7 ways to naturally reduce your Morning Sickness
Scientists are still working out exactly which hormone or mechanism causes morning sickness. Is it the HCG? Progesterone? Oestrogen? Thyroid levels changing? A weird biological trick to get us to avoid potentially harmful food? (that theory has actually been published in scientific papers) - Who knows!
All aspects are essential to pregnancy and at least one or all are linked to morning sickness, which can put a serious dampener on the awesome news that you're currently making a tiny human!
So what can you actually do to reduce it? Here is 7 easy ways that may help you reduce your nausea.
Check your multivitamins. Specific vitamins and minerals are needed more at different times in your pregnancy. Zinc, iron & (excess) iodine are important in pregnancy but if you’re already feeling nauseous, they are known to make nausea worse.
Switching to a trimester 1 specific multivitamin (you still need loads of other nutrients) with lower zinc & iodine as well as no iron is helpful if you're experiencing morning sickness. You can go back to your prenatal or a more specific trimester 2 vitamin when you’re feeling better.
Stabilise your blood sugar levels. Eat small meals with loads of good fat and protein OFTEN. Break up your lunch into two lunches eg having half at 12 & 2pm so its not such a heavy meal to digest. Then have many little healthy fats or protein snacks as often as you need to get you through to dinner.
Why does this happen? Getting REALLY hungry causes your cortisol (stress) levels to rise and this makes you feel really sick. Its like before you were pregnant and there was that time you felt so stressed out or hungry that you felt sick? Same deal here. Your body can’t tell if the stress is emotional or physical, it just freaks out anyway, making you feel nauseous.
3. Snack before sleep and before you get out of bed. Perks of being pregnant! And it actually helps. Having protein and good fats JUST before bed will help keep you feeling fuller for longer. This prevents you waking in the night feeling hungry or sick or both. A dessert spoon of nut butter or some yoghurt or some nuts right before bed can generally do the trick.
If you’re feeling nauseous before even getting out of bed, its probably due to the fact you’re going to bed earlier and its a really long time between dinner and brekky and so are waking hungry. Keep some plain crackers and dates next to your bed in a little container. Easy to eat, this will help stabilise your blood sugar levels on waking, calm your system and at least allow you to get up and eat a little more and start your day.
4. Acupuncture. For over 2000 years Acupuncture has been assisting women with their gynaecological and obstetric needs. Some women swear by it! Others find it’s not so helpful. This 2016 meta-analysis found “The overall effect of different acustimulation (Acupuncture) techniques shows a significant reduction for the combined outcome for NVP (nausea & vomiting in pregnancy)”.
However the 2018 Cochrane Review for treating Hyperemesis Gravidarum (extreme morning sickness) found “While there were a wide range of interventions studied, both pharmaceutical and otherwise, there were a limited number of placebo controlled trials and the results of this review do not support the clear superiority of one (choice) over the other.”
So while the jury is still officially out on all treatments for morning sickness, Acupuncture has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (see research here), is very relaxing and you’ll know very quickly if its for you or not.
5. Preserve your energy levels. Many women find they get nauseous at the end of the day not just the mornings. Cancel extra meetings, appointments, exercise classes, go to bed earlier - anything you can to reduce fatigue.
Also get your iron levels and thyroids checked once your nausea lets up, low levels of iron and thyroid hormones can lead to even more fatigue and this contributes to more nausea. (Where possible, it is recommended to have these in good ranges before falling pregnant if you can as can be hard to fix in trimester 1 but can still be improved in trimester 2 &3).
6. Vitamin B6. If youre taking a Trimester 1 specific multi vitamin, it will already have extra B6 in it as there are many studies showing it can reduce nausea and vomiting. See some here and here. Avocados, carrots, chickpeas, spinach, eggs, bananas, sweet potato, salmon, beef and pork are some of the highest B6 containg foods available.
7. Ginger. This works wonders for some women. The above study from University of Adelaide found it to be just as effective as vitamin B6. Grating fresh ginger into hot water, drunk as a tea throughout the day can be helpful. As can those tiny cubes of crystallized ginger in the baking aisle of the supermarket, sugary but helpful. Try it, it might be a simple fix but you’ll likely need to combine it with the above suggestions.
As they say, knowledge equals options which equals power!
The above are great options BUT if your morning sickness is severe and you cant keep food or drinks down, then you’d need to visit your doctor or hospital as severe dehydration can be bad for both you and bubs.
If it isnt that severe, often a combination of the above strategies can really make a difference in supporting you in your pregnancy. This means you can go back to enjoying your life and knowing that you’re creating a little person right now!
Ps. Even though I’m not affiliated and receive nothing for telling you this, Naturobest is an Australian brand of trimester specific pregnancy vitamins that I love and recommend to all my clients, so I thought I’d share this info with you too!