Morning sickness is the name given to nausea and vomiting experienced during the first trimester of pregnancy. Despite its name, this sickness can affect pregnant women at any time. However, you’re more likely to experience symptoms more strongly in the morning. Morning sickness usually begins around week 5, reaching its peak around week 9 and finishing by week 16.
Although it’s tough to endure weeks of nausea and vomiting, it’s reassuring to know that morning sickness can be a good sign that your body is adjusting well to the pregnancy.
If you’re at the beginning of your pregnancy and just starting to experience morning sickness, you’ll be glad to know there are some remedies that you can try. Soon you may develop a coping mechanism to help you through these weeks of sickness.
Eat little and often
With food aversions and nausea, food may be the last thing on your mind. However, hunger will only make your symptoms worse. The dip in blood sugar which accompanies hunger will increase the stress on your sensitive stomach. Experiment with different foods to find out what your stomach can tolerate right now.
Avoid certain foods
Foods which may worsen your symptoms include greasy, oily, spicy, very sweet or strong-smelling foods. Stick to plain foods which will be easier to tolerate. Everyone is different and you’ll eventually learn which foods you can easily eat and which foods trigger your nausea.
Remember the usual list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, including unpasteurised milk products, raw or undercooked meat and eggs, soft cheeses, blue cheese and soft-serve ice cream.
Eat when you wake up
We’re never hungrier than when we just wake up. Alleviate your morning sickness as soon as you wake up by keeping snacks next to your bed. Opt for dry foods like crackers, Rich Tea biscuits and nuts which will absorb some of the excess stomach acid.
Ginger is known for its stomach-settling effects. There are plenty of ways to incorporate ginger into your diet, like in tea, capsules, sweets and lollipops.
Note that Ginger Tea is the only herbal tea which is recommended during pregnancy, all other herbal teas, such as Chamomile or Peppermint, are not recommended because the effects on the unborn baby are unknown.
Don’t drink with meals
You may be finding it difficult to drink your recommended amount of water due to its weight in your stomach. For this reason, avoid drinking while eating so you can fit more food into your stomach more comfortably. Sip on water consistently throughout the day to reach your 2-litre goal without upsetting your stomach.
Open the windows
Smells can be extremely triggering right now. Even smells you usually love may be leaving you feeling sick. Avoid odours building up by keeping your space well ventilated.
Take your vitamins on a full stomach
Most prenatal multivitamins contain Iron, which is important for your health during pregnancy but can be hard on your stomach. Taking your multivitamin on an empty stomach may make it harder to keep it down.
Rushing around is likely to make you feel worse. Give yourself plenty of time to get out of bed in the morning and avoid rushing throughout the day.
Keep your mouth fresh
Lingering flavours in your mouth can make your nausea much worse. Many women find it helpful to eat minty sweets when they feel sick. You might find that your regular toothpaste is turning your stomach so experiment with different types. Don’t delay brushing your teeth because you can’t stomach the toothpaste, you’ll feel worse in the long run.
Try alternative treatments
Many women find relief in acupressure bands which are intended to treat seasickness. These are widely available in pharmacies and work by applying pressure to an acupressure point in the inner wrist. Other alternative treatments include acupuncture and meditation.
Talk to your doctor
If your morning sickness is disrupting your life, discuss your options with your doctor or midwife. They can guide you to help you find the best remedies available for your stage of pregnancy.
Important: Contact your doctor immediately if you have lost weight or have symptoms of dehydration including dizziness and dark-coloured urine. Go to your local Emergency Department if you’re unable to hold down any fluids.
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