Morning Sickness is the pits in a dry desert. It’s awful. I remember. If there is anything I can do to help someone else in this time - I will. There are a few things you can do to help ease the nausea on a daily basis. Below I suggest some food tips, a few herbal remedies, vitamins and miscellaneous things that may help. There are things that may help pregnancy, labor or motherhood but can’t be quantified because perhaps it would have changed on its own… but as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone or anything you might as well try it. The thing about natural remedies is you have to be consistent and give it a chance and not everything works for everyone. It is kind of trial and error. So try one thing consistently and move on to try something else if the first thing didn’t work.
I am not a medical professional. Please seek the guidance of a Midwife, Nutritionist, Herbalist or Acupuncturist that is knowledgeable about herbs and nutrition before starting anything.
Remember to take this time to take pause in your life. Your body needs you to protect your baby and rest. So make sure you give yourself that leeway.
My First FEW tips are about eating habits
Eat Consistently- I know it sounds weird… eat when you feel like throwing up. BUT you have to eat before you feel like throwing up…. And if you feel like throwing up, nibble or suck on something like a cracker until you can take a few bites. Then- EAT EVERY TWO HOURS.
Keep Food at Your Bedside- Even when you are sleeping your baby is taking nutrition from you and you may wake up hungry or nauseous. Hunger can trigger nausea when your blood sugar drops which is why eating consistently is important. It doesn’t stop during the day. So keep a few almonds at your bedside or a yoghurt with a spoon. You may need two snacks, one for the middle of the night and one for when you first wake up in the morning.
Carry Snacks With You- At the time I am writing this blog post Covid has made everyone shelter in place, so this may not be something you need to do. But when you start getting out there, make sure you have a Lara bar with you, or an apple and cheese stick, or a container of nuts. Stay hydrated and keep water with you too while you’re at it.
Avoid Foods With High Sugar Content- You need foods that will not spike your blood sugar but something that will be easy to digest. A lot of sugar will spike your insulin and then drop it back to very low and you will feel fatigued and nauseous. Combine protein with complex carbs. Here are some examples - Greek Yoghurt with honey/fruit/granola; Cheese with Apples, Toast, or crackers; Chicken and rice/noodle soup (use bone broth for help with nutrition. gut & bone health); nutbutter with toast/apple/crackers; hummus with carrot sticks; snacking nuts like pistachio/walnut/almond, or hard boiled eggs.
Avoid Greasy Foods- This is kind of easy because usually it is the last thing you want. Your body’s liver is responsible for making enzymes and hydrochloric acid while also being responsible for making your hormones. It is no wonder why your stomach is super sensitive to foods and digesting them.
My favorite foods for a week when morning sickness was the worse was Siggy’s Icelandic yoghurt which is high in protein. I was able to take the tiniest bites until I could handle more food. That and Turkey bacon because it was salty, high in protein and not greasy unlike regular bacon
Supplement With Hydrochloric Acid and/or Enzymes- Check with your midwife or healthcare provider. Hydrochloric acid should be taken when you eat protein or fat and dosage according to how much fat or protein you eat. It is something that doesn’t need to be taken for long periods of time. My favorite Hydrochloric Acid, or betaine HCL, is by Standard Process called Zypan. This can only be ordered by a healthcare provider. Enzymes can be helpful in nausea. There are different types of enzymes for different types of food you are eating. Check with a healthcare provider on which ones would be best for you.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate- Dehydration makes the nausea worse. Separate the times when you eat your food and drink. Sip slowly, little sips. A full belly of liquid or food may make you more nauseous. I find that coconut water is the best thing to stay hydrated with electrolytes. Although when you are pregnant some tastes are difficult to swallow. Find something that you can enjoy. Infuse water with mango and mint, strawberry and basil, or lemon and lavender. Or mix seltzer/soda water with your favorite juice. Ginger ale, Vitamin Water, Gatorade or Seven-Up if you can’t get anything else down. Try the healthiest options first but in the end, drinking sugar is better than being dehydrated. (ok that’s my own philosophy- because there were days I could only get a Gatorade down and nothing else). Getting an IV for hydration can help reset things. It doesn’t mean you failed. This is a time for survival.
IV of Fluids- Talking over with my midwife she told me how many of her clients felt amazingly better after getting an IV of liquids. The dehydration exasperates the morning sickness but sometimes at that point drinking anything will make you throw up. In that case getting an IV can reset your system and may alleviate your morning sickness.
B6- Vitamin B6 has been found to help some pregnant women with morning sickness. Between 50-200 milligrams. Make sure you have a good prenatal vitamin.
Iron- Have your iron levels checked to see if that is a deficiency. I found changing the timing of taking my vitamins helpful since B vitamins make me nauseous when I take them in the morning. So I took and still take my B vitamins/ multi vitamin in the late afternoon.
K- Some have found 50 Milligrams of vitamin K once daily with 250 milligrams of vitamin C twice a day helpful.
