Suggestions for Morning Sickness Remedies
When Mother’s Day rolls around in the near future, you can look forward to waking up to big smiles and breakfast in bed. In the meantime, let’s talk through surviving the next few weeks with a different bedfellow: namely, Morning Sickness. Not quite aptly named, this phenomenon refers to the unfortunate nausea that often accompanies early pregnancy.
Roughly 85% of women experience morning sickness or general nausea within the first trimester. It tends to taper off within the fourth month, though cases in which it persists until birth aren’t unheard of.
Thankfully, there are plenty of simple remedies available to help alleviate some of the discomfort. Just remember: breakfast in bed, breakfast in bed, breakfast in bed… (You better be getting homemade waffles. You deserve them.) Below we will go over some great morning sickness remedies.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
Doctors are still undecided on the definite cause, but there are several popular theories currently. The most widely regarded explanation is an increase in the hormone HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin).
The first 14–16 weeks after a missed period show the highest pique of HCG, after which it gradually subsides. Pregnancies involving twins or triplets yield greater amounts of this particular hormone as well, which is produced by the placenta and assists in the development of your baby (or babies!).
Other possibilities include Morning Sickness being an evolutionary mechanism meant to steer you away from substances that can interfere with or harm your pregnancy, or else a possible increase in the strain on your adrenal glands, which are responsible for the conversion of sugar into energy.
Over-stressed adrenals may deplete your sugar storage, resulting in the breakdown of tissue. While none of these ideas have been agreed upon fully, understanding what could be causing your symptoms will help you to work to prevent and treat them.
Many women cite certain scents as triggering bouts of nausea. This may be in part due to the increased estrogen in your body, which sharpens your sense of smell. You can try avoiding these as much as possible, but for when that’s not an option, keep something fresh on hand. Sometimes sniffing a little lemon or peppermint oil can relieve temporary nausea brought on by other, less pleasant odors.
Morning Sickness can be exacerbated by plenty of factors besides smell, however. Dehydration can be both a byproduct of your nausea, as well as a stepping stone towards it. If water seems unappealing, ginger ale is a popular alternative. The sharper the bite of the ginger, the better, and if it’s too sweet, try cutting it with a little water.
If you’re craving something cool, pour some gatorade into an ice tray and pop it in the freezer. Sucking on something chilly might help settle queasiness, and the electrolytes in the gatorade are an extra blessing if you’re having trouble staying hydrated. Alternately, if you’re looking for something warm, tea is high on the list of many women’s recommendations. Peppermint, raspberry, spearmint and ginger recur as the go-to’s.
Lastly, as much as you may want to stay far, far away from food when you’re feeling nauseous, an empty stomach only adds to the discomfort. Try eating small meals and snacks throughout the day to prevent winding up with an empty belly.
Simple carbs and starches are easy to digest and may help to settle any squeamishness. If you can hold down some protein as well, a combination of carbohydrates and high protein foods (think crackers with peanut butter) will digest more slowly, helping you to feel full for longer.
To avoid having to get up in the middle of the night, keep a stash on/in your nightstand, or easily accessible from your bed. If you’re able, try aiding your digestion with probiotics and enzyme-rich foods in your meals. Avocados, pineapple, and fermented vegetables all do the trick.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes we just can’t escape cruel fate. Fortunately, most natural remedies are easy to find and keep on-hand for such situations. Just remember that if the nausea persists or becomes unbearable, you may need to contact your physician just to be safe.
The number one antidote prescribed by published sources and personal anecdote is ginger. There are a variety of ways to ingest this root: capsules, tea, chews, lollipops, raw and steeped in water. Any of these methods are effective, natural, and safe for pregnancy.
10 to 25 mg three times a day is the recommended dosage to help quell unsettled stomachs. B6 is doctor-approved and a great alternative to prescription medication, if your nausea is mild to moderate.
Magnesium helps moderate the cortisol in our bodies, a stress-hormone which, when produced in excess, can lead to you feeling sick. Magnesium supplements are available in various forms, from foot/bath soaks to pills, but make sure to keep an eye on your consumption of calcium as well as Vitamins D, B6, and B12, all of which aid in magnesium absorption.
Tea, Watermelon, and Bone Broth
These are all various options that mostly aid in keeping you hydrated, which helps to keep nausea from worsening. Additionally, some women claim various kinds of herbal teas help to settle their stomach (ginger and raspberry top the charts).
Bone Broth also has the wonderful added benefit of helping the body produce bile, another component in avoiding morning sickness. Collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline all contribute to healthy gut activity and digestion.
Medical professionals have yet to find statistical backing that suggests this method to be scientifically supported, but plenty of women swear it’s brought them relief. The functionality behind the band is a small amount of applied pressure targeting an area of the body that stimulates nerve fibres and results in the creation of endorphins, the hormone that helps block the processing of pain.
As suggested above, smell can be a driving force in our stomach’s unease, so keeping fresh or bright scents on hand may help to combat this. Peppermint oil is a relatively inexpensive option if citrus isn’t really your style.
If none of the above regimen proves particularly successful, don’t panic. Plenty of women don’t find the relief they are seeking from natural remedies, but many do. There is nothing shameful in seeking the advice of your doctor, who may be able to prescribe you alternatives that may work better for you. There are side effects to all medication, and some prescriptions have not yet been thoroughly tested for safety, so don’t hesitate to communicate at length with your physician. Nutrition is important during pregnancy, and difficult to sustain with an upset stomach, so explore your options. Although we recommend natural remedies first, and prescriptions as a last resort, here are some more remedies for morning sickness.
Diclegis is the most common name circulating. Formerly Bendectin, this is a drug that originated in Canada but is available internationally, and FDA approved besides. A recent CNN report (January 2017) suggests that the study upon which the FDA based their passing marks may not have been adequately conducted, however there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that Diclegis is in any way harmful to pregnant mothers or their babies. Most common side effects are drowsiness, heartburn, and possible increase in stomach upset.
Reglan is another option for anti-nausea prescription medications. It blocks dopamine and speeds along the emptying of the stomach. Side effects to be wary of include anxiety, depression, grogginess and stiffness.
An antiemetic (antinausea medication), Phenergen is an option that is best to discuss with your physician. While the results on unborn babies have not been tested in humans, studies indicate that there was harm done during trials with animals. The most common side effect is drowsiness, and a difficulty breathing in children under two and adults over sixty five.
Zofran works by blocking the nerves that cause your vomiting and nausea reflex, but it’s a medication best taken as a preventative measure and does little good for symptoms as they’re occurring.
Animal studies suggest there is no harm done to pregnancies, but it has yet to be tested in humans. (Two studies have suggested there may be correlation between Zofran and cleft-palate or heart disease in infants, but this is far from proven.) The most common side effects are headaches and diarrhea, and it may interfere with antidepressants due to a surge in serotonin.
Breathe; This Too Shall Pass
Stomach upset is common in the first few months of pregnancy, though of course it is very unpleasant. Above all else, listen to your body. It’s okay to eat what you crave in moderation. It’s okay to clear your schedule and go back to sleep, if that’s what you need.
Only you can decipher what your body is telling you, so pay close attention to it. Keep a journal of what has or hasn’t helped, if that kind of organization feels useful or therapeutic to you. When all else fails, breathe, and remember that the discomfort is temporary and you’ll get through it. And on the other side? Those Breakfasts-in-Bed. (And a lot of other little wonders, too.)