The dreaded two words that send shivers down the spine of every pregnant woman or woman who has been pregnant: morning sickness. Actually for me it was morning, noon and night sickness – three times the fun! While there is still no concrete evidence to support this claim, most doctors attribute morning sickness to the increased levels of estrogen during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some women (not myself) relate morning sickness to the general feeling of being hung over after a long night out – we all know the drill- tired, upset stomach, headache, etc. For other women, like myself, I felt nauseous to the point of vomiting pretty much all day for the first two and half months of my pregnancy. I rarely vomited, (except for that time in a cab on the way to the airport in a FedEx envelope, yes that really happened) but the threat was always present and I was constantly putting my gag reflex into overdrive. The most frustrating part of my first trimester was my body’s non-discriminatory attitude toward food, I could eat saltines or pizza with the exact same results and neither seemed to alleviate the nausea. Another group of women (bless their hearts) can have a REALLY difficult time with the first trimester, and they are probably reading this thinking, “That’s all you’ve got?” Some of the unfortunate few have such severe morning sickness that they end up in the hospital, mainly because the nausea and vomiting are so bad they have difficulty keeping down food and the fear of dehydration and other resulting symptoms require closer monitoring.
So now that I’ve detailed yet another joy of pregnancy (ha), let me provide you with some useful remedies and must-have items that helped me through the process.
Ginger. Ginger is your friend and a natural remedy to aid digestion and alleviate stomach discomfort. You can take ginger in many forms – juice, chews, shots, etc. Since I don’t enjoy the strong taste of ginger, I purchased a bottle of ginger juice (not carbonated) and added about two tablespoons to every 12 oz. of cold water – the watered-down version worked for me.
Lemon Water. Adding lemon or lemonade to your water will make it much easier to consume. When you are feeling nauseous, water can be the last thing you feel like drinking, but add about a tablespoon of lemon juice or lemonade (or whatever acidic drink you have on hand) will add just enough flavor and acidity to help you get through your recommended 8 glasses a day.
Tums. Tums can be a pregnancy lifesaver and are considered safe to consume by most doctors if taken in accordance with the recommended dosage (if you are unsure, check with your doctor). Tums help with acid indigestion and heartburn – bingo – you will likely experience both of these issues during your pregnancy.
Peppermint Candy. The peppermint flavor, which is derived from the peppermint plant is a known natural remedy used to alleviate upset stomachs. I kept a bag in my purse at all times during my first trimester.
Keep small snacks near your bedside. Keep a snack, such as saltines or a cereal bar (any carbohydrate will do) near your bed in case your morning sickness strikes either through the night or immediately upon waking. Pregnancy related sickness tends to be exacerbated by an empty stomach, so this tip can be applied all day.
Pressure Point Wristbands. As a last resort (in my opinion) I would suggest purchasing a cheap pair of motion sickness (pressure point) wristbands. I did feel some relief while using them, but I can’t be sure if they actually worked or my mind was playing tricks on me. Biggest downfall to the wristbands, if you haven’t told family, friends or work – they will be pretty hard to explain unless you’ve always had a flair for trendsetting fashion.
Best of luck and remember, this is ‘purposeful’ sickness and a very normal part of pregnancy!