Morning sickness effects about 90% of women at some point during pregnancy and is attributed to the changing levels of the hormone human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) in the bloodstream. Morning sickness is made worse by dips in blood sugar levels, as well as deficiencies in magnesium, zinc and vitamin B6.
See articles Hormones in pregnancy, Common pregnancy symptoms, Foundations of a healthy diet: part two.
Theorists also think that feeling nauseous may be a reaction to certain smells and foods that could be toxic to your developing baby. It seems plausible that your bodily functions would react to things in your environment that may harm your baby. This theory is supported by the fact that morning sickness is generally worse between weeks six and twelve development when your baby is most vulnerable.
Around 2% of women suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum which requires hospital treatment to avoid dangerous levels of dehydration. Whilst we can’t cure morning sickness, following these tips should help reduce the symptoms!
Eat little and often
Low blood sugar and the associated hunger pangs trigger nausea. Try to eat something as soon as you wake up and then frequently throughout the day to avoid these hunger pangs kicking in. Crackers or plain toast should be enough to settle your stomach when you can’t keep other foods down.
Don’t over eat
Make sure you don’t overeat as stretching the stomach also causes nausea.
Ginger is fantastic for all types of nausea and is safe for you in pregnancy. In a review published by Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 1 gram of fresh ginger root a day over 4 days was shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of morning sickness.
There are lots of ways to include ginger in your diet. Enjoy this lovely recipe for fresh lemon and ginger tea, or slice up some stem ginger and enjoy it sprinkled on top of a bowl of plain yoghurt, and of course you can include it in stir fries.
Drink at least 2 litres of water a day to stay adequately hydrated – more if you are vomiting, as you will need to replace any lost fluids. It’s a good idea to have a bottle of water in your handbag, drinking small amounts of water throughout the day. You may find sparkling water to be more soothing to the stomach than still water.
Top tip – if you are vomiting you may be losing key nutrients. Rehydrate with an isotonic drink or coconut water to replace lost electrolytes.
Get a good nights sleep
When you are tired, you are more likely to feel nauseous. So, try to sleep for at least eight hours a night and rest whenever you feel tired.
Take your supplements at mealtimes
Take any vitamins and other supplements with food and plenty of water. If taken alone, the nutrients can overwhelm your digestive system and make morning sickness worse.
Avoid fatty or spicy foods
Some women find that fatty foods and spicy foods make morning sickness worse.
Visit a nutritional therapist
Insufficient HCL, digestive enzymes and bile are also associated with higher likelihood of getting morning sickness. A Nutritional Therapist can do a simple test to determine whether this may be contributing to your morning sickness and recommend a supplement programme to correct any imbalance.
Information provided by Bump and Beyond Nutrition