When I became pregnant with my first daughter I was overjoyed. I imagined shopping for tiny baby clothes and preparing an adorable nursery. I did not envision my head in a toilet bowl battling near constant nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, this became my reality for much of my first, second and third pregnancy. If you are reading this I assume you are dealing with this not so glamorous side effect of pregnancy. I’m sorry, I understand how difficult this can be to deal with and I am going to share my best tips for coping with morning sickness.
If you are experiencing morning sickness, you are not alone, studies estimate 50-90% of pregnant women will experience nausea during their pregnancy. For some it is their first sign of pregnancy. Even though it is commonly referred to as morning sickness, a lot of women will have nausea all day or only in the evening.
The symptoms of morning sickness usually start by week 6. It is believed to be due to the rapidly rising HCG levels in early pregnancy. Thankfully, HCG levels start to level off at the beginning of the second trimester (13 weeks) and most women find that their nausea subsides at this point.
Morning sickness can be one of the toughest pregnancy symptoms to deal with. A lot of women haven’t even announced their pregnancy yet when it is in full force. Normal day to day life can be a challenge when you feel constantly nauseated or have to run to the bathroom. After personally dealing with morning sickness in all three of my pregnancies, I feel I have tried it all and here are the things I found most effective.
Eat Small, Frequent Meals
An empty stomach can make nausea much worse, which in turn makes it that much harder to eat anything. Having small meals or snacks throughout the day can help.
If you find that your morning sickness is bad first thing in the morning, it is usually due to an empty stomach. I found keeping a stash of crackers, pretzels or nuts to munch on when I woke up or got up to go pee in the middle of the night helped immensely.
Try to avoid foods that can trigger nausea. Fatty, heavy, and spicy foods can really make things worse. Opting for lighter, easier to digest foods will allow you to eat a bit more and fill up on healthy calories.
Try to drink water as often as possible and stay hydrated. During pregnancy your blood volume increases by 40-50% and your fluid requirements increase to compensate. So it is important to remain hydrated. If you have been nauseated or vomiting this can be a daunting task. Keep a water bottle nearby so you can take small sips frequently. I found drinking through a straw easier than taking sips while nauseated.
Try A Different Vitamin
If you are having a hard time with your prenatal vitamins you are not alone. Prenatal vitamins can be hard on your stomach and the extra iron content can exacerbate nausea. Taking them at bedtime can help.
During my last pregnancy I used gummy prenatal vitamins. I had been considering skipping my prenatal vitamins, at my obstetrician’s suggestion, because every time I tried swallowing those giant pills I would gag and get sick. The chewable version were much more tolerable. I was able to take them during the day, they tasted great and my growing baby and I got an extra dose of vitamins and nutrients that we needed. Make sure to check with your doctor if the chewable version is an option for you. Different vitamins contain varying levels of vitamins and nutrients and they may not meet your current needs.
Vitamin B6 has also been shown to be beneficial in reducing nausea in pregnant women. Supplementing with Vitamin B6 is something you could discuss with your care provider.
Alternative Treatments For Morning Sickness
To curb morning sickness try sucking on lemon, ginger or sour candies. I liked the Preggie Pops candies. The scents of peppermint and spearmint are also found to help cut nausea in half within 5 minutes. Sipping on peppermint tea or chewing spearmint gum are easy options.
Controlled deep breathing is also shown to help with a nausea attack. To practice, take a a deep breath in through your nose, hold for a count of 3 seconds, and breathe out through your mouth for 3 seconds. Repeat until the feeling passes.
Try wearing nausea bands that put pressure on pressure points on your wrists. They have been reported as helpful at minimizing morning sickness.
Get Help For Your Morning Sickness
If things are not getting better or your nausea is accompanied by abdominal pain you need to talk with your doctor or obstetrician. They can prescribe medications that will help and need to rule out any other underlying causes.
Hang in there. It can be hard when your pregnancy isn’t going the way you hoped or envisioned. Take time for yourself, talk with family and friends and remember that before you know it your sweet babe will be in your arms and your morning sickness will be a distant memory. If I can help in any way feel free to reach out, I’d love to hear from you!