For many women, morning sickness is one of the more unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, especially early on. It can disrupt your routine and interfere with daily activities like going to work, taking care of your children, household chores, and enjoying hobbies.
Morning sickness is defined as nausea and vomiting that occurs during pregnancy. It is poorly named, however, as it can happen any time of day or night. Many women get past morning sickness after the first trimester, but some women may experience sickness throughout the entire pregnancy.
Usually, morning sickness is extremely unpleasant but not considered dangerous, but it can progress to something more severe in rare cases. Hyperemesis gravidarum occurs when nausea and vomiting are so frequent that they can cause severe dehydration, weight loss, and even malnutrition. When this happens, the health of both the baby and the mother can be threatened, so physician treatment or hospitalization may be required.
How Can I Relieve My Morning Sickness?
There are many things you can try to alleviate morning sickness. These include dietary habits, changes in your routine, and supplements. We have six tips for relieving and managing morning sickness.
1. Drink Lots of Fluids
It’s always important to stay hydrated, but if you are suffering from morning sickness, vomiting may lead to dehydration. Therefore, it’s important to drink non-caffeinated beverages throughout the day. Water, electrolyte drinks, and ginger ale are good options. Ginger ale may not be as good for hydration as water or sports drinks, but still counts toward fluid intake and can settle your stomach with the carbonation and ginger.
It is recommended you get eight servings of these fluids per day. However, take care to continuously sip throughout the day rather than gulping down a lot at once. Chugging a big drink can lead to feeling overly full, more nausea and even vomiting.
2. Start Snacking
It can be difficult to think about eating when you’re nauseous, but light snacking can actually help with morning sickness. In general, an empty stomach can actually worsen nausea.
You should eat smaller snacks throughout the day rather than having the traditional three bigger meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Choose snacks that are less likely to upset your stomach. You can find some suggestions for what to avoid and what to gravitate towards later in the list.
Start snacking as soon as you wake up. You may want to make it a part of your routine to have some crackers or another bland food before you even get out of bed. Making sure you have something in your stomach before you take a prenatal vitamin is also helpful, as vitamins can cause or worsen nausea.
3. Get Fresh Air
Breathing fresh air can sometimes be a remedy for nausea related to morning sickness. Opening windows or taking a walk outside can help relieve an upset stomach. Stale or recycled air can feel stifling, so letting fresh air in or getting out can make you more comfortable.
4. Make Careful Food Choices
If you’re usually a pretty adventurous eater, then you might have to dial back that palate a bit when you have morning sickness. Foods that are fatty, greasy, or spicy may be difficult to digest and cause stomach upset.
Choose easily digestible, bland foods like rice, toast, applesauce, or bananas. Some people find that salty foods such as pretzels and crackers can help relieve morning sickness.
Many people also benefit from consuming ginger. Ginger ale, ginger tea, and ginger hard candies or lollipops are commonly used to settle the stomach. However, be careful not to consume too much ginger, especially if it’s fresh because it can lead to heartburn.
5. Alternative Medicine
While there is little research on some of these methods, some women report relief from morning sickness after partaking in alternative medicine practices. These treatments may include hypnosis, aromatherapy, acupressure, or acupuncture.
While most of these methods require a visit to a practitioner, you can try acupressure with wristbands that are available at some pharmacies. These wristbands do not require a prescription.
6. Supplements and Medications
There are many supplements on the market that claim they will treat different types of nausea, including morning sickness. The effectiveness of these treatments can vary from person to person and depend on the ingredients used.
Vitamins B6 is often a key ingredient in many of these supplements. Other ingredients that are commonly found in morning sickness relief products include ginger and mint. These treatments come in different forms including wristbands, pills, liquid drops, lozenges, and even lollipops.
You should talk to your care provider before adding an over-the-counter supplement or medicine to your routine. If your morning sickness is severe, your care provider may recommend prescription treatments. If it progresses to hyperemesis gravidarum, IV fluids or even hospitalization may be necessary.
If your prenatal vitamin is causing stomach upset or vomiting, you can try taking it with food as previously suggested. Taking it right before bed may also help you avoid negative effects. If these methods don’t help, speak to your care provider about other steps you can take to help relieve morning sickness.
At City of Oaks Midwifery, our certified nurse-midwives will be there for you before, during, and after your pregnancy. If you’re looking for caregivers who will provide education and include you in the decision-making process, call (919) 351-8253 to make an appointment at one of our three offices in Raleigh, Clayton, or Cary, NC. You can also request an appointment online.