Being pregnant can do all sorts of strange things to your body, from physical changes to surging hormones. One common complaint is morning sickness, and sadly, despite its name, it is not just limited to the mornings. No one knows precisely what causes this, but nearly 80% of women experience nausea during pregnancy.
Sometimes it can be triggered by strong smells or something you ate, while it can linger all day for other women. Morning sickness is most frequent among first-time mothers and those in their first trimester. The good news is it usually subsides around week 14, with less than 20% of women still experiencing symptoms into their second trimester.
Just because this is a typical experience during pregnancy doesn't mean there isn't anything you can do about it. There are several safe, natural remedies that offer relief from morning sickness. We've researched some of the best tips and treatments to ease your nausea, so you don't have to suffer through this.
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Start with Your Diet
During pregnancy, your digestive system is more sensitive than it was before. Combined with changing hormones and heightened senses of taste and smell, and it's no wonder you can feel nauseous. Since these sensations are tied into your gastrointestinal system, paying closer attention to the food you digest is an excellent place to start on your road to relief.
Eat Small Portions, Frequently
After vomiting, food is probably the last thing you want to think about. But resist the urge to stop eating. An empty stomach will actually make nausea much worse. Instead, aim for more frequent small meals every 2 hours or so. Try crackers, bread, trail mix, nuts, rice, applesauce, bananas, or apples to ward off any symptoms.
Look for Ingredients High in Iron, Magnesium, or Complex Carbohydrates
Several recommended pregnancy nutrients can help treat morning sickness too. Leafy greens, nuts, lentils, sardines, and eggs are great choices. Other helpful selections include whole wheat pasta, cereal, vegetables, or beans.
Try to Limit These Foods
Some studies have shown that fatty, greasy, or fried foods will aggravate your digestive system during pregnancy. They also produce oily cooking smells that can bring on symptoms. Limit your intake of these types of foods. Spicy meals are another trigger to steer clear of. These bold dishes can create excess gas in your digestive tract, causing indigestion and nausea.
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Drink More Water in Between Meals
Many pregnant women find it helps to eat and drink separately, increasing their water intake throughout the day. Up your fluids to around 10 glasses of water a day, rather than the standard 8 that are usually recommended. If you're looking for something more interesting than water, you can expand your horizons to include ice pops, smoothies, Italian ices, or sports drinks high in electrolytes.
Adjust Your Bedtime Routine
Before brushing your teeth, try to eat a nightly snack high in protein like peanut butter and apples, a handful of roasted nuts, or avocado toast. After your night snack, take your prenatal vitamins to spare yourself nausea that comes with taking them on an empty stomach in the morning. Keep some sealed crackers on your night table too, so you can nibble on them when you wake up before getting out of bed.
Give Aromatherapy a Try
While strong odors like smoke, perfume, garbage, and cooking smells can irritate your symptoms, soothing essential oils can have the opposite effect. Peppermint and citrus aromatherapy are particularly beneficial in fighting nausea. You don't need a fancy diffuser either; scented rollers made for pregnant women or just a cotton ball dabbed in essential oil work well.
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Lean on Homeopathic Solutions
Given the limited medications approved during pregnancy, it's not a bad idea to turn toward natural, homeopathic solutions to treat morning sickness. Many women rave about the success they have with techniques like acupressure and acupuncture. Sea bands, which place pressure on the nerve in the center of the wrist, are an affordable option. Traditionally used for those who get motion sickness, they are also popular for easing morning sickness.
Add Some Light Exercise to Your Day
Exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you feel queasy, but the endorphins it releases can alleviate nausea. Now, we are not saying to enter a marathon, but a couple of extra strolls around the block could be helpful. Prenatal yoga or swimming lessons are other fitness routines you might want to incorporate but always check with your doctor beforehand.
