Morning sickness is one of the most normal and common pregnancy issues and my least favorite. The "morning" (that lasts all day) sickness can bring your day to a screeching halt. There are medications that doctors can order for you, but it's usually best to avoid all medications during pregnancy if possible. My suggestion is to speak with your doctor (or midwife), do your research and speak with them again!
Morning sickness is one of the most common, and one of the first obvious signs of pregnancy. Most women start experiencing nausea after their first 4 weeks of being pregnant. Usually, it subsides by the second trimester, but some lucky ladies experience it throughout their whole pregnancy.
Occasional vomiting isn't harmful to you or your baby (as unpleasant as it is), but it is important to keep well nourished and hydrated. If you are unable to keep a significant amount of food down, this could be a symptom of a larger problem called hyperemesis gravidarum.
What causes morning sickness?
The actual cause of morning sickness isn't completely understood. It's thought to be a combination of the hCG hormone and extra estrogen. The hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone increases very quickly during the first few months of pregnancy. It's not known for sure if these hormones cause nausea, but in cases where women have more of this hormone (such as twins) they tend to have more nausea.
It can also be related to the increased sensitivity a new mama has during pregnancy. Smells that never bothered you before, may no become unbearable.
Another theory is that it could be due to poor gut health. Many, many Americans are having gut health issues due to mainstream eating habits, amongst other things. Poor gut health is largely due to a good bacteria vs bad bacteria battle going on in your GI tract. There are now products like this focusing specifically on this aspect of morning sickness, which many women are finding helpful.
Mistakes Not to Make
Sometimes the morning sickness causes us to avoid putting anything in our stomach. It's so important to recognize that this can cause health problems during pregnancy. Make sure that even if you are having some serious nausea, that you are avoiding these mistakes.
Not eating enough
Sometimes the fear of becoming nauseated can make a pregnant mama avoid eating. This can be a big mistake. An empty stomach can actually trigger more nausea. Not only that but its really important that you are getting as much nutrition and calories as you can in these early days, even if your feeling sick. Try small amounts of bland foods to start with such as crackers or dry toast.
Saltines did wonders for me first thing in the morning. This was especially helpful at work. And, though they don't have much nutrition, they helped calm my nausea long enough for me to eat a nourishing breakfast.
If you start to notice certain times of the day where your nausea is the calmest, try eating your meals during those times of day. Make sure to focus on nourishing foods. Lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Make sure you are taking your prenatal vitamins as well!
This may be an obvious one, but avoid foods that make you nauseated. Try not to think about them either, as this can worsen your nausea.
Being nauseated may be making you avoid food, but it may also cause you to forget to drink enough water. Frequent nausea and vomiting can cause you to lose electrolytes and cause dehydration.
To avoid this, replenish the fluids you lose by drinking more water and drinks containing electrolytes, especially if you aren’t eating much due to the bad nausea. Talk to your doctor if you think you might be dehydrated and unable to make up for it.
Try drinking your favorite drinks. For me, I had a constant craving for sweet tea. Normally I avoid drinks with sugar in them, but it was one thing my body seemed to beg for and didn't worsen my nausea. You can even get concentrated trace minerals and add a tablespoon to your favorite drink to help offset the electrolytes you may be losing due to vomiting.
Eating the wrong foods
When the nausea subsides, you may be tempted to binge on all your favorite foods. This may do more harm than good though. Sometimes the nausea can go away for a day or two, and come right back. So eating that spicy burrito or half of a pizza may be sound great, but it could upset your stomach and put you right back to square one.
Know when its too much
If you're unable to hold any food or liquid down for more than 24 hours, it's probably time to see a doctor. It can quickly lead to malnutrition or severe dehydration. This is not a good situation to be in, especially while pregnant.
Foods to Eat with Morning Sickness
Bland foods are great for nausea. They are unoffensive to your other senses and less likely to trigger nausea. You want to avoid anything with complicated ingredients are intense or spicy flavors. Anything dry or bland are usually well tolerated. Saltine crackers, dry toast, bananas. If you're gluten-free try some organic rice crackers. They work really well too.
Find things your body is ok with, and keep rotating those. They may not be as nourishing as other foods, but if you're able to tolerate them while nauseated, it's worth it. If they make your stomach feel better, try incorporating more nutrient dense foods during your not-so-nauseated times.
For morning sickness or any other type of nausea, chilled foods and treats are often welcomed. They are well tolerated and can help soothe your stomach. They also feel great on a throat that is sore from vomiting all day. This isn't an excuse to binge on ice cream though! Some women find that dairy upsets their stomach.
Try finding (or making) special pregnancy popsicles. Or make yummy nutrient dense smoothies and freeze them in popsicle molds. I make awesome vitamin C popsicles for me and my kiddos with the recipe. Also, avoid artificial sweeteners (which some frozen treats are loaded with!), they are terrible for you and baby!
If you can't stand the idea of eating something, you could always try drinking your nutrients. Make sure you are getting LOTS of water, and switch it up with some herbal teas. (I'll go more into these a bit later.) You could also try some ginger-ale or lemonade.
Homemade is best if you can, but store-bought can be fine too. Just really look at the ingredients to make sure you're not just drinking a bunch of corn syrup. Speaking of lemonade, that can also be wonderful for nausea, squeezing lemons into ice-cold mineral water is amazing, or try some hard lemon candy.
Tips for Easing Morning Sickness
Anticipate Your Nausea
One of the best ways you can get a handle on your pregnancy-related nausea is to figure out what time of day it's at its worst. While sometimes you might get it randomly, many women have it only in the morning (Mine tended to peak midmorning, or when I would first get to work), or perhaps late at night.
If you can anticipate the times of the day when nausea is bad, it is a lot easier to prep for it. Try eating a light meal around that time and have your ginger tea ready to go to ease the nausea before it even starts.
Eat Before You Get Out of Bed
This is a common tip you'll probably hear often. The reason nausea during pregnancy is called morning sickness is because this is typically when most people get it. It can often be worse in the morning because you are just waking up with an empty stomach.
To help this, keep some crackers (or whatever else works for you) by your bedside so that you can nibble on a cracker or two before you even get out of bed. This is often enough to ease that nausea or at least make it less severe.
Avoid Perfumes & Strong odors
You may also notice that your morning sickness or (all-day sickness) can be triggered by smells. Different strong smells can cause you to become nauseated, from bacon and sausage in the morning to a strong perfume or cologne.
I felt so bad having to tell my husband I couldn't tolerate the way he smelled after a shower. His soap had a certain smell and I just couldn't stand to be around it. (I honestly barely ever noticed it before, it is not even a scented soap.)
If you find scents that you do like, try to keep them with you. It may help in masking other odors that trigger nausea. Or if you are tolerating mints, keep those on hand too to help quell the nausea. (This is a trick I used as a nurse when my nausea was at it's worst, cinnamon mints mask nearly all the smells.)
Focus on Your Hydration
It is incredibly important that you stay hydrated while you are pregnant. Not only does this help reduce your overall nausea, but if you are vomiting as a result of your morning sickness, you are losing a lot of hydration. Drink as much water as you can to help keep you hydrated and gently ease your morning sickness. There's a super cute water bottle here with a time tracker to remind you to drink water! It even has little stickers to show you where your little one is on the weekly progress chart.
This is Part 1 in a 2 Part series. Next part is all about natural remedies that help with morning sickness! Now you can get to the good stuff!
Now Things you can do to help your Nausea Right Now!
- First steps to take when you find out your pregnant
- 5 of the Best Herbal Teas For Pregnancy
- 10 steps to a successful natural birth
- Save a TON of money on a new baby