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How to tackle nausea during pregnancy

Nausea in pregnancy

For most women, morning sickness is the first sign of pregnancy and 80% of us will get some form of morning sickness during our pregnancies. How long it lasts for and how bad it gets that depends from woman to woman. Some woman might just feel nauseous first thing when they wake up but might feel better as the day progresses. And sadly, some women will feel nauseous, they will throw up and that will go on throughout the pregnancy.

What causes morning sickness?

It’s actually still unknown exactly why one of the first signs of pregnancy involves spending a lot of time feeling nauseous or being sick. It’s most likely that the feelings of nausea are all down to pesky hormones, particularly Beta hCG, although it is thought that it can be due to a lack of vitamin B6, too.

Would morning sickness harm my baby?

Don’t worry, morning sickness will have no adverse effects on your baby as long as you’re still able to eat and drink something, however small it is.

It might be that you can only eat a certain type of food without feeling nauseous, that’s fine, go with what feels right and what stays down. There’s plenty of time during your pregnancy for your baby to get all the nutrients it needs, so focus on eating and drinking whatever it is that you can.

One important nutrient you baby will require is Folic acid. This helps your baby’s spine and nervous system to develop, so take a daily supplement of folic acid to help development.

What can I do to help morning sickness?

Avoid foods that make morning sickness worse.

  • Foods that are harder to digest are high in grease and fat, especially trans fats and hydrogenated fats. Skip fried foods, fatty cuts of meat and lots of cheese. Salty, processed/packaged foods are also to be avoided.

  • Most packaged foods are high in salt, added sugar, refined fats, preservatives and artificial ingredients that aren’t good for you or your baby. Fresh, low-processed, cooked foods that aren’t too spicy tend to be easiest to digest.

  • And finally coffee and alcohol are also to be avoided.

Consume foods that help lower morning sickness symptoms

  • Ginger (fresh ginger root, ginger tea or ginger slices): Ginger root has been used for thousands of years to curb nausea naturally. Use grated ginger when cooking, sip on cooled or heated ginger tea, or even chew on real ginger chews or mints between meals.

  • Fresh fruit: Fruits like berries, apples, kiwi, citrus and melons are high in antioxidants like vitamin C, other vitamins, fibre and water.

  • Starchy veggies: Starchy vegetables like potatoes, turnips and winter squash are high in carbohydrates, low in protein, low in fat, low in salt and easy to digest. They also provide important nutrients like beta-carotene and fibre. Peppermint tea or drinking lemon juice diluted in water have also been proven to work.

  • Healthy fats: Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil provide essential fats and are easy to digest.

Other tips…..

Don’t skip breakfast. Eat something early in the day, and if you already feel nauseous, try something bland like porridge or toast. Eat smaller meals throughout the day, instead of several large meals. Try not to go more than three or four hours without a snack. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea, It’s very important to stay hydrated.

Take supplements to reduce morning sickness symptoms

Before taking herbal supplements, it’s a good idea to run them by your doctor, especially if you take medications. Interactions can sometimes occur even when an herbal product is natural, so err on the safe side.

  • Ginger (tablets, ginger essential oil or extract): Not only do they curb nausea and vomiting, but these supplements can also ease colic, indigestion, diarrhoea, spasms and other types of stomach-aches.

  • Magnesium and calcium: These are important for lowering muscle cramping and reducing other symptoms associated with nausea, such as dizziness and headaches.

  • Vitamin D: The best way to get vitamin D is from spending about 20 minutes outdoors in the sun. However, a supplement can help if this isn’t possible.

  • Probiotics: These gut-friendly supplements help establish a healthier digestive and immune system, lowering risk for complications.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These help lower inflammation that can contribute to hormonal problems and digestive issues.

  • Vitamin B6 and vitamin B12: Taking Vitamin B6 (50 milligrams) daily has been shown to help ease pregnancy-induced nausea. Vitamin B12 can also reduce fatigue and help with digestion.

  • Try acupuncture, hypnosis or/and meditation they all help women feel calmer.

Use key essential oils

Essential oils that can help calm your stomach, lower cramping, and improve your mood or appetite include ginger, chamomile, lavender, frankincense, peppermint and lemon. Inhale them through a diffuser or on a tissue.

Do moderate-intensity exercise

Exercise can help control nerves that might contribute to nausea and also regulate hormones and improve appetite. Studies also show that exercise helps release natural endorphins that can reduce digestive pains and make you feel happier and more awake. Prenatal yoga, swimming and cycling are also very good.

I hope at least some of these tips will help relieve some of the discomfort and if you are finding morning sickness very debilitating do get in touch for a naturopathic consultation and see how I can help or ask for help from your midwife, GP or contact the pregnancy sickness support group which I have included the link below.

Zakia Mance, Naturopath and Hypnobirthing Practitioner

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