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001: How to Alleviate Morning Sickness


morning_sicknessAs many of you already know, morning sickness can be a real drag in early pregnancy. Instead of enjoying your early weeks of pregnancy, you spend your mornings (and often most of the day) retching in the bathroom and having aversions to foods that used to make you happy. The good news is that morning sickness is usually limited to the first trimester, peaking between 5 and 7 weeks. Also there are many ways to improve or prevent your symptoms. This article will review 10 ways to ease your nausea.

1.  Keep saltines/crackers bedside. Most women who have nausea upon awakening benefit from having a small snack that is easy to digest as soon as they wake.  A salty cracker will often do the trick.

2. Avoid hard-to-digest foods throughout the day. Greasy or spicy foods can trigger nausea. Instead eat more bland foods such as soups, potatoes, toast or granola. Eating small frequent meals throughout the day also helps.

3. Take a Vitamin B6 supplement. Vitamin B6 has been used for morning sickness for many years.  A dose of 10 mg to 25 mg, two to three times a day has been shown to greatly reduce nausea in pregnancy. If the thought of taking another pill makes you nauseous, look for a prenatal vitamin containing extra Vitamin B6 or try consuming foods high in Vitamin B6 such as avocados, bananas or many breakfast cereals. If Vitamin B6 alone doesn’t work, ask your health care provider about adding Unisom sleep tabs for more resistant nausea.

4. Take your prenatal vitamin with a big meal or at bedtime. It is no surprise that most women with nausea or morning sickness are not able to tolerate taking prenatal vitamins.  Taking your vitamin after a meal or at bedtime can help alleviate nausea associated with indigestion. Taking a chewable or smaller pill can often help too.

5. The power of  ginger. Ginger has been used for hundreds of years to help alleviate nausea. Remember when you were a kid and had a stomach ache and your mom thought that ginger ale was the cure-all for stomach ailments?  She was right! Except that unfortunately, most ginger ale sold today contains no actual ginger but mom meant well. Taking up to 1 gram (in divided doses) of ginger daily is safe in pregnancy when used for short periods. Ginger containing lozengers and lollipops (Preggie Pops) are a good way of getting your daily ginger. Be sure to talk to your health care provider about how much and how long you should use ginger.

6. Get plenty of rest. Sleep deprivation can trigger nausea so be sure to keep good sleeping habits.

7. Use acupressure. Although not scientifically proven, the nausea acupressure points are located on your wrists and when pressure is applied, most women agree that nausea can be relieved. This method has no known side effects and is a cheap and easy method for relieving nausea. Commercially available wrist bands called Sea-Bands, Reliefbands, and Psibands are available online and at common drug stores.

8. Avoid nausea-triggering smells. If certain odors trigger your nausea, keep away from them. For example if the smell of fried foods makes you sick, avoid being in restuarants or kitchens where food is being fried.

9. Keep well hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids is an important part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Women with morning sickness tend to feel nauseous when consuming liquids with meals. Drinking fluids at different times of the day, apart from meals, often helps.

10. Avoid warm places. Keeping cool helps nausea. Stay in air-conditioned rooms whenever possible, avoid crowded warm places and wear cotton clothing, especially at bedtime.

Remember when nausea and vomiting becomes severe, you are unable to tolerate anything orally or if you feel dizzy, have abdominal pain or fever, you should contact your health care provider immediately. These can be sign of a more serious illness including Hyperemesis Gravidarum which can affect your electrolytes and require you to be hospitalized for IV hydration and antiemetic (anti-nausea) medications.