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What You Can Do to Ease Morning Sickness



By Jessica Hudson

We’ve all heard the saltines and ginger ale fix, but many of us have some downright severe morning sickness. What causes it, how can it be stopped and when is it bad enough to worry? Read on.

Only one-third to one-half of expecting women ever experience the nausea and/or vomiting of morning sickness. Morning sickness is actually misnamed, since it can strike at any time of the day. The condition rarely interferes with proper nutrition enough to harm the developing fetus and for most women, tapers off after the third month.

However, if you can’t keep any food down for more than three days, see your doctor or midwife. Although the causes of nausea in pregnancy are not yet known, the following have been suggested as contributory factors: low blood sugar, low blood pressure, hormonal changes, emotional ambivalence about the pregnancy, food deficiency (in particular of vitamin B6 and iron), an excess of refined, spicy or greasy foods and pressure on the stomach from the growing uterus in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Practical tips
• Eat frequent, small meals rather than larger ones less often.
• Avoid strong odors and small, enclosed spaces.
• Try drinking fluids (no caffeine) in between meals rather than with them.
• Avoid sugars and simple carbohydrates; choose complex carbohydrates instead, such as whole grains.
• Take your prenatal vitamin later in the day or before bed.
• Wake up slowly, keeping a bland food such as saltine crackers near the bed and eating a small amount before getting out of bed.
• Eat high-protein foods. You need them for the protein, but they also help regulate the blood sugar, preventing those plummets that bring on or worsen nausea.

Herbal approaches
Herbal approaches include cloves, ginger, ginseng, milk thistle (Silymarin) and red raspberry plant.

People have long relied on ginger for upset stomachs. It is probably the best-known carminative (removing gas and relaxing the intestinal tract). It’s particularly appealing to pregnant women because it has none of the side effects that drug treatment can have. You can get ginger capsules at health food stores.

Milk thistle supports the liver, which may be having difficulty detoxifying.

Essential oils
Cardamom essence, coriander essence, ginger essence and peppermint essence are options. Use essential oils of lavender, chamomile and rose (either singly or combined) mixed with a base oil, as a massage oil. You can also put a drop or two of one of these on a tissue or cotton ball and carry it with you.

It’s hard to hide a new pregnancy when morning sickness is keeping you in the bathroom every time your coworkers make a new pot of coffee or order in Mexican for lunch. Peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball is particularly helpful for disguising such strong smells that may be causing you nausea.

Reflexology involves applying deep pressure to specific neurological reflex points on the hands and feet. Research has shown that 10 sessions of reflexology during pregnancy can reduce the length of time spent in labor, with fewer complications and interventions. The mother and the baby recover quicker and are more relaxed.

Reflexology can help with relief of the following complaints during pregnancy: morning sickness, nausea, headaches, pain and discomfort, loss of bladder control, backache, stress and anxiety, lack of sleep and fatigue, digestive problems such as constipation and swollen or puffy ankles and legs.

Many recent studies have shown that vitamin B6 has been effective in relieving nausea and vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy. Please note that B6 supplementation can affect nursing, so it is not recommended that it be taken after the first three months of pregnancy or while nursing an older child during pregnancy.

A recent study has shown acupuncture’s particular effectiveness in relieving morning sickness or the potentially more dangerous hyperemesis gravidarum (severe vomiting during pregnancy).

An Australian study published in the journal Birth reported that of 593 women less than 14 weeks pregnant who participated, those who received traditional acupuncture reported having less frequent and shorter periods of nausea than the women who received no acupuncture. These improvements were felt immediately and lasted throughout the study’s four-week duration.

There are acupressure points on the wrist. Located on the inside of the wrist, about three finger-widths toward the elbow, they can be used in preventing nausea. If you apply constant firm pressure to these points, you can relieve feelings of nausea.

You can buy “Sea Bands,” elastic wristbands that have little bumps that press on the correct points and can be worn at any time, at pharmacies and health food stores. There is also a newer form by the name of “Relief Bands.” They also deliver a small and nearly imperceptible electric pulse through these acupressure points.

