Monday, October 26, 2009

Morning Sickness Remedies

Is there anything worse than to be excited about being pregnant, but to feel so nauseous that you can't enjoy it for months?!

I share these suggestions with my homebirth clients frequently, and thought that others might benefit from the knowledge as well. So here goes....

The cause of morning sickness is not really known, although there are many theories, including hormonal changes in pregnancy (elevated levels of estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin [hCG]), low blood sugar (perhaps caused by not eating, thereby creating a vicious cycle), gastric overloading, slowed peristalsis (intestinal action), a body overloaded with toxins, and any number of other possibilities.
Nausea occurs in half to three-quarters of pregnant women. Most women experience the worst nausea and vomiting at about 11 weeks gestation. It typically begins around 5-6 weeks. About half of pregnant women with nausea and vomiting find it completely gone by 14 weeks and 90 percent by 22 weeks. Women with a multiple gestation (twins, triplets, etc.) often have longer-lasting and more severe nausea and vomiting. The theory is that the extra hCG produced during a multiple pregnancy may be the cause.

Persistent and severe nausea and vomiting beyond the first trimester may indicate hyper emesis gravid arum or hydatidiform mole and should be taken seriously.

There are so many different things that can help morning sickness, but there certainly isn't a "one size fits all" remedy! One or all or any combination or none may be effective for a particular individual. For many women, just knowing that something might help is comforting!

The following suggestions are well-known and fairly common remedies that often help alleviate or eliminate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Please do not take these suggestions as medical advice! Always consult your care provider before trying something new!

1. Eat small, frequent meals, including a protein food each time, as often as every 2 hours, or just “graze” continuously, not allowing more than an hour or so to pass without putting something in your mouth. The food is more apt to be retained than 3 large meals a day and prevents the blood sugar from dropping enough to cause nausea. If this seems to work for you, keep snacks by your bed (almonds, cheese sticks, yogurt, peanut butter and apples, etc) and eat several times during the night when you wake to go to the bathroom. This will keep your blood sugar from falling by morning, leaving you feeling nauseous upon awaking.

2. Eat dry crackers or toast or plain yogurt before getting up in the morning.

3. Sip on ginger or raspberry leaf tea. The best ginger tea is made by pouring one cup boiling water over 3-5 slices of fresh ginger root. Let steep 5 minutes and sip slowly.

4. Take Ginger capsules with your meals.

5. Avoid foods with strong or offensive odors.

6. Many women claim that homeopathics are effective in easing morning sickness. The remedies are specific to symptoms. Research Pulsitilla, Sepia, Nux Vomica, and Ipecacuanha. Additional remedies to consider include: Antimonium Tartrate, Argentum Nitricum, Petroleum, Sulfur, and Tabacum. Good references are: “Homepathic Medicine for Women” by Trevor Smith, MD, and “Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth” by Richard Moskowitz, MD.

7. Drink carbonated beverages - especially ginger ale. (I wouldn't recommend doing this on a
regular basis, but it does help some women with severe nausea!)

8. Rest.

9. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) either 25 mg four times a day or 50mg twice daily can be very effective.

10. Use medication. Some women find 50mg Vitamin B6 and 1 Unisom tablet at bedtime in addition to 25mg B6 twice daily to be very helpful. (Or, 25mg B6 and ½ Unisom tablet three times a day). Unisom can cause drowsiness, and of course, consult your healthcare provider before trying any medication!

Feel free to comment, adding your own suggestions or what did or did not work for you.
I welcome the collective wisdom of pregnant women and their care providers everywhere!


Quinn said...

I'm 12 weeks pregnant with my 6th, so I'm on the downhill side of morning sickness (which actually hits me the worst at night), and I use most of these to manage my nausea. With great success- I've only vomited during my second pregnancy.

The only other remedy that I really rely upon isn't medical, but provides instantaneous relief- elastic waistbands. It's hard to want to give up my pre-pregnancy clothes, but as soon as I change out, I feel so much better.

pinky said...

Not showering in the morning. When I showered in the AM I immediately got sick. So I used to shower at night or take a tub.

At work (I worked as an L&D nurse for years) we would put in IV's for the pregnant girls we worked with and give them a liter of fluid. This was great because they could not keep down fluids. It made them feel much better.

We had an area called triage where many a hyperemesis woman would come in and get a liter of fluid. Hyperemisis is different from morning sickness in that it is sever and continues all day. Miserable really.

Joy said...

