So you get the two blue lines on your pregnancy test and the elation lasts all day. And the next morning you feel a bit queasy, and before you know it you can’t possibly be excited about your pregnancy any more because you feel so sick. And, as many women will attest, morning sickness starts in the morning but can easily keep going all through the day. And night. In fact many pregnant mums have found it to be worse in the afternoons or night so who knows where the term came from (certainly not someone who is pregnant!).
Symptoms can be slight occasional nausea, to constant nausea and in severe cases actually vomiting (although many women are never actually sick, just feel as if they want to be the whole time). very severe cases are known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum , recently highlighted in the press due to Kate Middleton suffering this during both of her pregnancies, and can result in hospitalisation for dehydration. Luckily this is quite unusual and only 1-2% of women suffer quite this badly .
Morning sickness is an extremely common symptom of pregnancy and for most women it lasts from around the time you miss a period – about 6-7 weeks – to the end of the first trimester – around 12-14 weeks. But it can last shorter or longer, perhaps even the duration of the pregnancy. Or it can stop and then come back again at a later stage.
The good news is that it doesn’t affect your baby at all, and does indicate a ‘strong’ and ‘healthy’ pregnancy. The bad news is that it is very little understood and although in extreme cases you can get prescription anti-sickness medication from your GP, most women just have to cope.
There is a theory that it is caused by a lack of vitamin B in the diet, and so taking pregnancy supplements may help , but without having a clear understanding of the causes, it is left to old wives and tales and trial and error to find what works for you.
Birthzang recently did some (highly unscientific) research via Facebook groups to find out what remedies mums found effective for relieving, or at least coping with, pregnancy nausea. I have put together these top 5 tips to help cope with pregnancy nausea based on the most popular suggestions, but I have also added a list of other random things that people found helpful at the end. Nearly 80 mums responded so many thanks to them for their contributions!
At the end of the day, everyone is different but hopefully this will give you a starting point to try and help you minimise the nausea, and maximise your food intake.
1. Drink Cold Drinks
So many people overwhelmingly spoke about cold drinks – particularly sipping them – that makes me think that being dehydrated is a key factor in morning sickness. Water, sparkling water, lemon in water, fizzy drinks – particularly lemonade, fruit squash, milk, smoothies, iced tea all were suggested and success will probably depend on your preferences (which may, of course, completely change during pregnancy!). Ice lollies or sucking ice cubes also were popular suggestions, presumably because it encourages you to take small but frequent intakes of liquid.
So the bottom line is drink, drink, drink!
2. Eat Dry Biscuits
Again this was overwhelmingly popular and under this category came both sweet biscuits and savoury crackers. Ginger biscuits scored very highly (see next section) as well as digestives, rich tea, and Jacobs crackers. Breadsticks, arrowroot biscuits, and iced gems also made appearances but certainly anything that is dry and nibbly seemed to do.
3. Consume Ginger (and peppermint)
Ginger and Peppermint both have long associations with aiding digestion , and it seems this link pervades throughout pregnancy as well. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can aid heartburn and indigestion as well as pregnancy nausea so a pretty good all-rounder. Taken as tea, biscuits (see 2), and Ginger beer (see 3) or just consumed as part of your diet all seem to help enormously.
Peppermint comes under this category as well, but on the whole ginger seemed more popular. If you can’t stomach it, peppermint may well be a good alternative, and one mum suggested leaving the tea to go cold and drink it cold – there really is something about cold drinks isn’t there!
4. Wear Travel Wrist Bands
These wrist bands have small plastic balls embedded in the fabric and the placed in the correct position on your wrist (3 fingers up from the crease, with the ball on the inside of the wrist) can be an effective remedy to reduce morning sickness.  They work on the principles of acupressure – putting pressure on a point of the body that Chinese Medicine has linked to nausea. Of course, Acupuncture or Acupressure itself was also reported to be a successful method to curb nausea, but these wristbands enable you to feel the benefits all the time.
5. Eat Breakfast in Bed, and then graze all day
In combination with cold drinks, biscuits or crackers and ginger, many mums reported that if they ate some food and sipped a drink the *moment* they woke up, then sat in bed for 10-30 mins to let the food go down was a highly effective way to delay or stop the onset of morning sickness. The following advice was to then eat very frequently – really almost all the time, just nibbling on things and sipping drinks – so you never allow yourself to feel hungry. And for Birthzang this was the best remedy.
There is a fine line between hunger and nausea, but also many mums don’t feel sick while they are actually eating, so the answer is not to stop eating!
But it might not work…
Unfortunately for a significant number of women, these tips above might only make it less severe, or might last for a few days and then wear off. Or not work at all. In fact for some nothing works at all. Even anti-sickness medication – which a large number of mums recommended – don’t even work for some people, or even being admitted to hospital for additional meds and/or being put on a drip to rehydrate them.
The one thing every single mum agreed with, is that the nausea stopped as soon as their had their baby!
Some other things to try…
Finally here is a list of other ideas that people suggested worked for them, and feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below, or let me know what did or didn’t work for you.
- ‘Quease-ease’ inhaler
- Belgian buns and ice pops
- Chewing gum
- Deep breathing and fresh air.
- Earl grey tea
- Hangover foods – fatty and unhealthy!
- Boiled sweets
- Haribo Tangfastics
- Houmous and celery/carrots/crisps,
- Lots of sleep
- Mint hot chocolate,
- Nox Vom Homeopathic remedy
- Nevasic – an app with weird music
- Preggy pop drop sweets
- Run your wrists under a cold tap.
- Salted popcorn and
- Smelling fruity scents and fruity lip balm
- Wet Grapes