Morning Sickness Tips from Fog City Doula

morning sickness tips from fog city doula

We all know that nausea and vomiting can be common signs of pregnancy, but did you know that it only affects 50 – 70% of women? Every pregnancy is different. Your mom or best friend may have felt terrible all day long but you might only feel mildly nauseous in the morning. Or you might not have had morning sickness in your first pregnancy but the first trimester of your second one is really challenging. 

What causes morning sickness?

We’re not entirely sure but it is believed that it’s due to the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hcG) which is produced during pregnancy. Other factors such as low blood sugar, increased stomach acid levels, stress, anxiety, and fatigue can also contribute to it. 

When does morning sickness start and end?

It  varies from person to person, but it usually begins in the sixth week of pregnancy and typically ends sometime between weeks 10 – 14. Despite its name, it can occur anytime of the day.

Expert doula tips for morning sickness:

  • Make friends with plain saltine crackers. They’re bland and boring but they’re easy to digest and can help settle your stomach. Keep some by your bedside and eat a few before you get out of bed in the morning. 
  • Stay hydrated. Not in the mood for water? Think tea. Some good choices are chamomile, peppermint or ginger. Coconut water with a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice can also help. Ginger Ale might upset your stomach because of the high sugar content, so try carbonated water instead. Be sure to take small sips instead of gulping it down.
  • Ginger has been used for over thousands of years to treat nausea. In addition to relaxing with a cup of ginger tea, try eating crystallised ginger or grate some fresh ginger into your food. 
  • Eat often. Five to six small meals each day is best to avoid an empty stomach, and to keep your blood sugar stable.
  • Stay away from spicy or greasy foods.You may also be experiencing food aversions during your pregnancy so avoid the sight, smell and taste of foods or other substances that make you queasy. For me, it was the sight and smell of beer! 
  •  Avoid becoming overheated and sweaty.
  • Turn on your favorite music, and kick back and take your mind off your pregnancy for a little bit. 
  • Many women have found that taking 50 to 100 milligrams of vitamin B6 a day helps. Be sure to take your regular prenatal vitamins as well. The iron found in many prenatal vitamins can exacerbate nausea so try taking your prenatal vitamins before bedtime.
  • Try acupuncture or acupressure. Wearing a motion-sickness relief band, such as Sea – Band can help as well.  Any of these methods decrease nausea by stimulating the Neiguan (Pericardium 6) acupressure point. This spot is located on your inner arm, near your wrist. To find and use this acupressure point, (1) turn one hand over so the palm is facing up (2) place the first three fingers of the other hand across the wrist starting at the wrist crease (3) place your thumb just below your three fingers and apply downward pressure between the two tendons, massaging and stimulating the area for up to three minutes. Repeat on the other wrist. Stimulating this pressure point also helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Get plenty of rest. You’re growing a baby and a whole new organ (a placenta) -so you will likely feel fatigued during your first and third trimesters.  Aim for 7 -8 hours of sleep at night and allow yourself to take a nap during the day. If you’re working from home, block out 20 – 30 minutes on your calendar between Zoom calls for a quick nap. If not, even taking 5 – 10 minutes during your lunch break can help.
  • Do what you can to release the feeling of dread that can overwhelm you when you’re beginning to feel the first wave of nausea. Find a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes. Take a deep breath to the count of four and breathe out slowly to the count of six. Relax your neck and shoulders. Don’t think about the meetings you have scheduled for the day, or the proposal you need to knock out. Just breathe for a minute or even longer if you’d like. Let your body release the tension you’re holding. 

What if I can’t keep anything down?

Be sure to contact your health care provider if you haven’t been able to keep things down for 24 hours, if you are worried, or if you’re showing any of the following signs of dehydration. You may have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. Signs include:

  • Blood in your vomit
  • Weight Loss
  • A high temperature
  • Low blood presure
  • Decreased urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Dizziness or weakness

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