I am happy to report my dear friend is pregnant. After three rounds of IVF, she is in her 10th week, and feeling miserable. She has all day morning sickness, to the point that she is having trouble keeping food and water down. In a case like hers, dehydration is a concern, so her doctor has prescribed a medication to help with her nausea. There are other things she can do, (and that you can do if you are experiencing morning sickness) that could help.
Morning sickness is fairly common among pregnant women. In fact, experts report that as many as fifty percent of pregnant women experience it in one form or another. It can be mild and come in waves, at certain times of the day (like the morning,) or it can be relentless, all day long, and last the entire pregnancy (this latter form is uncommon, and is known as Hyperemesis gravidarum.)
Morning sickness is thought to be caused by a combination of hormones, low blood sugar levels (in the morning) and hypersensitivity to smell, which can set off nausea. For most women, the nausea will disappear after the first trimester. But if you are suffering from nausea and vomiting, 3 months can seem like a very, very long time. Here are some tips to help minimize the symptoms:
- Keep saltine crackers and ginger ale with you at all times (or what ever foods settle your stomach.)
- Eat a few crackers and drink some ginger ale before you even get out of bed in the morning. Don’t rush out of bed on an empty stomach.
- Ginger is a natural remedy for stomach upset. You can even eat it raw, or pickled. (Pickled ginger, served at Japanese restaurants, can be purchased at grocery stores with sushi counters.) Ginger bread or ginger cookies can also help if you would like something sweet.
- Keep something in your belly at all times if you can; even if it’s one cracker at time, every 20 minutes. If you allow the stomach acids to accumulate in your belly, with nothing to digest, the acids will only make the nausea worse.
- When you are able to eat, have small portions.
- Avoid fatty and spicy foods.
- If you are able to move about, even if it’s just a short walk around the block, physical activity has been proven to reduce morning sickness.
- Avoid smells or foods that seem to set off nausea. I remember when I was pregnant, I couldn’t even LOOK at raw chicken without throwing up…and there is an evolutionary reason for this. See this post on salmonella and fetal death.
- Prenatal vitamins are crucial for your baby’s development, but they can increase stomach upset. Try freezing the vitamins, and take them just before you go to sleep, with a snack.
- Eat a high protein snack before you go to sleep to help regulate blood sugar levels during the night.
- Acupuncture has been known to relieve the symptoms of nausea.
- As hard as it is, try to stay hydrated. If you are unable to keep water down, try a frozen Pediapop. Remember Otter pops? Those frozen tubes of sugary juice you used to eat when you were a kid? Pediapops are the same packaging, but they have an electrolyte-balanced liquid, with less sugar, made for babies and toddlers, (although my 6 and 9 year olds still ask for them when they are sick.) Once you are a mom, you will never be without Pedialyte and or Pediapops in your house…they are great for your little one when they have stomach flu, and you need to keep them from becoming dehydrated. The same goes for you, too!
If NONE of these things seem to work, and you are unable to stay hydrated and nourished, contact your doctor. There are anti nausea drugs that can be prescribed to help, but should only be taken under the care and supervision of your health care provider.
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