One of the most common questions our midwives at Austin Area Birthing Center get from moms is, “How do I stop morning sickness?” Morning sickness affects up to 80% of pregnant women and, as you probably have discovered, isn’t confined to just the morning.
The weird thing is, no one really knows what causes morning sickness. Theories include a vitamin B6 deficiency, a biological adaptation to keep us from eating foods that might harm our developing baby, the increased burden on the liver with pregnancy, and even just plain old hormones. Luckily, the nausea and vomiting that accompany pregnancy usually subside around weeks 12-16 of your pregnancy.
If you’re reading this and you stomach is rolling, the thought of waiting until week 12 for these feelings to go away probably isn’t very comforting. Luckily, our midwives have seen hundreds of cases of morning sickness, and we’ve picked up a few tricks that have helped our moms. Here are a few remedies to help morning sickness go away.
1) Eat small, bland, frequent meals, at least every 2 hours. Low blood sugar may make your nausea worse.
2) Consider adding a B6 supplement or B complex to your daily regimen. 25 mg every eight hours should be sufficient.
3) Ginger gum, candied ginger, or ginger capsules may help settle your stomach. You can take a 250 mg capsule four times a day. The FDA recognizes ginger as safe in pregnancy, even though some sources have linked it to interference in blood clotting. Studies have shown that pregnant women who took ginger in their first trimester did not have any significant increase in pregnancy related complications. Ginger contains proteolytic enzymes that have been shown to have antiulcer and antiviral effects. Ginger is a great ally!
4) Acupressure bands, “sea bands,” may provide you with some measure of relief. You can buy these at your local pharmacy or health food store.
5) Lemon essential oil, wafted under your nose when you begin to feel sick, may be of some help.
6) Eat a small meal (maybe almond butter on whole wheat toast) before getting out of bed in the morning. Our blood sugar level is often lowest in the morning and this little boost of calories may prevent nausea upon rising.
7) Lastly, consider boosting your liver function with daily nettle tea. Nettles are blood builders and liver cleansers, and also help increase the body’s production of Vitamin K. Be sure to drink tea made of nettle leaf and not nettle root.
Hopefully these morning sickness remedies can make your early weeks of pregnancy a little bit easier! Remember to let your midwife know if the nausea and vomiting are so severe that you cannot hold down food or fluids.
Occasionally pharmaceuticals or IV fluids are merited. We can prescribe some wonderfully effective medicine for severe nausea that is safe for the baby and is quite a breakthrough in the last few years. You don’t have to suffer like your mother or grandmother did!