something in your tummy.
- Drink plenty of water or herbal tea in small, manageable doses (herbal teas with raspberry leaf tea are a midwife’s standby pregnancy tea).
Use an ancient Chinese pressure point
Pressure points have been used successfully by acupressure and acupuncture practitioners for thousands of years. If you look at the inside of your wrist, you’ll notice two tendons that run down the center of your forearm and connect to the wrist.
There’s a sensitive pressure point right in between them, about two fingers-widths down from the base of your wrist. Try using firm pressure, via a finger from your other hand, on this point. Better yet, have someone do it for you. Alternate places along the space between those tendons, at just about the two-fingers-width point, and press where it feels most sensitive as this is typically the most effective spot. Maintain a gentle but firm pressure until nausea abates.
While you’re at it, look for an acupuncturist near you. Acupuncture can also alleviate pregnancy discomforts, including morning sickness.
Get friendly with ginger in all its forms
Ginger is known for its tummy taming properties. It comes in a wide range of forms, giving you the freedom to consume it on a particularly rough sick day. You can purchase ginger tea, add slices of fresh ginger to your water, look for ginger lollipops (a personal favorite for many of our patients), or in “mint” form. There’s something about slowly sucking ginger-infused candies that seem to do the trick most of the time.
Avoid the sugary stuff
Spikes in blood sugar levels aren’t good for you or your baby, and they tend to exacerbate morning sickness. Instead, look for healthy, savory options. Miso soup with small tofu pieces can be just what you need – giving you a salty but protein-rich broth that will nourish you while being easy to digest. Saltines are a regular favorite to keep tucked in the purse or by the bedside, and you can try eating them with a thin slice of cheese for extra protein.
Nuts are easy to keep with you and contain essential fats that are easy-to-digest, Mashed potatoes or yams are a healthy option, with a bit of whole milk and butter, and smoothies are another way to play with tasty fruit and beverage combinations, using yogurt and/or almond milk for added protein. There’s never been a better time to reacquaint yourself with the joys of homemade mac-n-cheese, using whole-wheat macaroni, of course.
Add a little lemon or cucumber to water (or try a flavor-infused sparkling version)
Many of our patients find plain water hard on the stomach, while lemon and/or cucumber-infused flavor softens its effect. Bubbly water is also settling to the tummy, so experiment with flavor-infused versions and see what you think.
Freeze your favorite sports drink flavor(s) in ice trays
The two immediate threats from extended morning sickness or vomiting bouts are dehydration and an imbalance of electrolytes. Keep an ice tray (available at most dollar stores) in the freezer filled with a sports drink of your choice. The ice cubes will be refreshing and are an excellent way to get small doses of hydration and electrolytes into your system without causing you to vomit. This trick is good for keeping you hydrated when you’re in labor, too.
Get lots of rest
That first trimester can be a doozy, and your body is running an invisible, internal marathon working to create your beautiful baby. Often, we notice our patients’ most severe morning sickness coincides with times when they got less sleep than usual, were busier than normal, or were unable to fit an afternoon rest period into the works.
We know it isn’t always easy, but the more you can get your feet up and rest (or nap!) – with a healthy snack nearby – the better.
What are your go-to remedies for morning sickness? Please share them with Women’s Health Associates so we can pass them on to our patients and followers.