After 5 pregnancies, all with severe nausea (and constant vomiting with my first), I have not found anything to remedy my all-day, 5-month-lasting "morning" sickness except for drugs (Unisom)! I have tried every remedy I've ever seen mentioned, and none of them have provided any noticeable comfort. The only thing that was a small help was chewing mint Peelu gum when I felt the urge to vomit (occasionally I could prevent the vomiting from occuring if I chewed this gum in a dark bathroom with no one around!). With my first pregnancy even the mint gum didn't help, and I would vomit any time I tried to eat or drink (even water would make me vomit).

I've tried raw food diets, Nourishing Traditions foods, whole body cleanses, herbs, homeopathy, sea wrist bands, red raspberry tea, small amounts of carbohydrates eaten before getting up in the name it, I've probably tried it! And I haven't seen any difference in how sick I have been.

My encouragement to any sick new mama out there reading this would be that no matter how sick you are during your pregnancy, it will all be worth it! Also, don't feel guilty if the only thing that works for you (after trying more natural remedies) is some sort of drug. Our 5 babies have all been healthy babies born at home without complication. May the Lord bless you!

natalie said...

I tried most things with my first, and had to resort to Unisom as well. Fortunately with number two the morning sickness was minimal...not sure if that is a girl/boy difference, or just a second pregnancy thing, or because I was nursing... who knows! But I love mint tea whenever I'm feeling a bit queasy. :)

Annie said...

I had hyperemesis, and I really think it is not the same thing as morning sickness. I couldn't so much as look at a picture of a food item, hear the name of a food, or walk past a grocery without getting sick. I couldn't drink water without throwing up for several months. I ended up in the hospital with severe dehydration and I lost a significant amount of weight. Before I knew what was happening, I tried every morning sickness remedy, including Unisom and B6 and nothing helped. I got zofran from my doctor and that helped enough that I could eat and drink, though I was still throwing up 10+ times a day and constantly nauseous. It improved at around 26 week though, and at around 32 weeks it was almost totally gone, though I am still very sensitive to some foods. I used to eat everything and now I'm pretty picky.

Bobby said...

Thank you for your suggestions on morning sickness remedies. My little sister had it so bad she was miserable during her first trimester. The avoiding foods that smell is very good advice. The odor seems to trigger the nausea like nothing else. It is amazing when it is gone at about 14 weeks. The change is very welcome. Thanks again for your advice.

Miriam said...

I had quite a bit of morning sickness with my first baby. I got pregnant with my second when she was just 5 months old; I was still breastfeeding her and continued to until she was just over 12 months old. Although I was very fatigued during the first few months of pregnancy, I had practically NO morning sickness! I've been wondering if the fact that I was breastfeeding while pregnant balanced my hormones, thus preventing morning sickness. I have not heard this theory before, but my husband, a RN, says that in his understanding of hormones, this is entirely possible! Anyone else experience this???

The Mama said...

Most of the ginger ale that you can buy in the soda aisle of a typical grocery store doesn't contain ginger anymore... companies have switched it out for cheaper 'ginger flavoring'. It you want the benefits of ginger, try Hansen's brand or another in the organic/health food section that contains actual ginger - just read the ingredients. It does taste different, fyi! :)

Mrs. VK said...

I had very bad morning sickness for my 1st. Throwing up everything by the 5th month. Then we tried Ginger tea. That helped that time I think. The next pregnancy I used ginger and almost didn't throw up at all ~ just felt sick +all+ the time until 18 -20 weeks. For baby number 3 I used chlorophyll and had less morning sickness but still felt "yucky" until the 5th month. I am presently expecting #4 (by the way I have nursed at least several months with each one because mine are close) and I drank lots of green stuff before and did some cleanses and now use lots of chlorophyll ~ and was shocked to have almost no sickness ~ still very fatigued because of a very hungry baby nursing ~ I could just nurse and sleep at this point if I didn't need to care for the others!! :) But I am sure the tired part will soon be past. I just need to eat in the morning asap and also more often throughout the day

Joy said...

For anyone suffering with severe morning sickness (hyperemesis), I have written about my experience with this here:
I just thought I'd share this in case it might encourage someone! :)

DoulaMommaMogg said...

Accupressure bands, called sea bands, can help alleviate morning/motion sickness. You wear them 3 finger spaces down from your wrist and the applied pressure alleviates or lessens the queasiness. I used this with my 3rd pregnancy from about weeks 5-12 and it worked wonders.

Candyce said...

Oh man!!! Where was this 13 months ago when I was Pregnant:)