Coping with Morning Sickness: A Nutritional Guide
I’ve always wondered how morning sickness got its name. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was sick morning, afternoon, evening and night right up until I was 16 weeks pregnant!
Other than that first missed period, pregnancy nausea (inaccurately named morning sickness!) is usually the first sign of pregnancy. It is a perfectly normal part of a healthy pregnancy. It is estimated that up to 70% of women experience some form of morning sickness.
It’s a luck of the draw thing. Some women don’t experience this symptom at all, some have just a few weeks of it in early pregnancy, and some feel nauseous well into the second trimester of pregnancy. For some, it is a constant feeling of “seasickness”. For others, it results in actual vomiting and difficulty keeping anything down.
In this post, we explore the causes of morning sickness and make suggestions on how you can adjust your pregnancy diet and lifestyle to make this unpleasant symptom easier to cope with. We also look at the warning signs that your morning sickness might be putting your health or your baby’s development at risk.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
There are a number of different causes of pregnancy nausea and they are different for every woman. Major causes include:
- Pregnancy hormones: both Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) and estrogen are building rapidly in your body and are the most common cause of morning sickness.
- Low Blood Sugar: If your nausea feels like a lightheaded, dizzy, seasickness, it could be caused by a drop in blood sugar as nutrients go to your baby. The good news is that this type of morning sickness can be easily cured by making a few changes to your pregnancy diet – more on this below.
How Long Will it Last?
Morning sickness usually occurs early in the first trimester of pregnancy and lasts up to four months (16 weeks). Although for most women, they find they are becoming less nauseous by the time they are 12 weeks pregnant.
Changing Your Pregnancy Diet to Ease Morning Sickness
Paying a little extra attention to your pregnancy nutrition can make a huge difference to whether your nausea stops you getting on with your life. Try these simple dietary tips:
- Avoid excessively fatty or spicy foods.
- Although the last thing you feel like at this stage is probably food, try and keep something in your stomach at all times – even if it’s just a couple of graham crackers or a piece of dry toast. Check out our guide to nutritious pregnancy snacks for a few more ideas.
- Drink lots of water – up to eight glasses a day.
- Avoid foods that are high in processed sugars.
- Eat foods that are rich in protein – nuts, fish, lean meats, spinach etc.
- Keep a morning sickness journal so that you can identify foods that seem to cause your morning sickness and foods that seem to prevent it – remember that everybody’s triggers are different.
Other Helpful Tips for Easing Morning Sickness
- Make sure your home is well ventilated. You’re much more likely to be sensitive to smells when battling morning sickness and fresh air does wonders! While you’re at it, a gentle walk could also help.
- Get plenty of rest – tiredness and stress can contribute to morning sickness.
If you flick over to our shop, we also have some proven remedies for morning sickness relief:
- Tummydrops Ginger for Morning Sickness: ginger has been used as a remedy for nausea for centuries. These ginger drops are great because they are absorbed more quickly than ginger capsules (which is good because you tend to take them when the wave of nausea hits, not half an hour before!) and contain less sugar and more ginger than crystallized ginger pieces.
- Preggie Pops by Three Lollies: These little candies are not only awesome for combatting nausea, they also taste great! They are drug-free, completely natural and formulated by doctors.
Consult Your Physician, Midwife, or Obstetrician if:
While morning sickness is a perfectly normal symptom of pregnancy, it can pose a serious risk to your health and that of your baby if it goes on too long or is too severe. You should definitely contact your health professional if:
- There is no pregnancy weight gain by the time you are 14 weeks pregnant, or if you are actually losing weight at any time.
- Your nausea continues to be severe into the second trimester.
- You experience extreme dizziness or fever.
- There is blood in your vomit.
- You experience headaches or abdominal pain.
Summary: Don’t Let Your Pregnancy Symptoms Get You Down!
This earliest sign of pregnancy does have a tendency to kill your euphoria at discovering you’re expecting. Morning sickness can make you uncomfortable, kill your appetite, and make it almost impossible to get through your day.
But each pregnancy symptom takes you one step closer to that moment when you’ll hold your new baby in your arms – embrace it – it will all be worthwhile!
More to Explore
(And the ones to avoid!). Have you seen the dreaded “foods not to eat while pregnant” lists? You know – the ones that don’t give you any reason why you shouldn’t be eating these foods and leave you wondering what you CAN eat! Throw it away and use our comprehensive list of healthy food for pregnancy and foods to avoid while pregnant which focuses on what you CAN eat and gives the scientific reasons why each food is good or bad.
There’s a whole lot that you didn’t know you didn’t know about pregnancy. But we’ve got all the information you need at every stage – in a language you can understand! Find out what pregnancy symptoms you can expect each week of your pregnancy.
We know. You don’t have much time to think about clothes shopping when you’re running to the bathroom every 5 minutes! Luckily, we’ve got some great style tips to keep you looking good in your first trimester of pregnancy. Check out the latest looks here.