How to Handle Morning Sickness

Approximately 70% of women experience nausea early in pregnancy, of those women about 50% experience vomiting. Morning sickness can strike anytime of the day or night and can sometimes last all day and all night. It is a very common occurrence during pregnancy and can actually occur during any time of the pregnancy. Some moms have reported enduring morning sickness most of the full nine months of pregnancy. In addition, the intensity of morning sickness symptoms can vary considerably from woman to woman. Nonetheless, many women find that morning sickness symptoms decrease or die out altogether after about 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.  

However, if you’re one of many expectant mothers who routinely visit the throne to hang your head over the toilet, you’re probably looking for some relief right away!  

Good news, there are a number of things you can do to help get some relief. While there are no guaranties to preventing morning sickness altogether, there are several tips and measures you can take to limit the severity and frequency of morning sickness.  

Take preventive measures before getting out of bed in the morning. Chances are if you start your day out feeling green about the gills, you won’t feel well the rest of the day either. It’s helpful to keep crackers near your bed so that when you awaken, you can nibble on a few crackers to help absorb stomach acid. If you have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom, nibble on a few crackers when you return to bed. Again, this will aid in absorbing some of the stomach acid which causes you to feel nauseous. Don’t just jump right out of bed; ease in to sitting on the side of the bed for a few minutes. Quick and swift movements on an empty stomach can be an awful thing for someone suffering from morning sickness.  

It’s important to continue to eat through the day, since you are now eating for two. But, instead of eating three regular meals a day, try eating several snacks or mini-meals every couple of hours. This will not only help to keep your energy level up, but in addition will help to bring up your blood sugar levels, which can also be cause for a queasy stomach. Keep Cheerios, carrot sticks and other light snacks in your purse or at your work station to eat through the day.  

Try to prevent morning sickness by eating foods low in fat, high in carbohydrates and protein, dairy and fruit filled smoothers. It may also be wise to stick to bland foods. Try to eat food cold or at room temperature, as food tends to have a stronger smell when it’s hot.  

Do your best to avoid foods and smells that seem to trigger your nausea. Avoid fried and greasy foods, which take longer to digest. Also stay away from rich, spicy and acidic foods, which can irritate your digestive system. In addition, artificial sweeteners, sweets, and caffeine – especially combined with an artificial sweetener can trigger morning sickness.  

Another good strategy is to sip fluids frequently throughout the day. Water is essential to your baby’s development and one of the best ways to avoid morning sickness. However, don’t drink so much at one time that you feel full. Try drinking mostly between meals. Cold carbonated beverages seem to be the easiest to keep down. Some swear that flat Sprite is great for keep nausea at bay. If you’ve been vomiting a great deal, try drinking sports drinks to help replace lost electrolytes.  

Many expectant mothers have a difficult time taking their prenatal vitamins as they too tend to cause upset stomach. Don’t ditch the vitamins! Instead take your prenatal vitamins with a meal or before bed. You can also ask your health care provider to switch to a prenatal vitamin with a low dose of iron, since this too can be hard on your digestive system. Also, dairy foods act as a natural antacid and can help neutralize stomach acids while you sleep; try a cup of yogurt with your prenatal vitamins just before bed.  

If you’re tired, nausea can become worse. Be sure to take time to relax. Sleep when you can to avoid nausea.  

Don’t allow yourself to become overheated. Remember that your hormones are really out of whack during this time period. A pregnant woman’s body temperature can change in a matter of minutes. It’s also a good idea to avoid warm and crowded places if at all possible.  

The sense of smell becomes highly tuned during pregnancy, so avoid strong odors that may trigger nausea. If cooking odors bother you, try to stay out of the kitchen. Ask your partner to tend to the cooking duties or even a friend or relative. On the days you do feel well enough to cook make plenty of food to fill the freezer with leftovers, as microwave cooked foods have less odor than those prepared in the oven or on the stovetop.  

Ginger is also believed to settle an upset stomach. Try things like Ginger Tea, cookies and candies. In addition ginger root capsules can provide some relief; however, it’s not known how much of the active ingredient you’re getting in ginger supplements, so be sure to discuss this possibility with your health care provider before taking them. Peppermint is another remedy. Try it in an aromatherapy form or in tea.  

The following suggestions are not necessarily supported by hard evidence. However many women swear by them.

A teaspoon of cider vinegar in a cup of warm water

Eat cold vegetables that have soaked in water

Try an acupuncture band

Hypnosis

Ask your health care provider about using an acustimulation device

Try taking Vitamin B6 in recommended doses  

Keep in mind that what works for some may not work for others. If you’ve tried something and it doesn’t work, try something else. If you’ve been unable to find any relief, talk with your health care provider about medication options. In addition, if you’ve been unable to keep anything down for at least 24 hours and sooner if your urine is dark and has a strong odor and you’re peeing less than every 4-6 hours, contact your healthcare provider.