5 Ways to Treat Morning Sickness
For moms, the feeling is all too common: nausea, the vomiting, and the constant, agonizing discomfort that simply will not go away. For some, that time can be greeted with joy at the expectation of a new little bundle of love, but for most, it’s just an awful sensation of morning sickness that can’t go away quick enough. But what causes it? Unfortunately, there is not one singular cause, and the intensity can vary from woman to woman.
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, a woman’s hormone levels dramatically increase, which is usually accompanied by a reduction in blood sugar, leading to the feelings of nausea and discomfort. Other things can factor in as well, such as whether or not you’re having multiples (i.e. twins, triplets, etc), stress, travel, and unusually high amounts of fatigue. And while morning sickness is nearly always not a cause for concern, mothers who experience it for longer than the first three to four months should let their OB-GYN know. Only a doctor can detect if the ailments are strong enough to warrant concern, but will usually conduct a urine or blood test to determine the mom and baby’s physical condition. If necessary, an ultrasound may also be performed.
Unusual symptoms that could cause a doctor to worry are:
Blood in vomit
Dramatic weight loss (usually of two pounds or more)
Outside of these symptoms, however, this sickness will usually go away within the first trimester. Hang tight!
But just because this time is expected to be awful doesn’t mean there are not ways to alleviate the physical symptoms. Below are a five of the most common ways to make this experience more bearable.
1. Stay Hydrated
Since nausea and upset stomachs are intensified by a lack of fluids, one of the best ways to make sure your body stays comfortable during this time is by drinking plenty of fluid. The usual recommendation by doctors is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but you may need to up this number a bit if the symptoms are especially harsh. This can feel like a herculean task if your body is rejecting everything, but your stomach will thank you later. In order to help your body stay hydrated, try “tricking” it into thinking you are thirsty when you may not be. For instance, snacking on salty foods will trigger the thirst buds and make you reach for the nearest bottle of water. Moreover, drinking hot tea or cold beverages is another way to get those fluids in. Temperature is key here: don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods to get as much fluid inside of your stomach as possible.
2. Snack Constantly
For most women, the simple sight of foods that they once craved is enough to make them yack; for others, it can be just food in general. Regardless, an empty stomach will only make nausea and upset stomach worse, so food is vital, whether to alleviate symptoms and for just overall health. To overcome the inherent hatred of food, one of the ways many women have found is to snack a little throughout the day. Whether it’s a bowl of fruit, a bag of dried nuts, sandwich, or even whole avocados, make sure that you keep foods nearby that you can munch on throughout the day. Instead of eating the typical “three meals a day” snack in the morning, snack in the afternoon, and snack before you go to bed to keep your blood sugar up throughout the night.
3. Try Different Foods
The mom who is a certified taco-a-holic before becoming pregnant may turn their nose up the second they drive by a fast food place, so one of the hardest things for newly pregnant women is to find things to eat. Fortunately, the early stages of your motherhood are a perfect time to start experimenting with new foods to find things you can stomach as well as help with feeling awful. For many moms, a good rule of thumb is “the blander the better.” Carbohydrate-rich snacks like crackers, pretzels, and cereal are a go-to for many women, as it fills their stomachs and keeps their energy up without the awful side-effects. Moreover, cold foods like popsicles, watermelons, and ice chips can trick your body into thinking its full as well, keeping overall nausea at bay. In any case, avoid spicy foods at all costs, unless you’re one of those rare women that can eat them and not be affected. One of the supposed “superfoods” of pregnant women is ginger, long used for its calming effects on the stomach. Don’t worry, you won’t have to carry around a plate of ginger to get your fix for this; ginger ale, ginger candy, gingersnaps, and gingerbread will work just fine.
4. Reduce Eye Strain
For some, the feelings of nausea and upset stomachs will drive them to spend weeks in bed, leading to an excessive use of television, computer, and smartphone watching. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, if the text is small or the lights are bright, it can cause the eyes to strain and increase nausea. Adjust your screen and change the background color to make your eyes and your brain work a little less.
5. Try Pregnant-Specific Exercise
When these symptoms hit, one of the first things you will most likely want to do is lie down; go ahead, that may be exactly what your body needs. But it might also help to try to some very light, very specific exercise that will help soothe your body. To accomplish this, many women swear by yoga. If you are already a fitness fanatic, one of the hardest things about being pregnant is knowing when you can return to your normal routines, but there’s nothing stopping you from implementing a very light form of yoga into your pregnant stage. If that’s what your body craved before the baby, it might be exactly what your body needs to fight the awful symptoms of morning sickness.