Top Tips for Managing Morning Sickness
Morning sickness came as a bit of a shock to me. I’ve never really had problems with hormones or PMS, so I didn’t think it would bother me. How wrong I was! From just 5 weeks, I was struck with nausea like I have never known. I was in the constant state of unknowing; just one bad smell or weird taste away from throwing up. My usually well balanced diet was replaced with a dependency on toast and the odd ham sandwich.
Turns out it doesn’t matter how fit or healthy you are. Morning sickness effects up to 85% of pregnant women and it has no bias; rich, famous, even Royalty get it (literally… The Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital with severe morning sickness known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum).
There is no definite known cause, but the most common theory is that it’s due to the HcG hormone. This might explain why it’s generally experienced in the first trimester as HcG levels increase rapidly. I was fortunate, as I was never actually sick and my morning sickness did subside at around 16 weeks, but I did have the occasional sick days right into my final weeks.
Because there is no definite known cause there is no definite known cure, but there are lots of things you can do to help manage the symptoms. Every woman is different and every pregnancy is different, but these are some of the things I found really helpful in keeping morning sickness under control. I hope they help you if you are struggling.
- Eat little and often, even if you are not hungry – your natural hunger signals might be out of whack when pregnant but being hungry can actually make nausea worse. I found I often woke up feeling sick before I had even got out of bed. My midwife said this is common and is due to low blood sugars. She suggested I keep biscuits or crackers by my bed and have something before getting up. I took little persuading to have biscuits in bed and it did help. Try set a schedule for eating and stick to it, even if you are not hungry. For me having a small meal or snack every 2-3 hours worked best.
- Have lots of options to hand- I didn’t suffer any pregnancy cravings, but I did develop a lot of food aversions. I had no idea what I might be able to stomach until it was in front of me. Having lots of variety in the meals and snacks available helped a lot. This way when I was due to eat, I had lots of things ready to go depending on what I felt I could stomach. If you are struggling to eat, then don’t worry too much about being healthy. I did a 2-week stint of pretty much nothing but toast, but once the sickness passed I got back to my usual balanced diet fine.
- Look out for trigger foods- You may find that certain foods are suddenly not agreeing with you the same. Don’t be surprised if your usual staples become off limits for a while. I have always been a bit of a sweet tooth, and thought pregnancy was the ideal opportunity to indulge. Sadly, I soon realised that anything too sugary didn’t agree with me and triggered the nausea. And not just limited to biscuits and cake, even too much natural sugars like in fruit or dairy made me feel queasy. I also noticed too much fat without some carbs or protein was hard to digest, and made me feel nauseas. Try taking note of what you have eaten when you feel nauseas and see if you can spot patterns.
- Ginger – eating ginger is the go-to wives tale for managing morning sickness! Sadly, I am not a massive fan of the taste. Ginger biscuits are a popular choice and if I am going to try anything, I will go for it in biscuit form first. Disappointingly they didn’t have much benefit. I did find the occasional (non-alcoholic) ginger beer helped, and it was a nice alternative to water when the Mr was having an actual beer. I also found these Gin-Gin sweets helped. If you are a fan of ginger you will love them, they are definitely gingery! And even though I am not a massive fan of the taste, they did help so I sucked it up (literally).
- Sickness bands – I was such a sceptic when someone suggested sickness bands. I couldn’t see the science behind it, and it sounded like some sort of hocus pocus BS. But by 7 weeks I was so fed up, I would have tried licking a dead animal if someone said it would help. I tried the local chemist, but they only stocked bright orange travel sickness bands (not subtle when you are trying to keep your exciting news secret). Then I found these nice black ones from Mrytle and Maude (not sponsored). I ordered them expecting it to do squat all, but after just a few hours of wearing them, I felt so much better. So much better in fact, I suddenly worried there was something wrong. I took the bands back off to check, and within an hour the nausea returned. I was honestly gob-smacked and relieved. They barely left my wrists after that. It is important to make sure you get the bands in the right place, so read the instructions carefully, and if at first they don’t work try readjusting slightly before sacking them off altogether.
- Peppermint – I often drink peppermint tea to help settle a bit of an upset stomach, and I found it helped with morning sickness just the same. I also discovered that sucking on a peppermint sweep helped, particularly when driving. I have never been travel sick before, but suddenly more than 10 minutes in the car made my stomach churn. Personally, I am a big fan of a peppermint cream, but I am sure other mints suffice just fine.
- Rest – I can’t decide it is ironic or just cruel that it is called morning sickness (must have been a man that named it) The name gives this social perception that you should be all bright and breezy by lunch time. Reality is ‘morning’ sickness can hit you at any time of the day, sometimes all day. I often felt worse towards the end of the day, and I soon realised that being too tired was making my sickness worse. Once I started to take it a little easier, I found my sickness was much better. As tempting as it is to try carry on as normal during pregnancy, you may find that taking it a bit easier will help alleviate nausea.
Did any of these help you with morning sickness? Let me know what things helped to alleviate your pregnancy nausea, add them to the comments to help other mums-to-be!
Speak to your GP or midwife if you are struggling to keep down fluids or concerned you are not getting sufficient nutrients due to pregnancy nausea. For more information about vomiting and nausea in pregnancy check these trusted wesbites: