During pregnancy, many women suffer from nausea and vomiting – particularly during the early part of a pregnancy.
What is commonly known as “morning sickness” starts around the 12th week of pregnancy. And, it does not only happen in the morning – morning sickness may happen at any time of day or night.
Morning sickness is caused an increase in the hormonal levels of estrogen and progesterone. This, combined with a rise in the pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) increases gastric juices in the body, and also slows down bowel motility. This results in nausea and vomiting. Low blood sugar and feeling hungry may also trigger morning sickness.
How do I cope with morning sickness?
There are a number of steps you can take to prevent or remedy morning sickness. See what works best for you, and talk to your midwife about strategies.
- Eat small frequent meals during the day to maintain blood sugar and prevent empty stomach. Drink soups or other liquids between meals rather than with a meal.
- Eat protein. Eat meals and snacks high in protein – nuts, hummus, cheeses, yogurts, eggs, fish, meat, and beans. Eat something with protein in it prior to bedtime to maintain blood sugar during the night. You should also combine protein with a whole grain carbohydrate to keep blood sugar levels steady.
- Drink fluids frequently. Sip on water throughout the day, mix fruit juice with seltzer water, make decaffeinated or herbal teas, eat low salt soups, or eat fruit with high water content (like watermelon and citrus fruits).
- Snack smart. Have snacks ready, like crackers or cereal, to nibble on before getting up. Other snacks that may help remedy morning sickness include: candied ginger, ginger ale, spearmint and peppermint drops, and mint tea.
- Change your diet. Avoid spicy, heavily seasoned, or greasy, fried foods.
- Take vitamins. Have a prenatal vitamin before bed or a meal. Try having extra vitamin B6, too – a 50mg supplement in the morning and evening.
- Move and rest accordingly. Exercise moderately, or get extra rest if you are feeling more tired than usual.