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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

How To Deal With Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

How To Deal With Morning Sickness During Pregnancy

The excitement of finding out you’re pregnant can soon lose its appeal if you’re one of the 70% of women who experience morning sickness. It’s fairly common and usually one of the first indicators that you’re going to be a mom. The term is a bit of a misnomer as there are women who experience it at night, or throughout the entire day.

For the majority of women morning sickness means feeling queasy while 50% experience vomiting as well. Thankfully it doesn’t last the entire nine months, and most women start feeling better from about 11 weeks while for others it disappears altogether between 12 and 14 weeks. Like the common cold or flu, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult to get through. If you have experienced it, you will know nausea can take it out of you, leaving you feeling exhausted and exasperated.

Some women are more likely to experience nausea and vomiting during the first few weeks if any of these apply:

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  • You experienced similar symptoms in an earlier pregnancy
  • You have a history of motion sickness
  • Birth control pills made you nauseous and had you vomiting – it’s how your body responds to estrogen, which is prevalent during pregnancy too
  • It runs in the family. If your mother or sister/s battled with morning sickness, there’s a chance it will affect you too
  • You get migraines regularly

While morning sickness is awful and can have you wishing you hadn’t fallen pregnant in the first place, there some ways to ease the symptoms.

Smell the roses

Certain smells will turn your stomach, from your co-worker’s perfume to the whiff of last night’s dinner heating up in the microwave. This has got a lot to do with estrogen, the hormone responsible for smell, and if for some reason you have high levels of it, like when you’re pregnant, you’re going to be like a bloodhound, picking up on every scent within a 100-mile radius. We suggest carrying a bottle of lemon extract or even a sprig of rosemary in your bag that you can sniff when necessary. Perhaps let people know what you’re doing because you don’t want to be known as the crazy bag-sniffing lady.

Keep a diary

We don’t mean like a “Dear Diary, I feel so nauseous today” kind of diary but rather keep track throughout the day of when you feel queasy if there is anything in particular that triggers it or makes it worse and then take the necessary steps to manage it or avoid it. So, for example, if you realize it peaks at 4 pm when you’re a little peckish, carry some crackers in your bag to ease the hunger or if it’s the lunchtime smells from the canteen that set you off grab that handbag and smells it.

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Stay hydrated

While it seems like a very simple thing to do, keeping your intake of liquids up when you can’t keep anything down is a huge ask, but it is essential you stay hydrated. If necessary try tricking your body into thinking it needs liquids, for example, try munching on salty snacks that will trigger your thirst. Another clever way is by crunching on ice chips or slowly sipping on a cold or very hot water throughout the day. The temperature is as important as the liquid because for some women a tepid drink leaves them feeling even worse.

Keep eating

    We don’t mean eating for two, but to rather nibble on small snacks throughout the day instead of having three big meals that will leave you feeling nauseous. Getting food in, and keeping it in, is important so try and find foods that you’ll be able to stomach. There are no hard and fast rules as to what will work because everyone is different and what is sustenance to one expecting mom is a puke-fest for another. Bland snacks like pretzels, crackers, and dry cereal, works, as does popsicles and even watermelon.

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    Herbs

    There are some herbs that can stop morning sickness, including lemon balm, peppermint, black horehound, meadow sweet, wild yam and peach leaves. These are available in tablet, capsule or fluid extract but be sure to let your pharmacist know why you’re taking them as some herbs can be harmful during your pregnancy.

    Be prepared

    By tracking your pregnancy week by week, you can plan around morning sickness. For example, if you are one of the unlucky expecting moms who have the vomiting kind of morning sickness then it’s a good idea to carry a survival kit with you, so you’re prepared for any situation. While it might seem like a huge inconvenience, it’ll help you out in the most awkward of situations. We suggest a change of clothes (just in case), a toothbrush and toothpaste, maybe some mouthwash and breath mints. Don’t forget the barf bag and your go-to stash of crackers or pretzels, in a separate bag of course.

    Acupressure or acupuncture

    Acupressure or acupuncture uses gentle pressure or tiny needles that target certain nerve centers and is known to be very effective in a non-invasive way. You can visit a homeopathy or eastern medicine specialist for treatment or wear things like sea bands, or stretchy bracelets.

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    There are instances where morning sickness is so severe, medical intervention is necessary.  Doctors can assist with prescription medicines that will alleviate nausea and be able to recommend other remedies, where necessary.

    Fortunately, morning sickness doesn’t last the entire pregnancy and usually eases by the end of the first trimester. Visiting websites or downloading apps that promote a lifestyle by incorporating healthy foods and exercise is a good way to get through the first trimester, as well as the rest of your pregnancy.

    We know when you’re feeling nauseous the last thing you’re going to want to do is exercise but a gentle walk will make you feel better by releasing endorphins that counteract nausea and fatigue, even if it’s just 15-20 minutes a day.

    Featured photo credit: BabyCenter via google.com

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

    1. The Inner Critic

    This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

    The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

    Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

    2. The Worrier

    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

    The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

    This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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    This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

    The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

    4. The Sleep Depriver

    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

    The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

    How can you control these squatters?

    How to Master Your Mind

    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

    For the Inner Critic

    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

    • They rile up the Worrier.
    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
    • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
    • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
    • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

    Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

    For the Worrier

    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
    • Muscles tense

    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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    For example:

    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
    • Muscles tension

    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

    Breathe in through your nose:

    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
    • Focus on your belly rising.

    Breathe out through your nose:

    • Feel your lungs emptying.
    • Focus on your belly falling.
    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

    For the Sleep Depriver

    (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
    • Shut down your thinking.
    • Calm your feelings.
    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

    The Bottom Line

    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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