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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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