Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Coping tips for "morning sickness"

My personal stash of nausea remedies. Top row, l-r: Old Ballycastle Ginger cocktail mixer; The Ginger People Ginger Beer; Vita Coco coconut water; lemon juice; Gatorade; Barritts Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer; Middle row, l-r: ginger Altoids; Reed's Ginger Candy Chews; The Ginger People Gin-Gins hard candy; Buderim Ginger Bears; The Ginger People Crystallized Ginger; Bottom row, l-r: Crystal Light Pure Fitness; True Lemon, True Orange, True Lime; Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Morning Wellness Tea.

It's funny. I posted this link by the InfantRisk center on safe remedies for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (including safe OTC medicines) the day BEFORE I got my positive pregnancy test in April. Then it became relevant.

I really feel badly for mommas who have severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, which is the official term for "morning sickness," since the symptoms can occur any time of night or day (or even non-stop). For many moms, symptoms will ease up on their own by around the 14th week of pregnancy, but a few have various degrees of nausea and vomiting until delivery.

Unfortunately, not much research has been done on the causes of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (beyond knowing that it's a side effect of hCG and other pregnancy hormones), nor in available treatments. It may be a matter of trial-and-error to find something that will help you cope, because what works for one momma has no effect for another. What worked with the last pregnancy might not bring relief with the next pregnancy for the same woman. Whatever gets you through is the "right answer."

Here's a list of options that have worked for some moms (some of whom contributed on my Well Rounded Birth Prep Facebook page). I hope you find something that works for you.

