There must be something in the water at the moment… or maybe it is something that I am doing… but everyone around me seems to be falling pregnant or having babies. I don’t have children of my own yet, so have never experienced morning sickness, but judging by the experiences of my friends and clients it can be extremely debilitating, as well as unexpected.
What has commonly become known as “morning sickness” can actually occur at all times of the day and night during pregnancy. IN FACT: Did you know that only approximately 17% of women experience nausea and vomiting that is confined to the morning? In general, morning sickness usually begins around week 6 of pregnancy and can continue to week 16-20, but for some women it does last much longer.
There are many factors that are thought to contribute to whether or not a women suffers from morning sickness:
- An increase in oestrogen
- An increase in human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
- Helicobacter pylori infection
- Changes in blood sugar regulation
- Changes in gastric transit times and rhythms
- Psychosocial factors – perception of stress, level of support
- Inadequate sleep/rest
- Adaptation theory – more on that one to come.
For some women, nausea and vomiting can be triggered just by specific foods – particularly if they are strong smelling or tasting, as there is a heighted sense of smell during pregnancy. Another school of thought is the “Adaptation Theory”, by which the body rejects certain foods as a protective mechanism to prevent harm to the mother and baby.
Ok, I know you are probably feeling nauseous just reading about morning sickness, but guess what! There is actually a positive side. Studies have suggested that women who suffer from morning sickness are less likely to suffer a miscarriage than women who don’t. It is also more common in women who are pregnant with girls than boys (although does occur in both).
So what can you do? While it is quite individual in terms of food preferences, there are a number of key principles that you can stick to that should minimise your morning sickness.
- Eat smaller more frequent meals – this will help to balance your blood sugar levels preventing nausea from hypoglycaemia.
- Don’t drink fluids with meals – drink in between your meals to reduce the sensation of bloating and nausea.
- Increase vitamin B6 – either through foods such as banana, sweet potato, chicken, turkey and whole grains, or through a supplement. It is best to see your practitioner to purchase an Activated B6 supplement, along with a great Natal multi-vitamin. Not all brands are the same.
- Incorporate ginger – whether ginger tea, ginger chews, fresh ginger, powdered ginger or a ginger supplement. However you can take it, make sure you do!
- Nap often – you have to remember that you are growing a baby, and while you may not yet look pregnant, the inside of your body already looks vastly different and needs a lot of rest and TLC. Don’t feel guilty saying no to things. Take time to sleep and look after yourself.
- Support your liver – this will help to gently clear any excess hormones that may be making you feel unwell. Including things like dandelion root tea is a great place to start, or see your practitioner to discuss other herbal medicines that you could take. Or click HERE to get in touch with me.
- Eat protein rich meals – this has been found to reduce gastric dysrhythmia (irregularities), which subsequently reduces nausea.
- Listen to your body. If you have a food craving, eat it (within reason). If you feel tired, sleep. The body is an incredibly intelligent and intuitive system, so don’t try to override it.
For some women morning sickness can become extremely severe and may require hospitalisation, so while I think it is great to do what you can at home, don’t ignore the warning signs if you think it is getting too bad.
Now over to you… have you suffered from morning sickness? Or know someone that has? Please share this article with the pregnant beauties in your life, share your hot tips in the comments section below, or share you baby photos on the Facebook page – because at the end of the day that is the precious reward you are working towards 🙂