Morning sickness. It is certainly the first image of new pregnancy in movies and TV shows, and it is a reality for many pregnant women.
Not all women experience morning sickness in early pregnancy, and not women stop feeling it after 13 weeks of pregnancy either. Despite its name, women can feel the nausea in the morning, day, evening, night – or all of these times.
Whether you are actually vomiting or just feel like you’re going to much of the time, morning sickness is an unpleasant side effect of pregnancy.
Due to the fact that most pregnant women want to avoid drugs and keep their baby healthy, there are limitations to what can be done to cope with morning sickness. The following techniques vary in effectiveness between women, so each woman needs to find what works best for her in each pregnancy.
Morning Sickness and Eating
Unlike most cases of nausea, morning sickness tends to be worse on an empty stomach. Regular nibbling of food can keep the nausea under control, if not completely get rid of it. I found I could take 10 minutes to eat one dry biscuit and that would keep me feeling well enough to keep working. Even sucking on barley sugar may help.
If the nausea is taking away your appetite, nibbling during the day can be important for your nutrition as well.
Morning Sickness and Breakfast in bed!
I’m not talking about a full cooked breakfast, but many women find that having something simple to eat before they get out of bed in the morning means they avoid the nausea for at least a while. A cup of tea or toast and vegemite seem to be the most common choices to control the morning sickness.
Morning Sickness and Vitamin B
Vitamin B6 has been associated with reducing pregnancy nausea, and various studies have supported this. The studies indicate that 3 doses of 10 – 25 mg a day work well, and taking it before getting out of bed each morning is particularly useful.
If you don’t feel better after a few doses, it could be that vitamin B just doesn’t help you.
However, do not take more than 75mg a day as it can damage your nervous system in high quantities.
Morning Sickness and Ginger
Ginger has long been known for settling stomach upsets and is perfectly safe for pregnant women, so is well worth trying. It is also an easy option as ginger can be taken in many ways – fresh ginger in a stir fry, powdered ginger in cakes/biscuits, ginger tea, chunks of preserved ginger, ginger tablets and ginger ale (although you may find it is better flat rather than bubbly).
Morning Sickness and Alternative therapies
A qualified homeopath may be able to recommend some treatments that help combat the nausea. Likewise, you may find relief from an aromatherapist, acupuncturist, reflexoligist or masseur, but make sure these professionals are aware of your pregnancy before treatment commences.
Morning Sickness and Medicinal help
There are medicines that can relieve nausea. However, these should only be taken under medical advice as some are not suitable for pregnant women and can have serious side effects.
Whilst not prescription medicines, there are now various lollies, lollypops and lozenges that are specifically designed to combat morning sickness. These can work by providing sugar to your system and giving you vitamin B or ginger.
Most women get through pregnancy without any medical assistance for morning sickness. The main exceptions are those women who vomit a lot and find it hard to eat or drink anything as these women face dehydration and may need specialist assistance.
If you are having trouble with morning sickness, get as much rest as possible as your body is working hard. Even a 15 minute power nap can help you cope better during the day.
Morning Sickness Remedies
The following tips may help you cope:
- Plan your day as much as possible around your nausea. For instance, if you are worse in the morning, arrange to start work late
- Allow time so you can avoid express trains so you can get off if need be
- Keep a container in your car for emergencies
- Carry tissues and wet wipes in your bag
- Carry a bottle of water with you to reduce the nausea and freshen your mouth
- Keep some healthy snacks or hard lollies in your bag
- Stay away from strong odours, especially raw meat and cigarettes as they often trigger nausea
- Brush your teeth with your finger instead of a brush if regular brushing makes you nauseous. And use mouth wash to help clean your mouth
- Don’t get too warm as this can bring on nausea
- Open windows, use the microwave and turn on exhaust fans when cooking so these are fewer smells left in the house
Tash Hughes is Mum to three lively children and co-owner of SaveTimeOnline.com.au, a unique showcase of Australian businesses and websites.