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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

7 Tips to Help Minimize Morning Sickness

By Dr. Robert Wool

One of the most talked-about symptoms of
pregnancy is morning sickness, which isn’t surprising as it affects up to 80 percent of people who are pregnant. The term is actually a misnomer since queasiness, nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of day. The good news is that the symptoms typically don’t last much beyond the first trimester for most women. However, if you are in the throes of it, that can seem like a long time, so here we share seven tips to help minimize morning sickness.

1. Eat Small Amounts Regularly

While eating may seem like the last thing you want to do when nauseated, many women find an empty stomach makes things worse. Since an overly full stomach can have the same result, try eating small meals or snacks every couple of hours. Some women find it helps to keep crackers or a banana on their nightstand so they can take a few bites even before getting out of bed in the morning.

2. Choose What You Eat

Generally, bland foods are easier to get, and keep, down. Starchy foods—like crackers, rice bananas and toast—can help settle the stomach. Proteins—like nuts, yogurt or milk—stick around longer in the stomach and can help you from feeling too empty. Greasy, spicy, heavy foods may aggravate your symptoms. You may find that foods you normally love turn your stomach now, so just avoid them.

3. Hydrate

Increasing your intake of water is necessary during pregnancy, and can also help keep nausea at bay. Again, you want to avoid feeling overly full, while staying hydrated. Sour flavors can also help, so try adding fresh lemon to your water. If you aren’t a big fan of plain water, fruit infusions, fruit teas or ginger-ale can be refreshing and flavorful alternatives.

4. Try Aromatherapy

You may also find that some smells turn your stomach. Some of our patients avoid grocery shopping during their first trimester as the meat department can be a challenge. Do your best to avoid odors that trigger your nausea, and seek out those that help. Experiment with different essential oils—such as ginger, lemon, orange or peppermint—and carry them with you. Add a couple drops to a cotton ball to sniff when needed. Stepping outside or opening a window for fresh air can also help.

5. Change the Timing of Vitamins

Pre-natal vitamins play an important role in the health of you and your baby during pregnancy, but some women find them hard to stomach at first. Try taking them before bed, instead of in the morning, and see if that helps. If you still struggle, talk to your provider about other options.

6. Adjust Your Oral Hygiene

Avoid brushing your teeth while you are nauseated as it can trigger your gag reflex. If you do vomit, rinse your mouth afterward to get rid of the sour taste and stomach acid. Adding a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of water and rinsing will help to neutralize the acid. Some people find the minty taste of toothpaste and rinses helps with nausea, while others find it worsens it. If you are in the latter group, try switching to a fruit-flavored toothpaste for a while.

7. Ask for Help

In addition to the tips above, some women find relief with acupressure (including the wristbands designed for motion sickness) or acupuncture. Others find sucking on hard candies, especially those containing lemon or ginger, is helpful. Remember, pregnancy affects each person differently, so what helps one person manage their morning sickness symptoms may not help you.

Let us know if you are experiencing severe morning sickness. Up to three percent of pregnant women experience more serious symptoms called hyperemesis gravidarum, which often consists of frequent vomiting accompanied by weight loss and difficulty with daily activities.

If you are struggling with nausea during your pregnancy, ask us for help. We may be able to suggest changes to your diet or routine, recommend over-the-counter medications, or offer other tips to help minimize morning sickness. Be sure to always check with your health provider before trying any supplements, such as herbs, or medications, as some can be dangerous during pregnancy.

While morning sickness usually doesn’t last for a long period, it can be challenging. We’re always available to answer your questions, provide recommendations and offer you the support you need.