85% of pregnant women are affected by nausea and vomiting due to morning sickness with 3% of pregnant women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum– a severe form of morning sickness which causes weight loss, dehydration, electrolyte balance, and other physical and psychological side effects (McParlin et al., 2016). Although morning sickness is a natural response to women’s bodily changes, it can affect many women’s daily lives, especially if no intervention is taken place. If you’re reading this, you’re probably suffering from morning sickness at this very moment OR you may be getting ready for what’s to come. You may also have quickly uncovered the truth that pregnancy isn’t just consisted of rainbows– it also definitely has you experiencing the lowest of lows. And the saying, “there is no rainbow without rain” doesn’t get more real than this especially if you are one of the many mamas who tend to have really bad morning sickness. You will get through this. I’ve also been there… twice. My morning sickness lasted all day for both of my pregnancies and well into the latter half of my second trimester. The sight and smell of chicken triggered nausea that could last hours on end and hanging out on the couch was my life for what felt like forever and a day. BUT the good news is, it passed. And at the end of it, I was able to hold a beautiful baby in my arms.
There was quite a steep learning curve figuring out what worked for me and what didn’t but once I got gathered my choice weapons for this long gruesome battle, it was much more bearable. Before you read on to see what helped me in my particular case, please be reminded that everyone’s body will react differently. While some of the tips I list may work for some, some may not experience any relief. Always keep tabs with your doctor and make sure they are well informed of what you want to implement to help keep your morning sickness at bay.
For both of my pregnancies, I required prescription drugs because I was losing too much weight and I was truly suffering. My doctor and I worked as a team and found the best medication that took the edge off of my morning sickness but I still needed the help of other natural methods to help me get through tough days.
Here’s what worked for me and will hopefully work for you:
- Sea bands: Sea bands are bands that go around your wrists and put pressure on a pressure point that helps subside nausea. They are usually used for individuals who suffer from seasickness (hence the name, sea bands) but they work like a charm especially when the going gets tough during your first trimester. It’s cheap and all you need to do is keep them on your wrist and forget about them (I wore them the whole day and put extra pressure on the area when my nausea reached its peak during the day).
- Ginger capsules, teas, candy: Though I later grew an aversion to ginger ale and ginger chews, ginger capsules, teas, and hard candies helped me tremendously. The strong taste overwhelms me but that’s what got the job done to subside my nausea. There’s even a systematic review by Ozgoli and Zaz (2018) which focused on randomized controlled trials showed that women found relief in complementary interventions like acupressure, aromatherapy, and herbal medicine. Of the various interventions mentioned, this review showed ginger and acupressure on the internal wrist, showed the greatest relief for the women participating in the studies. In another study, a group of women who took about 1g of ginger daily for at least four days was associated with a significant likelihood of improvement compared to a group of women who were given a placebo (Thomson, Corbin, & Leung, 2014). My favorite ginger root capsules can be found here and my favorite ginger tea can be found here. Remember, when picking ginger teas, make sure the actual ingredient is listed on the label!
- Graze: So this is probably the one time I would advise grazing. If you’re not familiar with the term, “graze”, imagine a cow munching on grass all day, every day. It basically means to eat/nibble/munch on something throughout the day. Grazing in small portions is the key. The times I noticed myself getting nauseous was usually when my stomach was empty for a couple of hours.
- Cold (preferably frozen) fruits and drinks: Rather than a warm bowl of oatmeal that might sound amazing when you’re not pregnant, usually something cold or frozen is easier to consume when you have morning sickness. My favorite fruits to freeze were blueberries, green and red grapes, and raspberries. At one point, these were the only foods that I could actually keep down without dry heaving. It’s also vital to have plenty of fluids when you’re pregnant. However, many people find drinking water as a strong trigger. What helped me stay hydrated was to drink cold water with a few slices of lemon or other fruits infused in it. Cold flavored seltzer water like Spindrift or Waterloo is also a great alternative.
- Ditch fatty foods: Instead of ordering yourself a donut or a serving of fries, try opting for something higher in protein and/or carbohydrate and preferably bland instead. High-fat foods are harder to digest and can easily cause upset to your GI tract. Think wheat crackers with hummus, breakfast cereals, or toast!
- Crackers in bed: If you find yourself struggling upon waking, keep crackers or toast on your nightstand so that you can nibble on some before getting out of bed in the morning. Morning sickness is felt a lot stronger when your stomach is empty so getting some crackers in your system may help you get your day started.
- Experiment with your prenatal vitamins: Try out different prenatal vitamins that work for you. After trying over 10 different brands of prenatal vitamins, I always come back to Thorne Research Prenatal Vitamins because it checks all the boxes for me: sensitive for women suffering from morning sickness, budget-friendly, only need to take once a day, gone through multiple rounds of testing, and the lab its made from is third-party certified. If you still suspect your prenatal vitamins are worsening your symptoms, try taking them at bedtime!
- Light exercises in the morning: Moving your body for at least 20 minutes will release endorphins that can be quite effective in alleviating nausea. Going on a walk, a swim, or even doing some stretches were helpful ways to get those endorphins pumping. There are many prenatal yoga sequences that you can find on YouTube. My favorite ones are by FIT by Larie and SarahBethYoga.
- Ask your doctor about vitamin B6: About 25g of vitamin B6 has shown to help reduce nausea in some women. The prescription medication I took had a strong dose of vitamin B6 as well and it worked absolute wonders for me. Just remember to talk with your doctor first before taking any type of supplements.
- Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint is a wonderful herb with anti-nausea properties as it helps relax gastric muscles rather than contract and tense up. Try adding about 10 drops to your diffuser and keep it going in your room or you can even try making my DIY Morning Sickness Banishing Rollerball Recipe which has peppermint oil and ginger oil in it! Roll some on your wrists and on the sides of your neck. If you’re not into oils, try chewing some strong peppermint gum!
I truly hope some or at least one of these tips helps you combat your morning sickness!