How to Cope With Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms. Up to 80% of pregnant women will experience it at some point in their pregnancy journeys. It usually starts at around week 6 and sticks around till around week 12. However, keep in mind that these are just general timelines. The exact duration varies from person to person.
If you have morning sickness, you will experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and general fatigue. It can also affect your mood and interfere with your daily activities.
The good news is that morning sickness is not harmful to your little one. It is actually a sign that everything is OK. However, it is obviously not a fun thing to go through. Luckily, there are many methods that you can use to help you cope with it and make it more manageable. That’s exactly what this guide will be covering today.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you cope with morning sickness and enjoy your pregnancy journey.
What causes morning sickness?
Contrary to its name, morning sickness can occur at any time of day or night. It may also surprise you to know that no one truly knows its exact cause. However, experts suspect it could be related to the hormonal changes that happen in pregnancy.
Certain hormones are thought to trigger nausea such as progesterone and hCG. You produce more of these hormones during your pregnancy to support the growth and development of your baby. However, the downside is they also affect your digestive system and your sense of smell.
During this period, you may also find that several other factors also make you more prone to morning sickness. For example:
- Motion sickness
- Certain smells or foods
- Low blood sugar
- Stress and anxiety
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
How to relieve morning sickness
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for morning sickness. However, there are some general tips that can help you cope better. Here are some of them:
- Eat small, frequent meals: Instead of three large meals, opt for several small meals throughout the day. An empty stomach can worsen nausea. So you want to keep something light in your tummy at all times.
- Stay hydrated: Sip on water or herbal tea throughout the day. You can also try sucking on ice chips or popsicles if liquids are hard to tolerate.
- Avoid triggers: Certain smells and foods can trigger nausea. Steer clear of anything with strong odors and spicy or greasy foods. You may find that bland foods like crackers, toast, and rice are more tolerable during this time.
- Ginger to the rescue: Ginger is famous for its ability to soothe an upset stomach. You can take it as ginger tea, ginger ale, or ginger candies. It is a simple yet effective way of combating morning sickness.
- Rest and relax: Fatigue can make morning sickness worse. So make sure you get plenty of rest. Take short naps during the day and listen to your body when it tells you it's time to slow down.
- Don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins: Prenatal vitamins are essential for the health of you and your little one. However, sometimes, it can be hard to keep them down especially when you are also dealing with nausea and queasiness. If this is the case for you, try taking them with a meal or before bed to minimize the side effects.
There are also some alternative therapies that have been proven to be effective in alleviating morning sickness. However, when it comes to these therapies, different people’s experiences may vary. Therefore, you want to consult with your healthcare provider before trying any of them. Here are some alternative therapies that you may want to consider for morning sickness:
- Acupuncture: Some women find relief through acupuncture. Acupuncture sessions involve the use of thin needles inserted into specific points on the body. As a therapy, it is generally safe during pregnancy when performed by a licensed and experienced practitioner.
- Aromatherapy: Certain essential oils like lemon, peppermint, and lavender have been shown to help ease nausea symptoms. However, you should only choose high-quality oils and use them safely. Some oils are also not recommended during pregnancy so consult your healthcare provider for guidance before using them.
- Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy techniques like relaxation and visualization exercises can also be used to manage morning sickness. Learning to calm your mind and focus on positive sensations has helped some women to alleviate symptoms.
- Acupressure wristbands: There are also acupressure wristbands that have been specifically designed to alleviate nausea. These bands apply pressure to a specific point on your wrist. This is known as the P6 acupressure point. Some women have found that doing this provides some relief.
Other interventions that might help
- Prioritize protein in your diet: Protein-rich foods are filling. They allow you to feel more satisfied and less nauseous even when consumed in small quantities. In this way, they are better than foods that are high in carbs or fats.
- Eat more sour foods: Sour flavors have been shown to help curb nausea symptoms. They also stimulate saliva production, which helps wash away the bad taste in your mouth. Try sucking on a piece of lemon-flavored hard candy, a slice of citrus fruit, or ginger candy. You can also drink some lemonade, ginger ale, or apple cider vinegar diluted in water.
- Keep physically active: Being physically active can help you cope with morning sickness because it boosts your blood circulation, oxygen levels, and endorphins. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, prevent constipation, and reduce stress, which can lead to more nausea.
- Keep mentally active: This is a great way to help you take your mind off your nausea. Focusing on something positive and enjoyable is a welcome distraction that can reduce your symptoms over time. Some activities that are perfect for this include reading, writing, puzzles, crafts, and more.
When to Seek Medical Advice
While morning sickness is considered a normal part of pregnancy, there are instances where it's important to seek medical advice. If you experience any of the following symptoms, consult your healthcare provider:
- Severe and persistent vomiting that prevents you from keeping any food or liquids down.
- Weight loss due to inability to eat.
- Dehydration symptoms such as dark urine, dry mouth, and dizziness.
- Reduced urination or no urination for more than eight hours.
- Vomiting blood or noticing blood in your bowel movements.
- Severe abdominal pain or bleeding
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
Additionally, if your nausea and vomiting feel extreme, you may have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). This is a rare but serious complication of pregnancy that causes extreme nausea and vomiting. HG can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, malnutrition, and other problems for you and your baby.
If you have HG, you may need to be hospitalized and receive intravenous fluids, nutrients, and medications.
As we have seen, morning sickness is a common but unpleasant symptom of pregnancy. The good news is that there are many ways to cope with it that make it more manageable. The key is to find what works best for you and your little one. You may need to try different methods or combine multiple tactics until you find something that works.
While things may suck right now, try to remember that morning sickness is a temporary thing that does not harm your baby. Having it is actually a good thing because it shows that your pregnancy is progressing normally. So try to stay positive, OK? You’ve got this, mama!