There’s nothing worse than morning sickness. One of the worst things about it is its name, which is pretty incorrect because some women experience it all day long. Although morning sickness often ends along with the first trimester of pregnancy, it can go on through your entire pregnancy, popping up at unpredictable moments. A more severe version is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which refers to excessive vomiting or nausea during pregnancy.
Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer all of the time. There are a few things that you can do in order to keep that morning (or all day) sickness at bay – eleven of them, in fact. What can help, you ask? Read on to find out!
Why Does Morning Sickness Occur?
According to the experts, morning sickness can happen due to several different factors. It might be the increased pregnancy hormones that are coursing through your body, thanks to the little one that you’re now gestating. There's a popular theory that it comes from higher levels of hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, which is related to the growth of the placenta. They also may have higher levels of estrogen, thanks to those hormonal changes.
Your blood sugar might also be low, as pregnancy can throw your levels out of whack. And, as we mentioned, it can happen at any time of the day, not just the morning.
If you spend most of your early weeks traveling quite a bit, your system can be upended, causing you to get sick at a moment’s notice. Feeling extremely tired, which happens when you’re pregnant, and even having more than one baby gestating, can also lead to morning sickness. The list goes on, but let’s get to the solutions.
Tips for Morning Sickness
With so many different reasons for morning sickness, it's obvious that there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to getting rid of it, at least long enough for you to eat something and have it stay down. These ten methods may work individually, although you might have to try two or more of them at once in order to experience some relief from the symptoms of morning sickness. In addition, there might be a few things on this list that don't work for you, and just as many that do.
Everybody – and every pregnancy - is different! In fact, even if you didn't experience morning sickness in a previous pregnancy, you might have severe morning sickness during the next. So, you'll need to experiment a bit in order to see what helps. And remember that what helps one day may not the next, so be patient.
Tip 1: Stay Hydrated
It sounds strange to put more in your stomach when your busy fighting the urge to repel its contents, but drinking plenty of water often will help with morning sickness. (If nothing else, at least you won't be dry heaving, which is very unpleasant.) Ideally, the water will soothe your stomach and prevent you from feeling queasy. And if nothing else, it will also provide plenty of hydration.
After all, it can be very dangerous to get dehydrated, especially when you're pregnant. So, carry a bottle of water around with you, place one in your diaper bag if you already have kids, and do everything possible to stay fully hydrated, even if you're experiencing severe nausea.
Tip 2: Brush Your Teeth Later
You might be in the habit of brushing your teeth right after you eat, but this isn't good when you have morning sickness. The very act of putting a toothbrush in your mouth can activate your gag reflex, not to mention the problems caused by a wayward glob of toothpaste, causing you to lose everything that you just ate. The best solution is to wait at least an hour after you eat before you brush your teeth. It will stop you from gagging mid-brush and help keep that crucial nutrition for your little one down.
Tip 3: Reach for The Snacks
Snacks are ideal when morning sickness is a problem. Use small Ziplock bags and carry around things like nuts, saltines, and pretzels in your diaper bag. These snacks are fairly good for you (nuts have protein while most saltines and pretzels have energy-providing starches and carbohydrates).
While eating until you're full can aggravate your morning sickness, most women have found that munching on a series of small meals throughout the day has the opposite effect. The odds of being able to keep your food down goes up considerably, and it won't leave you with an empty stomach.
Tip 4: Try Something Sour
Believe it or not, sour foods can actually settle your stomach. Oranges, lemons, and limes all contain compounds, including their slightly sour flavors, that soothe your queasiness. In fact, some women even report that they don't need to actually eat those sour fruits. They just need to smell them. If this is the case, then slice up an orange and slowly eat it throughout the day, making use of your sense of smell as well as the soothing flavor.
Another option for those who really love sour treats – Sour Patch Kids candy. Just make sure not to eat too much, due to the sugar content.