Magnesium- Most people are deficient in this vitamin. Too little magnesium can be the culprit of morning sickness. This will also help with constipation, charlie horses, muscle cramping during this time and later in pregnancy. Adding magnesium helps calms your nerves and may help you sleep better. My favorite magnesium is Blue Bonnet Chelated Magnesium. Many love the drink called calm but I do get sick of having to drink something every night. I prefer to take a capsule and I like the quality of the magnesium better. Please consult with a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplement. Some love the kind of magnesium you can apply through the skin and can be ordered here. It is itchy the first weeks you apply it and it is recommended to start off slow.
Ginger- Ginger is the most commonly used herb/food used for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. The best way to take it is take fresh ginger and grate with a rasp 1 teaspoon of ginger root (peel the skin and grate with a micro planer) in one cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes and sip thought the day - up to 2 full cups a day. Ginger chews or ginger candy or cystallized ginger can also be helpful.
Dandelion Root- This is a bitter herb which help;s digestion, calms the stomach and supports the liver. My personal theory on why this would work in morning sickness is that in pregnancy your liver is doing over time work converting and putting out hormones to support your pregnancy and is also responsible for digesting your food by providing bile and enzymes. Your body’s priority is then switched to keeping your pregnancy healthy and your digestion is in second place. If your liver is already bogged down with the “american standard diet” or daily stress the digestion suffers and you become nauseous. Like I said this is just an added theory of my own on top of it as being listed by Aviva Jill Romm as a recommended herb for morning sickness. This is an herb safe for pregnancy and makes it a good choice for morning sickness. You can take a tincture of Dandelion Root - 30 drops 3x a day. Or make it by getting dried roots- putting 5 tablespoons of the root in one quart of boiling water and steep for 4 hours. Take a few mouthfuls at a time throughout the day - up to 2 cups.
Chamomile Tea- A calming and relaxing tea. It can reduce acidic feelings in your tummy and supports your liver while improving your appetite. One Tablespoon of the herb in one cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink up to 2 cups a day.
Wild Yam- Possibly reduces irritation in the stomach and uterus. It is helpful in reducing nausea and reducing vomiting. Take a tincture of wild yam up to 30 drops 4x a day. Works well combining it with dandelion root. See above. This herb has shown that it is not unsafe in pregnancy but the research on the effects of pregnancy are limited. So please check with your midwife or healthcare provider.
Peppermint or Citrus Oils- This is great for all those smells that make you hurl. Keep this by your side to smell and take a deep breath in. It will block out anything you don’t have a stomach for at the moment. I used this one as soon as I would walk through my front door of my house (which the smell of home was no longer inviting but would take me running to the bathroom). I would lay down immediately and breathe in the refreshing scent. Do not use this on your belly as it is known to turn a baby. (They don’t like it because it is cooling and they will swim away from it.) It may decrease your milk supply when and if you are nursing.
Umeboshi (Sour Plum) Candies- A sweet and sour flavor that can help alleviate nausea found at health food stores ( I am told)
Acupuncture- Can be helpful for morning sickness. In fact many people find that those bracelets put pressure on one spot on your wrist using (acupressure) helpful. If you choose to go to an Acupuncturist you need to give it a few rounds with consistency to see real results.
Beet Kvaas- This is a fermented drink giving you healthy probiotics and minerals. It is a liver tonic. Being a liver tonic is going to help support your liver to do its job of hormones and enzymes (pregnancy and digestion). To make this it takes 2-4 weeks so if you are experiencing morning sickness now you may be able to find the Brand “Gut Shots” in a health food store and get the “Beet “ or “Beet Kvaas”. To make it, you only need distilled water (water with no chlorination) salt and beets. Here is a recipe with pretty pictures of the beautiful concoction.
Raw Milk- Drinking one quart of raw milk daily. Slowly sip and drink it throughout the day and it will give you the B6 that can alleviate morning sickness. Pasteurization will kill the enzymes and the B vitamins in the milk. Make sure you do your research on drinking raw milk, as many will say it will kill your unborn child. If you would like to know why it might be a safe choice please check out this blog , this one, or check out information on realmilk.com.
Thyroid Problems- Low thyroid can be the culprit of morning sickness so please get this checked if your morning sickness lasts longer than the first trimester. It is always a good idea to get not just your TSH checked but a full panel of all your thyroid hormones including T3 ,T4 and antibodies. Ask your midwife or doctor about this.
Order Those Mealkits- Sunbasket came in handy because thinking about what to cook was nauseating and I just could not get myself to do it for 9 months and beyond. This is just a little tip that helped me out when the days were rough and later when time and hands were scarce.
Remember - This isn’t the time to be hard on yourself. Be patient, kind and loving to yourself. Your body is doing amazing things right now like growing another brain, heart and body!
Take those catnaps as needed. Listen to your body and sleep when needed.