Morning Sickness: Remedies, Trials, and Tribulations

Morning Sickness:  Remedies, Trials, and Tribulations

Dear readers, I’m pregnant again. I wish I were saying this to elicit congratulations and by way of launching a new column about pregnancy -- and I am, at least, doing the latter, but the truth is, I also have been pretty miserable. The good news with morning sickness is that it can indicate that your body is producing the natural and necessary hormones for a healthy pregnancy. There’s an adage I’ve heard, “sick mama, healthy baby” and I’m not sure I agree entirely, but I do cling to it when I’m sick and can’t sleep at 1am. That’s about it for the good news. It’s week 13 now, nearing the end (thank goodness I’m one of those women, a woman I know from my son’s school was still throwing up the day before her son was born), so I’m almost at the point where I can share with you what worked -- and what didn’t -- when it came to managing morning sickness...but still sick enough to empathize strongly with those of you who aren’t out of the woods yet. Here are the easiest, safest and most effective remedies I’ve come up with (with the help of midwives, recent studies, Chinese medicine, and centuries of women to whom I owe a debt of gratitude passing down their remedies before me):

1.  Protein, protein, protein -- even the word makes my stomach that is saying “I only want fruit” turn a bit, but a very experienced midwife friend of mine recently reminded me that not enough protein is often the reason morning sickness is called morning sickness. The body that has to go through an entire night without food often wakes up with low blood sugar, that may trigger morning sickness. Pregnant women should be getting between 60-100 grams of protein every day. Protein -- an egg, or yogurt smoothie first thing can take the edge off and stabilize blood sugar throughout the day. smoothie It also is an excellent building block for all the construction going on within. In my case, morning sickness has really been more prominent at night. Her take? I haven’t been eating frequently enough during the day, or enough protein to keep my blood sugar stable, which is why by nighttime I’m sicker than before.

2.  Which bring me to point number 2: eat small amounts of food frequently. I was just at a conference where I came to be known as the ‘nut lady’ -- hopefully because of the amount of nuts -- and dried fruit, and almond butter I was carrying around with me in my bag. It helped.

3.  Ginger. Ginger tea, ginger ale, ginger candies in a pinch, all of this helped a little to take the edge off of my nausea. This isn’t always the cure-all, as I discuss in point #4, but it has helped in many different instances of nausea -- motion sickness, chemotherapy side effects, ‘sour’ tummy from over-eating or eating poorly, and it is often a nice soothing remedy and hydrator to sip on a few steeped slices of ginger in water throughout the day. ginger teaPregnancy hormones slow digestion down, and ginger, according to its properties in Chinese Medicine also helps to keep digestion moving. It is warming in properties, however, so if you are running hot, you might try suggestion number 4 instead...

4.  Peppermint. While no herbal tea should be taken in excess (as my father always says, and I suspect he stole this from Confucius, “everything in moderation”), peppermint is generally considered safe for pregnancy, and has been used for centuries to temper many of its unwanted symptoms, including morning sickness. Wonderful side benefit: I am running hot hot hot (as in, I leave the windows open on 40f degree nights hot) -- and peppermint is wonderful at cooling you down.

5.  B vitamins and natural ‘blood boosters’. Studies are showing some signs, although not conclusive, that vitamin deficiencies, especially B vitamin deficiencies may contribute to morning sickness. ‘Blood-building’ teas ended up being beneficial for me, such as the natural iron and B vitamin supplement Floradix. Ask your natural practitioner about this, you don’t want too much iron when pregnant, but in my case, it helped. Without the guidance of a practitioner, I much prefer using whole food sources for my vitamins -- beans, nuts, lean meats are all good B6 sources (the B vitamin most closely linked with helping morning sickness so far...)

6.  Acupuncture. There is NOTHING I felt like doing less than getting sticked with even very fine needles while feeling ill, but I have to admit, acupuncture can’t be beat for calming pregnancy symptoms as diverse as swelling, constipation, hip pain, fatigue, sleepless nights and, of course, nausea. And in the end, I was always thankful I went.

7.  Acupressure. When all else fails, use your thumbs. By pressing firmly but gently on the inside of your forearm, three finger widths from your wrist crease on either or both arms, you can take the edge off of nausea and queasiness. There’s also a great point four finger widths below your kneecap on the outside edge of either shinbone (there’s usually a slight, quarter size depression here, and a bit of tenderness that makes this point easy to find.) When I feel nausea coming on, I press for 1-3 minutes at each of these points on both sides -- I make a little clockwise routine of it. I’ve seen dramatic results from this at the moments when the saliva wells up and you think you know what’s coming next -- these acupressure points have taken my nausea back down to a persistent ick in the background rather than a disability.

I’m happy to say, that, with these tools at my disposal, my all-day morning sickness has mainly been an inconvenience -- albeit a large one at times. The bad news is, nothing has eliminated the symptoms entirely -- they’re still bad enough to function as a potent form of future birth control. At least, I’m swearing this to my husband...

 

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