General diet:
  • Healthy, well-balanced meals in general. 
  • Avoiding consuming liquids and solids at the same time.
  • Eating small meals more often (5 or more times per day) as opposed to larger meals 3 times per day. Some moms find relief eating small amounts almost hourly. Some issues with "morning sickness" are related to low blood sugar, and frequent small meals can help prevent this. A midnight snack can help if this is the case.
  • Avoiding greasy or fatty foods.
  • Reducing or eliminating refined sugar. Reducing dairy.
  • B complex vitamin supplement.
  • Keeping food by the bedside to nibble on before arising in the morning. Some moms swear that eating a cracker or half a cracker before arising was their salvation. Others find it doesn't make much difference.
  • Eating a low-fat or fat-free protein with a complex carb at each snack and meal when possible, such as string cheese with whole wheat crackers, or peanut butter with apple slices.
Foods and drinks:
  • Ginger in a variety of forms can alleviate morning sickness, heartburn, or reflux. Some options: Candied ginger, ginger gummy bears, ginger caplets or tablets for those who don't like the strong flavor, ginger Altoids, ginger hard candy, ginger chews.
  • REAL ginger ale or ginger beer (non-alcoholic) (most ginger ale is artificially flavored). 
  • Ginger tea, which you can purchase or make by steeping a slice of ginger root in hot water. One great brand of ginger tea is Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Morning Wellness Tea with ginger root, spearmint leaf, chamomile, orange peel, lemon balm leaf, and peppermint leaf. 
  • Ginger syrup non-alcoholic cocktail mixer with real ginger. Can be mixed with seltzer water, Sprite, tea, or drink of your choice.
  • Crackers in many forms. Saltines, Wheat Thins, whatever works.
  • Gentle foods that you would eat when recovering from a stomach bug. Dry toast. Unsweetened applesauce. Bananas. Rice or plain noodles. Plain yogurt (lightly sweetened with honey, jam, or berries). Toasted whole wheat bagels. Chicken noodle soup. Broth. The same things that make good labor snacks.
  • Peppermints. Altoids. Mint hard candies or Tic Tacs. Mint gum.
  • Hard candies such as Lemonheads or cinnamons. Suckers. Preggie Pops.
  • Sour candies and foods. Sucking on a lemon. SweetTarts. Dill pickles and pickle juice. No joke. I've heard a few moms say they drank it straight up and it was the only thing that helped their morning sickness.
  • Decaf tea, hot or cold, unsweetened or lightly sweetened with honey. With or without a squeeze of lemon.
  • Lemon water (squeeze lemon wedge in water or use squirt of bottled lemon juice). True Lemon crystallized fruit wedge, also True Lime and True Orange. Eating powdered True Lemon straight out of the package may appeal to you if you find sour lemon soothing.
  • Beans. There's no research to back this, but some nutritionists say that legumes are the answer to helping the body absorb and eliminate the excess bile caused by hCG, which will alleviate or completely eliminate morning sickness. If you think about it, pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to fund or promote any research that could show that simple nutrition could help with morning sickness. There's no risk to trying to eat more beans to see if that helps; they're inexpensive, nutritious, and loaded with fiber and protein, which will help you meet the 80-100 g of protein expectant moms need daily.
  • Popsicles. You can make your own from juice, herbal tea, or fruit smoothies. Electrolyte drinks don't freeze well due to the salt content. Some moms find that popsicles, ice chips, or blended frozen drinks stay down more easily.
  • Electrolyte drinks, especially if you are becoming dehydrated from vomiting or from avoiding drinking due to nausea. Some options: coconut water (*not* coconut milk), Ultima Replenisher, Vitalyte, Crystal Light Pure Fitness, Gatorade, or make your own
  • Identify and avoid smells that nauseate you.
  • Avoid perfume, scented lotions, or fragranced soaps and shampoos if they bother you. Switch out your partner's and/or childrens' soaps or shampoos if they're bothering you. You can always switch them back after your nausea subsides.
  • Keep fragrances around that are pleasant to you. Some moms find mint, ginger, citrus (lemon, orange, or grapefruit), or chamomile to be soothing fragrances during morning sickness. Options: scented candles, sprays (body spray, linen sprays, room sprays), or essential oils applied to a cotton ball then double bagged in zip-top bags so you don't have to smell them unless you want to. Earth Mama Angel Baby sells a wonderful multipurpose Happy Mama aromatherapy Spray that may help.
  • If you have a toddler in diapers and it nauseates you to change poopy diapers, and if you can't find someone else to change him or her for you, it's OK to take them outside to change them so long as it's not subarctic temperatures out there. I've changed my poopy toddlers outside on a covered porch in too-hot or too-cold temps since I had everything ready and did it as quickly as possible. If I have to choose between that or smelling the aftereffects in my living room, I'm choosing the outside diaper changes.
  • If you can't stand the smell of food cooking, using the crockpot and plugging it in in the garage or basement is an option. Excellent for when you don't feel like eating but have to prepare something for everyone else, for when you're too tired in the evenings, or when the smell of cooking bothers you. Also good for those who are queasy earlier in the day but feel like eating by dinnertime. Your partner might be able to help you prepare the crock pot the night before and load it, ready to go, in the fridge, so that all you have to do is plug it in in the morning.
Other options:
  • Moderate exercise. Taking a walk. Getting fresh air.
  • Air circulation. A fan with a breeze pointing on mom's face.
  • A cool, damp washcloth applied to the face and/or neck.
  • Chiropractic can help alleviate morning sickness, and is extremely beneficial throughout pregnancy for many reasons.
  • Acupressure has been used for centuries to combat morning sickness. One simple way to try this is Sea-Bands which are sold in any pharmacy and are designed to prevent and treat motion sickness.
  • Acupuncture by a licensed practitioner can sometimes help.
  • Hazelwood necklaces. From Inspired by Finn: "Wood from the beaked hazel tree has the medicinal property of neutralizing the body's acidity, and helps the body create and maintain an alkaline balance. It is an ancient remedy first used by aboriginal people, and is effective for people of all ages... Beaked hazel wood can relieve acid-related ailments such as acid reflux, ulcers, heartburn, and other acid-related ailments. Our necklaces are a great remedy to take the edge off of heartburn and morning sickness during pregnancy."
  • If excessive salivation is an issue, it's better to spit it out than to swallow it, as swallowing it can exacerbate nausea.
  • Some moms find that homeopathics can help. Ask your care provider whether this is an appropriate option for you.
  • Some moms find that Vitamin B12 injections can help alleviate their symptoms for up to a week, for severe cases of nausea and vomiting. Ask your care provider whether this is appropriate for you.
  • Anecdotally, I hear moms say that when they are highly stressed and/or have a heavy schedule at work, their morning sickness is worse. Saying "reduce stress and work less" is easier said than done, but something to consider when looking at the big picture and possible options if morning sickness is severe.
  • Some moms report that when they have to get out of bed quickly in the morning, it makes them feel worse. For some, setting the alarm clock a bit earlier and hitting the snooze while snacking on crackers helps them acclimate. For others, letting natural sunlight in the windows helps awaken them gradually and gently. In any case, slowly rolling over, then slowly lowering legs to the floor, then slowly sitting up, slowly getting up and slowly walking to the bathroom may be less jarring to the body than hopping up suddenly when the alarm goes off.
Coping in the meanwhile:
  • Keep a few plastic bags tucked in your purse and in your car in case you can't get to a bathroom in time (or even pull over in time when driving).
  • Scout out where the nearest bathroom is wherever you go. This will come in handy when you have to pee on the hour anyway, even if you don't throw up.
  • Dehydration can lead to contractions and potentially preterm labor, so finding some way to keep some fluids down is crucial. Dehydration can also cause a urinary tract infection (which also causes contractions) and/or bladder infection which needs to be treated with antibiotics, which can lead to a yeast infection and gut flora imbalance. If dehydration is severe, your doctor or midwife may recommend an enema to help you absorb some fluids, or you may need to be rehydrated by IV. 
  • Prescription medications are available for moms with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy). Ask your doctor what meds are available, what the risks are vs. the benefits, and whether this is could be a viable option for your situation. In some cases, prescription meds are the only way moms with hyperemesis gravidarum can manage to keep any amount of sustenance down.
More links:

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy-- (safe non-medicinal tips as well as safe OTC and prescription meds)-- InfantRisk Center

Help HER - Hyperemesis Education & Research Why HG is more than just morning sickness

The importance of staying hydrated while pregnant--Associated Content from Yahoo!

Common treatments for Hyperemesis Gravidarum-- Mothering Magazine

What remedy or combination of treatments worked for you? Or did nothing seem to help? Was it different with different pregnancies?

1 comment:

  1. We love that this product is totally natural. If you like the smell of a creamsicle then you will definitely like the smell of this lotion, because thats what it smells like. It is a little runny, but leave the kids nice and soft.


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