They are completely safe during pregnancy and reportedly much more successful than the acupressure alone. At the time of this writing relief bands were available for between $50 and $100. They are perhaps not as discreet as the Sea Bands, for those of us who prefer to conceal our pregnancies for a while — but neither is running to the bathroom every half hour.

Shiatsu improves health generally by relieving stress, calming the nervous system and stimulating the circulatory and immune systems. It is particularly effective for stress-related tension and illnesses, insomnia, back pain, headaches and digestive upsets. However, through its stimulation of the hormone system, shiatsu can also affect the digestive and reproductive systems.

Apart from bringing relief to symptoms, shiatsu gradually corrects long-term postural and behavioral imbalances leading to improved body/mind awareness and a general sense of well-being and peace of mind. Shiatsu given by a qualified therapist is safe for everyone and particularly beneficial for pregnant women.

Asarum: This remedy is indicated when a woman feels very ill, with constant nausea and retching. She is extremely sensitive to everything, especially noise, which can aggravate the nauseous feelings. She feels best when lying down and resting. Cool drinks or food may help, but it is hard for her to even think of eating.

Colchicum: Horrible nausea that is worse from the sight and smell of food (especially eggs or fish) often indicates this remedy. The woman retches and vomits, and has a sore and bloated feeling in the abdomen. She has trouble eating anything, although she often craves things, but when she tries to eat them they make her sick. She is likely to feel ill from many smells that others don’t even notice.

Ipecacuanha: This remedy is indicated for intense and constant nausea that is felt all day (not only in the morning) with retching, belching, and excessive salivation. The woman may feel worse from lying down, but also worse from motion. Even after the woman vomits, she remains nauseous.

Kreosotum: When this remedy is indicated, the woman may salivate so much that she constantly swallows it, becoming nauseous. She may also vomit up food that looks undigested, several hours after eating.

Lacticum acidum: This remedy is indicated for “classic morning sickness”: nausea worse immediately on waking in the morning and on opening the eyes. The woman may salivate a lot and have burning stomach pain. She usually has a decent appetite and feels better after eating.

Nux vomica: Nausea, especially in the morning and after eating, may respond to this remedy, especially if the woman is irritable, impatient and chilly. She may retch a lot and have the urge to vomit, often without success. Her stomach feels sensitive and crampy, and she may be constipated.

Pulsatilla: This remedy can be helpful if nausea is worse in the afternoon and evening (often in the morning, as well). The woman is not very thirsty, although she may feel better from drinking something cool. She can crave many different foods but feels sick from many things (including foods she craves). Creamy foods or desserts may be appealing but can cause discomfort and burping or bring on vomiting. A woman who needs this remedy usually is affectionate, insecure and weepy, wanting a lot of attention and comforting.

Sepia: Gnawing, intermittent nausea with an empty feeling in the stomach suggests a need for this remedy. It is especially indicated for a woman who is feeling irritable, sad, worn out and indifferent to her family. She feels worst in the morning before she eats but is not improved by eating and may vomit afterward. Nausea can be worse when she is lying on her side. Odors of any kind may aggravate the symptoms. Food often tastes too salty. She may lose her taste for many foods but may still crave vinegar and sour things.

Tabacum: This remedy can be helpful to a woman who feels a ghastly nausea with a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She looks extremely pale, feels very cold and faint and needs to lie very still and keep her eyes closed. If she moves at all, she may vomit violently or break out in cold sweat and feel terrible.

Homeopathy dosages
Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.

Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient. If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.

© Jessica Hudson

Jessica Hudson is a mother of two, with more than 10 months of experience with morning sickness. She is an avid researcher of all things pregnancy and baby related and has compiled many articles dealing with the maladies and joys of pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood. She is owner of Eva Lillian Maternity & Nursing Boutique, an online maternity store for stylish and sexy maternity and nursing clothing and accessories.

One Response to “What You Can Do to Ease Morning Sickness”

1 paige says:

i have tried everything and nothing is working .. everything that i have read here is not working and im tried of the hospiital..

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