You’re nauseous all day, you can’t keep a meal down, and even the most non-offensive scents make you queasy. About half of pregnant women experience morning sickness, and although it’s not entirely clear why, experts believe the rapid increase in hormones is to blame.
The good news is that there are natural remedies available so you can get relief now. Here are 11.
Those tiny needles can actually help balance hormones, help the liver to process them more efficiently, and reduce stress and fatigue – both of which are triggers for morning sickness.
Plus, pregnancy hormones affect the nervous system, which means the brain-gut relationship is in full force. Acupuncture works to calm the nervous system and relieve symptoms, according to Lisa Pugliese, a registered nurse, licensed acupuncturist and founder of Conception Wellness in San Diego, Calif.
Used alone or in conjunction with acupuncture, a prenatal massage can be very effective for alleviating morning sickness, because it promotes rest and stress reduction, Pugliese said. Be sure to find a therapist who is certified in prenatal massage.
“The most effective natural thing is ginger root,” said Dr. Michelle Collins, a certified nurse-midwife and director of the nurse-midwifery program at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn. Ginger ale and ginger snaps, however, probably won’t help because they’re not made with enough real ginger. Instead, drink ginger root boiled in water, or look for ginger root tea, ginger beer (it’s non alcoholic), lozenges, gum or capsules.
Studies show that acupressure bands, found at most drug stores and used for motion sickness, are effective at relieving morning sickness too. The bands continuously stimulate the acupressure point on the wrist to alleviate nausea.
Small, frequent meals
“The drops in blood sugar or low blood sugar are big triggers,” Pugliese said. So instead of having three meals a day, aim for six mini-meals no more than three hours apart and always carry a snack with you. Be sure to include both carbohydrates and protein, which will help stabilize your blood sugar.
Inhaling the aroma of a freshly cut lemon can be effective for relieving nausea, Collins said. The scents of peppermint, spearmint, ginger, and lavender are also good choices and are available in products specifically for use during pregnancy. If you opt for essential oils, be sure to speak with an aromatherapy expert, because some can be unsafe to use, particularly when applied to the skin.
“We believe a lot of people go into pregnancy with a magnesium deficiency,” said Pugliese, who noted that a deficiency can also cause morning sickness. Green leafy vegetables are a great source of magnesium or in supplement form, between 300 and 500 milligrams.
Vitamin B6, 25 milligrams, taken three times a day can be effective at relieving symptoms. A combination supplement that includes ginger may also help, Pugliese said.
“Hot” symptoms – feeling warm all the time and vomiting a lot – often respond to cooling herbs like peppermint, according to Pugliese. Sipping peppermint tea or rubbing peppermint oil on your abdomen are both effective.
A bedtime snack
Feel like you’re ready to vomit the minute you get out of bed? Your blood sugar is super low after fasting for several hours, so you’re bound to feel sick. Before turning in, eat a protein-rich snack, such as a handful of almonds or a hard-boiled egg, to help stabilize your blood sugar until morning. “Protein takes the longest to digest, so it’s going to stay with you for most of the night,” Collins said.
Munching on crackers in the morning can help, but you should eat them before even sitting up. Lying in bed for 15 to 20 minutes helps to absorb the gastric juices in the stomach and bring up your blood sugar.
Julie Revelant is a freelance writer and copywriter specializing in parenting, health, healthcare, nutrition, food and women's issues. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at revelantwriting.com.