Tip 5: Avoid Scents That Make You Queasy
You may realize in your early pregnancy that certain foods bring your nausea right to the surface. Even things that you previously enjoyed, like the scent of frying eggs, grilling steak, or a burning wood fire, may send you running for the bathroom.
Contrary to that, other scents may have the opposite effect. Your goal is to avoid as many of the stomach-churning scents as possible while at the same time, gravitating towards the ones that calm your morning sickness down. It sounds weird, but it actually works.
Tip 6: Find Foods That Stay Down
You might find that there are some foods that naturally stay down, meaning that they don't immediately make you want to throw up. It may take some trial and error in order to find the best ones, but focusing on these foods can help you get enough nutrients you need while pregnant. In addition, you'll feel a little better, since you won't be gagging or throwing up all of the time. Some suggestions of foods include fresh fruit, dry toast, crackers, rice, and even soup.
You may find that you need to avoid strong-smelling or spicy foods, as well. This is because heartburn, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, can trigger extra nausea.
Tip 7: Add Ginger to Your Tea or Drink Ginger Ale
You've no doubt heard of ginger ale as a cure for stomach-flu-induced nausea. But it works well for morning sickness as well, although you may have to wait for the beverage to go flat since the carbonation might have the opposite effect. There's a reason why ginger ale seems to be a cure-all for stomach issues – the ginger that it contains naturally calms a queasy stomach.
Want to forego the soda? Instead, simply place some ground-up ginger in your tea, a bottle of water, or any other beverage that you find soothing. It works quite well.
Tip 8: Adjust Your Computer Screen to Comfortable Levels
If you need to keep working through your morning sickness every day (and there's nothing wrong with being a modern woman who can do it all), then you may need to adjust your computer screen settings. Certain items, like videos on Facebook that are set to automatically play or ads that blink or flash can kick your morning sickness into overdrive, so change those settings.
Dimming your screen can help as well, since an overly bright, glaring screen can actually cause you to experience nausea. Set your screen brightness to a level where you can still see everything on it, while at the same time, it's dim enough to not aggravate your morning sickness.
Tip 9: Try Motion Sickness Wristbands
Some women find luck using acupressure bands when they experience nausea during pregnancy, although these are usually recommended for car or motion sickness.
Tip 10: Find a Distraction
Sometimes, sitting there thinking "do not throw up, do not throw up" over and over again will actually make you do just that. If you're worried that you're focusing too much on your morning sickness and wondering just how to avoid it, then you might actually be making it worse.
Instead, keep your mind busy with other things. Word search puzzles (the old-school kind, on paper) and other games can keep you occupied, as can organizing things for your new baby's room, cleaning, watching TV, and so on. Just keep yourself busy.
Tip 11: Take a Supplement That Lowers Nausea
There are plenty of over-the-counter supplements out there that can reduce your feelings of nausea. Some contain all-natural compounds, like ginger. (If your morning sickness is very bad, your doctor can prescribe a medication that will help you keep your food down.) Look for supplements that are safe for pregnant women, like those containing Vitamin B6. Certain ones are labeled specifically for this use or are part of a prenatal vitamin complex, and there are even some that are dispersed into your system via patches, instead of pills.
Carry these little lifesavers with you in your purse or diaper bag, so that they're handy when you need them most. Of course, if you have any questions about which ones are safe or are wary of supplements in the first place, check with a healthcare professional.
In Summary: Dealing with Morning Sickness
Although there are many different causes of morning sickness, as well as just as many possible solutions, what's important to note is that it's only temporary. Just be sure to keep an eye on weight loss and hydration levels, because if these become serious, you may need medical help or even hospitalization. At some point during your pregnancy, you'll wake up and not feel nauseous at all. Sure, it might be near the end, right before you give birth, but the good news is that it will stop.
Just cope as best you can using these remedies until you reach that point, and focus on the end goal – holding your new baby. That's the best part of this whole situation. You may not be able to keep many foods down during those first few weeks of pregnancy, but it's all worth it in the end when your little one arrives and you get to snuggle that precious bundle of joy for the first time.