Dealing with Morning Sickness? 12 Tips to Ease Your Tummy
The term “morning sickness” is really kind of a sick joke – mostly because it’s not limited to just one time of day. The horrible vomiting and nausea that afflicts nearly 80% of pregnant women can hit morning, noon, or night. For some people, it’s all day long. It can make you feel wretched, and in extreme cases, can severely impact your everyday routine.
Fortunately, there are helpful ways to soothe your symptoms, from home remedies to prescription treatments. Though you may not be able to make morning sickness go away entirely, it is treatable and there are options to help you feel better. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips and strategies for how to deal with morning sickness during pregnancy.
Causes of Morning Sickness
The science is still a little fuzzy on precisely which hormones initiate symptoms — which can vary from mild nausea to relentless vomiting. Experts believe that rising hormone levels, specifically human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and progesterone, are probably to blame. While morning sickness is incredibly uncomfortable for the pregnant person, the good news is that it won’t hurt the baby, and symptoms usually end early in the second trimester.
Morning sickness can affect anyone who's pregnant, but some people may be more inclined to experience it than others. This includes individuals who:
- experienced nausea or vomiting from other causes prior to pregnancy (e.g., motion sickness or migraines).
- experienced morning sickness with previous babies.
- are carrying more than one baby.
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Treatments for Morning Sickness
If morning sickness has got you down, try some of these remedies to help soothe your discomfort and start feeling somewhat normal again.
1. Bypass foods that set you off
You may notice that certain food tend to trigger your symptoms. For many people, it’s heavy, greasy, spicy, or fatty foods. Bland foods are gentler to the stomach. You may even want to consider sticking to the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) to deal with morning sickness in the first trimester.
2. Opt for protein
Research shows that prioritizing protein may offer more long-term nausea relief than carbs or fats. Some effective high-protein snacks include nuts, seeds, yogurt, milk, and cottage cheese.
3. Eat small, frequent meals
An empty stomach may actually worsen nausea. Snack regularly (every couple of hours). Keep saltine crackers on hand and nibble them often. Light, starchy food can help absorb any excess gastric acid and soothe your stomach. Pro tip: If you’re trying to figure out how to deal with morning sickness at work, it may be helpful to keep snack bags of nuts and crackers on you at all times.
Take in as much fluid as you can comfortably manage. Staying well-hydrated can help stave off nausea, but don’t drink so much that you make yourself feel too full. If you’re having a hard time with plain water, infuse it with fruit, mint, or ginger, or try drinking fruit teas or clear soda.
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5. Try something sour
Sour flavors help ease nausea for many people. Sucking on sour candy, slices of citrus fruit, or even a sour pickle may soothe your stomach.
6. Brush later
Some experts recommend waiting at least half an hour after a meal to brush your teeth. For some people, teeth brushing can activate their gag reflex – not something you want to provoke when you’re already feeling sick to your stomach.
7. Stand up
Trying to figure out how to deal with morning sickness in the first trimester can have you feeling like you want to just curl up into a ball until it’s over. However, experts say the best thing for pregnancy nausea may be to stay upright, especially after eating. Lying down can make the acids in your stomach rise up, impeding digestion and causing you to feel sicker.
8. Stay away from pungent smells
Smells that never bothered you in the past might make you feel the need to vomit when you’re pregnant. The scent of your favorite perfume or favorite food may suddenly have you running for the bathroom thanks to those rising hormones. Avoid strong odors when possible until the morning sickness passes.
9. Welcome the fragrances that relax you
Some essential oils can actually help soothe morning sickness symptoms. Try placing a few drops on a cotton ball and sniffing it when you feel a wave of nausea. Many people have success with peppermint, ginger, chamomile, or citrus (lemon or orange). Every pregnant person is different, though, so see what works best for you.
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10. Take meds before bedtime
For some people, consuming that heavy prenatal vitamin first thing in the morning just makes the pregnancy nausea worse. Instead, try taking it at night with a light snack.
11. Use an acupressure band
Research has shown that applying pressure to the P6 pressure point is tremendously effective at reducing nausea intensity and reducing vomiting. To find this spot, also known as the Neiguan point, place three fingers on your wrist, just below your hand; the Neiguan point is just below them, directly beneath your index finger. You can apply light pressure to this spot with your fingers or invest in special wristbands that apply constant pressure. Because of their effectiveness and convenience, experts recommend wearing a P6 acupuncture point acupressure wristband as an effective alternative to nausea-reducing medication.
12. Engage in self-care
Prioritize your health during pregnancy. Getting regular exercise, spending time outdoors, and resting when you’re tired can all help keep pregnancy nausea in check.
When to Consult a Doctor for Morning Sickness
Growing a new human is not a comfortable process for most people. It’s natural to feel terrible at the beginning – but there are a few symptoms that may be cause for concern. Speak with your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- trouble urinating or dark-colored urine
- abdominal pain
- dizziness or fainting
- racing heartbeat
- vomiting blood
- weight loss
- inability to keep fluids/food down for 24 hours
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that those pesky hormones making your feel lousy right now are also vital to the health and development of your new baby. If you’ve given home treatments a try and your symptoms are majorly disrupting your everyday routine, talk to your doctor.
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