The first trimester of pregnancy can be tough. Not only is your body going through some huge physical changes, but the emotional and hormonal changes can be pretty extreme too, often leading to a whole host of symptoms you probably weren’t expecting. One pretty common ailment in early pregnancy is nausea and vomiting, and despite it being regularly referred to as morning sickness, nausea in pregnancy can actually appear at pretty much any time of day – I personally found it to be worse at night, particularly if I was tired or had been busy during the day. While some moms-to-be only feel a little queasy, others feel sick during pregnancy from the moment they wake up until the minute their head hits the pillow at the end of a long and tiring day.
While the best cure for morning sickness is time (with most moms-to-be finding their sickness reduces or stops all together by the start of the second trimester), there are some other natural methods to help reduce the symptoms and keep them under control.
Having experienced some nausea and sickness in both of my pregnancies, here are my suggestions for 10 natural remedies to help combat morning sickness.
Ginger has been used for many many years to aid upset tummies and digestion. It is rumored to help settle your stomach and reduce acid reflux which can often contribute to that hideous nauseous feeling you get throughout the day. You can take ginger in its natural form in a hot drink or even as a classic ginger biscuit (personally I didn’t need much encouragement to have a gingerbread man with my brunch).
Sea bands / Travel Bands
These small hair bobble like bands are placed on your wrist with a pressure point circle applied to your inner wrist pulse point. These are not only used to help reduce symptoms of motion sickness during travel but also work well during pregnancy too. Placebo or not, they definitely seemed to help me particularly when I was at work.
I learned during my first pregnancy that part of the reason we may feel queasy during pregnancy is that our body actually needs you to eat. In those early weeks of pregnancy, our bodies are working incredibly hard building a new human being, and as such, need a lot more sustenance to keep us going. It’s exhausting. While eating may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are feeling nauseous, ensuring that you eat little and often (something small every 30 minutes to an hour to avoid an empty stomach) can actually help combat the symptoms.
Drink lots of water
In early pregnancy, hydration is really important, and the risk of getting dehydrated can be high, particularly if you are vomiting regularly. Ensure you drink lots of water, ideally in its natural form, or if it’s easier for you to stomach, add a slice of lemon or other fruit to flavor.
Eat as soon as you wake up
With the clue in the name, most moms-to-be find that morning sickness hits from the moment they wake up, normally because they have been asleep for some time and therefore their stomach is empty. In the same way that standing up too fast can cause a head rush, waking up too quickly can kick start your nausea with a bang. Eating a small snack before you get out of bed can actually prevent the nausea from kicking in (or at least reduce its severity). You may want to keep some biscuits or a cereal bar by the side of your bed, meaning you can consume something quickly and easily when you first wake up, before you get up and out to start your day.
Choose your meals carefully
When eating little and often, avoid large heavy meals or anything that is likely to lie heavy on your tummy like rich sauces and heavy carbohydrates. Instead, try and eat smaller and lighter meals. You may also find cold meals may be a better option, as it can often be the cooking smell of hot food that can trigger the symptoms of nausea. In the first trimester, don’t beat yourself up if the food you can stomach isn’t the healthiest option in the world, as your reserves will ensure your baby gets the best in terms of nutrients.
While eating may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are feeling nauseous, ensuring that you eat little and often (something small every 30 minutes to an hour to avoid an empty stomach) can actually help combat the symptoms.
Suck boiled sweets
Sucking on a boiled sweet can help increase saliva flow and prevent the buildup of lactic acid that can make you feel sick. Having a boiled sweet on hand when the feeling comes can also distract you by moving your attention towards the sweet as opposed to finding the nearest bucket!
Go for a walk / exercise
Although exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are feeling sick, fresh air and a bit of gentle exercise can actually alleviate the symptoms and prevent the feelings of anxiousness that can arise when you are feeling nauseous. Take it steady, don’t put any pressure on yourself. Try and focus on enjoying your surroundings and focus on the sound of your feet on the sidewalk before your bump is too big to see your feet!
Sometimes the more you think about feeling sick, the more nauseous you can become–resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy ending one way and one way only–with your head over the toilet! Distraction can really help–read a book, play a mind-numbing game on your phone, take a bath–transfer your attention to another activity to take your mind off your symptoms!
Sleep it off
If the sickness gets really bad, sometimes sleeping it off is the only option. Try and get some rest and actually sleep if you can (as tempting as it may be, put the tech away!). If you don’t actually want to sleep, try simply resting instead, lying down in a dark room until the symptoms subside.
Know when to ask for help
If your morning sickness gets to the point where you are vomiting extremely regularly, losing weight, or feeling particularly unwell, don’t be scared to ask a professional for some help or advice. Some moms-to-be suffer from what is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a medical condition causing extreme sickness in early pregnancy which if not managed carefully, can be quite serious–so don’t let it go on too long.
Remember, in most cases, the sickness in pregnancy will not last forever. While these first trimester weeks can be tough, in the majority of pregnancies the sickness feelings will pass, only to be replaced by cravings and ravenous hunger! Each day that passes is another day closer to meeting your baby after which the memories of sickness will fade into insignificance! All the best, and here is to the second trimester!