Chew Gum or Suck on a Lozenge
Another good trick is to chew some sugar-free gum when you first feel nausea coming on. This sensation can be linked to your sense of balance and the inner ear, so even just the jaw motion of chewing can be helpful in those moments. Don't chew for too long, or it could have the reverse effect; no more than 10 minutes is best.
Some moms say sucking on sour lozenges, or a lollipop also helped them during their morning sickness phase. Why not give it a try? If it works for you, that's all you need.
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Grab Some Ginger
If you were ever told to drink ginger ale as a child when feeling sick, this next tip might sound all too familiar. Ginger is the go-to natural ingredient for treating nausea. You can try ginger and lemon tea (our favorite), candied ginger, ginger snaps, ginger supplements, or chew on a piece of ginger root.
Pour a Glass of Apple Cider Vinegar
Some women claim apple cider vinegar is the key to curing their morning sickness. They mix one tablespoon of it with honey and a glass of water to create a bedtime concoction that may relieve symptoms right away.
Do it All with Lemons
We mentioned citrus essential oils earlier, but how about sniffing an actual lemon? Many say it works. Not only that but eating lemon popsicles, drinking lemon water, or sucking on lemon candy are all ways some women ward off morning sickness.
Perk Up with Peppermint
Do you grow mint in your garden? Perfect! This bold herb is known to combat nausea and digestive issues. Pick off some leaves and inhale, or mix them with lemon, ginger, and water for an impactful herbal tea. Not to worry if you don't have fresh mint available. Peppermint oil is a great substitute that also works well.
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Take Extra Vitamin B6
Doctors don't fully understand why the following advice works, but we're all for it as long as it does the trick. Studies have linked vitamin B6 to reducing symptoms of nausea during pregnancy. They recommend taking a 25mg supplement three times each day to relieve morning sickness. Just check how much B6 is already in your prenatal vitamins; you don't want your overall intake to be over 200mg a day.
Eat Some Papaya
If you'd like to get rid of your nausea and also transport yourself with tropical island feels, papaya is the solution you need. This amazing fruit contains pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down proteins to aid in digestion. It's one of the tastiest morning sickness remedies out there, with a scientific explanation to back it up.
Munch on Fennel or Anise
The intense flavors of fennel and anise can turn some women off. If they don't bother you, these powerful ingredients can help banish morning sickness symptoms. Grab a handful of anise or fennel seeds and chew on them for some relief.
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What if These Natural Remedies Don't Help?
The majority of women can relieve their symptoms without needing to go to the doctor. If none of the natural remedies work for you, don't give up. We're sure there is a solution out there for you. Make an appointment with your doctor and see what safe medications can be taken.
Some of the most commonly recommended drugs include antihistamines like Benadryl, Phenergan, or Unisom. These medications can help cure nausea, especially if taken in conjunction with vitamin B6. Just be careful not to take more than the dosage prescribed by your doctor and check if the label says it can make you drowsy. If so, you'll want to avoid driving while under treatment.
Acid reflux medicines are also commonly recommended. By lowering the acidity in your stomach, they can reduce feelings of indigestion, heartburn, and nausea. If none of these over-the-counter medicines work and you still have trouble keeping any food down, your doctor can prescribe something stronger, like Zofran.
Is It More Than Just Morning Sickness?
Less than 2% of women might have a rare complication called hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes them to vomit severely and repeatedly, leading to dehydration and vitamin deficiency. If you notice any of these symptoms, do not dismiss them as just morning sickness; consult with your doctor immediately.
- Severe, persistent vomiting throughout the entire day
- Rapid heartbeat, increased pulse, and extra saliva production
- Signs of dehydration such as dizziness, infrequent bathroom breaks, or darkly colored urine
- Being unable to hold down any food for more than 12 hours
- Losing more than 5% of your initial body weight
- Increased abdominal cramps or discomfort
Doctors can restore your lost fluids through an IV and provide you with medication and vitamins to treat this condition. By catching it early, you will gain treatment much quicker and reduce any potential complications.