Morning sickness

It may seem a natural phenomenon, but it can be controlled, or may be not

Feben Getachew

Medically known as “Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy” (NVP), it is one of the worst parts of pregnancy and it is often experienced during the first trimester. It mostly occurs in the morning after waking up but for many pregnant women it may happen at any point of the day. This condition is believed to be caused by the sudden changes in hormones and in the body occurring in these first three months and it can be worsened by travel, stress and smell of some foods. The severity of the condition varies from woman to woman as each woman is different and of course each pregnancy is different. Morning sickness can have a negative effect on the daily activities and sense of well being as one may have fatigue, vomiting, nausea, and sleep disturbances. If you happen to be like most of the pregnant women and morning sickness just seems to ruin your day, there are techniques to help alleviate symptoms through nutrition.

Treating it with food

Treating morning sickness starts at the beginning of the day. Start by not rushing out of bed and putting a few crackers or dry cereal in your stomach and allow yourself a minimum of 15 minutes before getting out of bed. This will reduce the effects of nausea.

As you start your day don’t ever keep your stomach empty. Empty stomach will worsen nausea so the best approach would be to eat small meals and snacks frequently throughout the day. The best thing to do is to eat something every two hours or so and not skipping meals. Another great tip is to stay away from foods that may have strong smells and may trigger nausea. Keep some plain crackers or dry cereals with you. Munch on these in between meals. Fluids are also very important in this period so make sure you stay hydrated. Drink fluids some 30 minutes before or after a meal, but not with your meals as it may increase nausea.

Fatty, fried and spicy foods should be avoided, especially in the evening, as they are hard for the stomach to digest. Take your prenatal vitamins with some food or just before you go to bed. Also beware of the so called natural products as remedies as their safety and effectiveness have only been studied in pregnancy for few of them.

Suggested foods to relieve nausea

  • Cold foods
  • Chicken soup, broth, plain baked potato
  • Plain vegetables or fruits
  • Lemons (eat them, suck on them, sniff them)
  • Crackers
  • Chips, pretzels
  • Pickles
  • Brown rice, peanut butter, mushroom soup
  • Celery sticks, apple slices, nuts
  • Bread, noodles
  • Watermelon
  • Ginger (ginger jam)

Suggested drinks

  • Very ice cold water with lemon.
  • Weakly brewed tea with lemon.
  • A teaspoon of cider vinegar in a cup of warm water
  • Peppermint tea
  • Sparkling water
  • Ginger ale

What if I just can’t keep anything down?

Some women may suffer from excessive vomiting during pregnancy. This condition known as “hyperemesis gravidarum” may have negative effects on the health and well-being of the baby as he/she may not get the required amount of fluids and nutrients. In such cases, it is vital to talk to a healthcare professional.

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