Comprehensive Protocol For Morning Sickness

 Image: M.Parke Studio

Image: M.Parke Studio

Finding out that you are carrying a new life inside you can be one of the most joyous feelings a woman will ever experience. The joy can also be accompanied by waves of intense nausea, better known as morning sickness. Nausea is a common symptom that many moms-to-be experience, especially within the first trimester of pregnancy. Many women feel nauseous for a good portion of the day, far beyond just the morning hours. Morning sickness comes with an array of unwanted symptoms that range from feeling nauseous to vomiting to a decrease in appetite and even headaches. Fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, sweating, and nervousness may also occur.

 

Morning sickness usually begins during the first trimester of pregnancy (around weeks one to 12), and most pregnant women (but not all) feel relief from morning sickness after about 14–16 weeks. A lower percentage begin to experience decreased nausea and improved appetite between 20–22 weeks, and a very small amount of women experience morning sickness for most of their pregnancy up until delivery. Morning sickness is not dangerous. However, a small percentage of women with severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can sometimes develop a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which is often treated with IV therapy.

 

The following tools and integrative approach will hopefully have you feeling better in no time!


Tips & Tools

 

Eat before getting out of bed. Morning sickness got its name because nausea is typically worse in the mornings. The reason might be because you are just waking up with an empty stomach. To help this, keep some crackers (or another bland food) by your bedside. This is often enough to ease nausea or at least make it manageable.

 

Try not to go more than three or four hours without a snack. Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of large meals. Keep gluten free crackers and raw almonds on hand. You can also try crackers with a bit of almond butter and maybe a little honey if you can’t seem to stomach anything else. Try to get adequate protein at each meal.

 

Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also add fresh lemon or fresh ginger juice to make it more appealing.

 

Take your prenatal vitamins at night or with a snack rather than in the morning. It’s often helpful to take a prenatal vitamin suggested by a holistic practitioner as prescription strength prenatals often enhance nausea.

 

Aromatherapy helps many women feel more relaxed. Essential oils that can help ease nausea and improve your mood include orange, chamomile, lavender, frankincense, peppermint, and lemon. Breathe in a few drops in your hand, add to a diffuser, or add several drops to your bath for the best results.

 

Do moderate-intensity exercise.Most women can resume their usual exercise routines in their first trimesters, although it is generally necessary to take the intensity down a notch. Long walks & prenatal yoga are fantastic options. Exercise can help control nerves that might contribute to nausea and also regulate hormones and improve appetite.


Teas

 

Ginger tea. Making at home is the best option. Simply: take 1 large ginger root - rinse thoroughly, add to blender - add hot (not too hot) water, blend from low to high (with caution) strain into a large mason jar, add more hot water & enjoy for 2-3 days mixed with hot water.

 

Morning sickness elixir. Combine 1 tbsp. Of raw apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of filtered water. Add the juice of 2 lemons and 1 tbsp. of raw honey and mix well. Drink throughout the day, and make more if needed.

Benefits: This elixir is alkalinizing and relieves an upset stomach.

 

Peppermint tea. Use 1-2 Tsp. of dried peppermint herb in 1 cup of filtered hot water. Steep for 20 minutes.

Benefits: Peppermint is soothing for your stomach and not only helps with morning sickness and nausea but also with digestive problems like indigestion and heartburn. Peppermint tea is also helpful if you’ve been vomiting.

 

Lemon Balm. Use 1-2 Tsp. of dried lemon balm in 1 cup of filtered hot water.

Benefits: It is a nervine relaxant, which means it’s relaxing and soothing for your entire body, not just your stomach. It can help to relax your digestive system, relieve mild nausea, and help with motion sickness. If you are experiencing nausea in the evening and it is keeping you from sleeping, have a cup of Lemon Balm tea to relax your body.


Herbs

 

Ginger root efficiently curbs nausea naturally, especially during pregnancy. It’s active ingredient, gingerol, is a natural anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic that prevents infections and soothes the digestive tract. Use grated ginger when cooking, sip on cooled or heated ginger tea, or even chew on real ginger chews between meals.

 

Red raspberry leaves help to ease morning sickness and are safe to use during pregnancy. This herb also tones the muscles of the pelvic floor and the uterus, is rich in calcium, iron, vitamin E and vitamin C, helps with the synthesis of breast milk, and can have a hand in preventing miscarriage. Drink in infusion form daily - Do not, however, drink it on an empty stomach! Throughout the day is best.

 

Nettle leaves are nutrient-rich and contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals. They are instrumental in the treatment of morning sickness. Nettle also encourages the production of breast milk, reduces muscle spasms, slows the formation of hemorrhoids, and alleviates leg cramps.

 

Wild yam root contains diosgenin, which increases levels of progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones in the body. Along with other effects, it helps treat morning sickness.

Drink as a tea or infusion as needed.

 

Cabbage in any form, raw, cooked or juiced, can soothe the stomach and prevent and stop nausea. Be aware, however, that cabbage is a gas-forming food. Juiced may be the best option.


Nourishment

 

Foods to Include

All the vegetables you are able to tolerate. Nutrient-dense foods are needed to support all body functions and are also important sources of antioxidants and fiber. Choose organic whenever possible.

 

Plenty of Fresh fruit. Highly nutrient-dense and high in antioxidants, fiber, and water. Fruits to include are a variety of berries, apples, pears, citrus fruits, and watermelon. Choose organic whenever possible.

 

Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, and winter squashes. All contain complex carbohydrates, are easy to digest, and are full of essential nutrients, such as beta-carotene and fiber.

 

Bone Broth  is high in nutrients, collagen, and electrolytes, which are helpful for easing nausea.

 

Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil provide essential fatty acids needed for overall health and are easy to digest.

 

Probiotic-rich foods. A healthy digestive system is essential for overall health but becomes especially important during a pregnancy. Probiotics help support the gut by assisting with the breakdown and absorption of food.  Additionally, probiotics help balance gut flora, which will lower the burden on your liver (which may help with queasiness!) and help lower overall inflammation in the gut. You can get probiotics via supplement or consume plenty of fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut.

 

Foods rich in Vitamin B6: B6 has a significant effect in reducing nausea and vomiting. Foods high in B6 are organic turkey breast, grass-fed beef, pistachios, pinto beans, avocado, chicken breast, blackstrap molasses, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds.

 

Foods to Avoid

Avoid foods you know make morning sickness worse. If you experience morning sickness, it is important not to force yourself to eat things that don’t agree with you (even if they’re on your prenatal plan ). Focus on eating plenty of the healthy foods that you can tolerate.

While every pregnant woman will have different food aversions and cravings, common foods that might trigger morning sickness are:

 

Strong-tasting or smelling vegetables: Although they are nutrient-dense, if they appear to disagree with your stomach for a few weeks, it is best to cut them out. Common strong-tasting veggies that might cause vomiting and loss of appetite include bitter greens, broccoli, mushrooms, or cauliflower. Focus on eating milder vegetables like squash, tomatoes or carrots.

 

Low-quality meat, fish, poultry, and eggs: Many pregnant women experience a reduced appetite for animal products when experiencing morning sickness. A reason for this may be that low-quality animal products often contain antibiotics, hormones,  parasites and pathogens.

Greasy foods: These foods are harder to digest, especially in the form of trans fats and hydrogenated fats. To reduce your intake: skip fried foods & processed foods made with refined vegetable oils (like safflower, corn, sunflower oil).

 

Salty, processed and packaged foods.Most packaged foods are high in salt and artificial ingredients that aren’t good for you or your baby. Fresh, low-processed, cooked foods that aren’t too spicy tend to be easiest to digest.