The first trimester brings with it that most famous of all pregnancy symptoms:
And if you’ve ever had the ‘pleasure’ of suffering through ‘morning’ sickness, you’ll know that the name is a little misleading. It can happen at any time of the day or night. Or all day and all night.
Luckily, morning sickness usually settles around the beginning of the second trimester (around 14 weeks.) It’s quite common for it to last a bit longer though. Or if you have hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), in which case it may last your entire pregnancy. (But, HG is a whole ‘nother level – if you think you might have it, please talk to your doctor about it.)
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What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is nausea usually thought to be caused by the hormonal changes that take place so rapidly in early pregnancy. It can manifest as being mildly to debilitatingly nauseous to full blown vomiting.
Most women find nausea wears off around the beginning of the second trimester. Though it may stick around a tad longer – I think mine stayed put until about 16 weeks.
Why Do We Get Morning Sickness?
Although morning sickness makes us feel miserable, take heart. There have been some rumblings in the press recently that nausea and morning sickness are associated with a lower risk of miscarriage and could therefore be a sign that your pregnancy is healthy.
That’s a nice thought to hold onto when nausea strikes.
What Triggers Morning Sickness Attacks?
All women’s pregnancies are different and what triggers nausea in one woman, might not bother another. That being said, here are some common nausea triggers in the first trimester:
- hunger – if you get hungry, you might find yourself also becoming nauseous. Try to eat small meals more frequently and eat immediately before bed and after you wake up.
- bad smells – one interesting pregnancy symptom that makes morning sickness a pain is an increased sense of smell. Unfortunately, you might find your sensitivity to bad smells has also increased and it’ll make you nauseous.
- heat – being pregnant in a hot climate is no picnic. Heat can increase nausea, so dress in layers so you can remove or add clothes to be more comfortable.
- anything else that would normally cause nausea – motion sickness, sea sickness, travelling in the back seat of a car… if something would usually make you feel nauseous when you weren’t pregnant, chances are it’ll be kicked up a notch when you’re fighting off morning sickness. Try to avoid situations where you know you’re at risk.
Morning Sickness Remedies
Is there anything you can do to help ease your morning sickness though? Short of taking medication?
Yes there is!
I’ve started an entire series of posts on the different remedies you can use to ease your morning sickness. This is the first.
Foods That Help Relieve Morning Sickness
While eating may be the very last thing you want to think about when you’re in the throes of nausea, eating can help… small meals, more often, and eating immediately before bed and immediately when you wake up can help curb nausea that’s caused by your tummy being empty.
Foods that help morning sickness are usually those that are:
- high in water content
- contain healthy fats
Here are some of the best foods you can try:
Ginger for Morning Sickness
Ginger is a common home remedy for tummy troubles, sea sickness, motion sickness and morning sickness. The ginger helps to soothe your unhappy gut.
You can eat ginger as:
- Crystallised ginger (my favorite!)
- gingerbread (yum!)
- Ginger Snaps
- Ginger Tummy Drops
- Ginger Tea (ok, that’s a drink… but still!)
- Ginger Drops with Vitamin B6
- Fresh grated into hot water with lemon and honey (good for colds too)
- Added to oatmeal, salad dressing, marinades, stirfry etc.
When I’m feeling nauseous, my go-to foods are simple, plain, and boring. Like saltine crackers! Often when you can’t keep anything else down, saltine crackers will do the trick.
Keep saltine crackers on your nightstand and eat one or two before you get out of bed in the morning. If you’re hungry, your morning sickness might be a lot worse.
Other options similar to Saltine Crackers that you can keep on your nightstand include:
- pretzels (yum!)
- rice cakes
- rice crackers
- oatmeal cookies
- salted nuts
You can also try peanut butter toast, or toast with butter for breakfast (though you’ll need to get up to cook that… unless you’re having breakfast in bed – stellar idea!)
Fruits and Vegetables that Help Morning Sickness
Getting your fruits and veges in when you’re pregnant is so important. Luckily, these ones are also GREAT at helping morning sickness.
Lemon has a fresh scent that has mood lifting qualities. You’ve got loads of options with lemons:
- simply cut a lemon and inhale the aroma to ease your nausea. This is especially helpful if you’re reacting to a smell in your environment.
- keep a tissue with a few drops of lemon essential oil in a ziploc bag in your purse for a nausea buster on the go. Alternatively, you can keep some of the rind and squeeze it when you need to.
- squeeze lemon juice into a glass of water and drink it first thing.
- use lemon juice in your salad dressing.
- squeeze into tea.
- get lemon flavored drops to suck on.
Bananas are sweet and full of potassium. They’re also perfectly portable and you can easily keep one at your desk or on your nightstand for when you need it.
Potatoes are plain, easy on the stomach and quite filling.
- loaded baked potatoes for dinner.
- or if you’re making a roast, make extra potatoes to snack on when you’re feeling nauseous.
- Potato salad.
- Mashed potato side dish.
Kaity from With Kids and Coffee found that grapefruit was amazing for her morning sickness – eat for breakfast, or for a snack any time. As an added bonus, it contains loads of vital nutrients and is very hydrating.
Another delicious and extremely hydrating fruit is watermelon. If you’re struggling to keep up with your fluid intake, eating water-filled fruit is a great idea and can help you get and keep fluids down.
Olives are salty and full of healthy fats that can ease nausea. You can snack on them as is or incorporate them into other foods like pizza, salad, or pasta dishes.
Pickles are another salty food that can cut through nausea. Try them and see how they work for you!
Dairy That Helps Morning Sickness
You might shudder at the thought of drinking a glass of milk when your nausea is in full swing but it’s possible these other types of dairy can help:
Yogurt is filling, contains healthy fats (I recommend Natural Greek Style Yogurt – no sugar, flavorings, and definitely full fat) and contains loads of probiotics that help your gut.
Cheese is another great dairy option – like yogurt – it’s filling, chock full of healthy fat and usually easy on the tummy. Choose whatever (pregnancy-safe) variety you think you can stomach – my top pick would be plain old cheddar.
Other Morning Sickness Remedies
Here are 5 more remedies for morning sickness relief. Now, it’s your turn! What helped your morning sickness?
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