After experiencing “Morning Sickness” with each of my 3 pregnancies, I have probably read every blog/recommendation possible. Many of them go into the nitty-gritty details of vomiting day and night. Let me spare you my own details, and just say that morning sickness can last all day, all night, from a few days to the entire pregnancy. It is discouraging, it changes your mood, your patience level, and your motivation. If you are experiencing this, know that you are not alone. Somehow we are expected to pleasantly smile as we discuss how terrible we feel, politely vomit into a garbage can and then return to the conversation, be forbearing with our children and get all of our expected work done. The people who set these expectations have never experienced morning sickness.
So what can we do?
If you have read through other blogs, you have probably seen the suggestions of ginger and peppermint. If you haven’t tried these, do! They might help! If you have tried these and still need more help, read on to find what I found to be more helpful than other suggestions.
I am putting this first, because I wish that with each pregnancy, I had started with acupuncture. For some reason, I left this to be the last resort and it always made the most positive difference over anything else that I tried. I would also recommend asking your acupuncturist to apply “ear seeds” or stickers that provide acupressure to a certain location. These are also available to purchase over the counter, but at least for your first experience I would recommend going to an acupuncturist for treatment, with the ear seeds used as adjunct therapy. If you are local to one of the Be Well Clinic locations, please get in touch for an acupuncturist recommendation.
2. Acupressure bracelets
These have numerous brand names that will come up if you do an online search for this product. Some are much cuter than others. I had the non-cute ones, and they worked fine, although I felt that they announced to the world that I was pregnant. Looking back I’d probably get the cuter ones. Either way, while these did not provide dramatic relief for me, I did notice a negative change when I took them off. I left them on pretty much around the clock, other than in the shower. Some brands say to only have them on for 24 hours at a time, but I did not notice any difference when I followed these directions.
3. Eat immediately
Sometimes morning sickness hits more in the morning than at night, sometimes the reverse. I’ve experienced all of the above, and in any case I found that eating as soon as I awoke helped dramatically. Earlier on, I needed carbs. Later on it was protein. Try to find your sweet spot and have these ready to go as soon as you wake. If it is something that needs to be refrigerated, if possible ask a spouse or older child to get these for you, otherwise, invest in a good cooler and ice pack that you can have next to your bed.
4. Do not take capsules on an empty stomach
I found this out the hard way. I generally create my own “prenatal vitamin protocol” based on what I know is needed by my child and myself. This usually consists of a variety of different tablets and capsules. If this is you, that’s amazing. I’m obviously a fan. However, very often, even if you are not feeling nauseated, capsules on an empty stomach can have volatile effects.
5. Breathe out while brushing your tongue.
Does brushing your tongue (during your tooth brushing routine) cause you to gag and vomit? Here’s a trick: breathe out from your mouth while brushing your tongue. Try it – it helps.
6. Vitamin B6
There are several combination pills that you can get that have B6 with other nutrients. I have tried several and found the most effective to simply be liquid Vitamin B6 from my local health food store. Taking this in the morning with breakfast seemed to help the rest of the day to go smoother.
7. Peppermint Essential Oil
Keep this handy and sniff as needed.
There are several theories about what causes morning sickness. Some experts say it is due to poor gallbladder health. Some say magnesium deficiency, B vitamin deficiency, or other nutritional deficiencies. Some say there is no explanation and it is just bad luck. Others say it is due to retained excess hormones that are not released through bowel movements. Perhaps different people experience morning sickness for different reasons. However, if you are experiencing it along with constipation, I highly recommend enemas. Saline enemas are safe and effective. They are gentle, should cause no pain, often bring great relief to abdominal discomfort, appease morning sickness, and can be done as frequently as needed. Additionally, enemas can provide nutrition and hydration if necessary. A few years ago I discussed this with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, creator of the GAPS Nutritional Healing Protocol. She recommended enemas as a source of hydration and nutrition for a friend of mine who at the time was experiencing dehydration and nutritional deficiencies due to the inability to keep anything down during her first trimester of pregnancy. For more information about this, please contact our clinic and we can help you determine what enema ingredients could be most helpful for you.
Lastly, remember that this is a period of time to have grace for yourself. While certain foods will provide better nutrition for you and your child than other foods, when experiencing morning sickness, it is important to know that you do not have to be perfect. Do your best, and do not be ashamed by your choices. There were times when processed snacks were the only thing that sounded edible to me. There were days that I simply could not get my prenatal vitamins down (or after they came down, they came back up). I am not usually one to make allowances for myself. While I can have loads of understanding for my patients or those around me, I tend to hold myself to a ridiculously high standard as “one who should do better,” since functional nutrition is my profession. If you are generally hard on yourself, allow yourself to come down a notch, be an imperfect human being, and do your best. At some point nausea will fade, and you will be able to do better. For now, try the suggestions above, do your best, and remember that your body is powerful and amazing.