I didn’t hear from many of my girlfriends in their first trimesters of pregnancy. Like many women, they had planned to not let anyone know until they cleared three months. Yet their bodies made it hard to keep a secret, due to morning sickness. (After all, there are only so many days that a woman can claim that she has the flu.)
Morning sickness, also known as nausea gravidarum (mostly to doctors, let’s be honest) is a condition that affects over 50% of pregnant women. Many of my friends described it more like “all day sickness.” Blame the hormone levels, as well as evolutionary survival adaptation, which is a way the body prevents the woman from consuming contaminated foods.
Is there anything that can be done? There is a lot of trial and error in the morning sickness game. Here are some natural remedies to try that might make your nausea gravidarum more tolerable (take that, doctors).
1. Get Rest
The easiest of morning sickness remedies is rest. Morning sickness often goes hand in hand with fatigue and many women report that the more tired they are, the worse their morning sickness is. Get to bed as early as you can and give in to your tiredness.
2. Take Vitamin B6 and B12
Studies have shown that B6 can improve nausea and B12 can reduce the episodes of vomiting. Talk to your doctor before adding any vitamins to your daily routine. Many prenatals have the B vitamins built right in. If you are the forgetful type, your doctor may be able to provide you with a B12 shot.
3. Have Little Bites… Often
A mix of protein and complex carbs can keep you fueled, but the most important thing is that your stomach doesn’t become empty. I have had friends keep saltine crackers or almonds by their bedside, while others made a sandwich in the morning, set a timer and commit to having one bite every hour of the day. Keeping your stomach satiated can sometimes move severe morning sickness into the mild category. (For inspiration on eating healthy despite morning sickness, take a look at year-round recipe options).
4. The Right Smells
Pregnant women are famous for being averse to certain smells, but it is just as important to figure out what smells make you feel better. Although a study found no improvement in nausea and vomiting upon smelling mint, some women like the soothing smell. Chamomile tea can also be helpful, as much to drink as to inhale.
5. No-Fail Ginger
Ginger is seen as an effective herbal remedy for decreasing vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. There are so many ways to consume it, including making your own ginger ale, chewing on ginger chews or making a hot drink with ginger, mint and honey. As with any herbal remedy, you want to be careful not to have too much, which in ginger’s case, could result in diarrhea or heartburn. Best to keep it to 1 gram of ginger extract. Discuss any concerns or questions with your health care provider.