It’s estimated around 85% of women experience nausea during pregnancy. And many know that, although it’s commonly called ‘morning sickness’, the reality for some is that it can last all day – and then some.
Reasons include hormonal changes, vitamin deficiency and low blood sugar, and it can also be triggered by strong smells or certain tastes. For most women, it tends to fade away by around the 12th week of pregnancy; but for others, it lasts much longer and can be truly debilitating, taking the shine of what should be an exciting and special time.
There are multiple cures and treatments – some sound, others based more on old wives’ tales. We’ve made a list of the most effective natural remedies we’ve found.
1Zap it with ginger
Ginger is renowned as a natural sickness antidote and it tastes good, too. You can buy ready-prepared herbal teas, or alternatively make your own – slice or grate some ginger root then simply steep it in hot water. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a spoonful of honey, if you like.
You can also buy ginger root capsules, drink ginger ale or snack on crystallised ginger. And, of course, it’s a good excuse to eat ginger biscuits…
2Invest in some motion-sickness wristbands
These work by applying pressure to a particular point on the wrist. Widely recommended for relieving nausea related to car or sea travel, they also work really well for morning sickness! They’re simple to use, too.
3Try the sniff test
Some pregnant women find certain strong smells set off their nausea – coffee, fried foods and cigarette smoke are common culprits. Others, though, can calm it instead. Try using a lemon or mint-scented hand cream – good for your skin, too! – or carry a tissue with a couple of drops of lemon or peppermint essential oil sprinkled on it to sniff when you feel nauseous.
We know one woman who carried a lemon around in her handbag and used to scratch the peel to release the aroma when needed.
4Some helpful foods
If you find you’re queasy on waking, keep dry crackers next to your bed to nibble in the morning before you get up. It’s not a good idea to skip breakfast as this is likely to make you feel worse, not better – dry toast might be an option.
If you’re really struggling to keep anything down, make or buy fruit smoothies; they can be easier to cope with than solid foods and will also neutralise the acid in your stomach. (You might also find soups are easier to manage.)
It sounds counter-intuitive, but eating something sour has also been shown to help in some cases – eat sour sweets or suck a wedge of lemon or grapefruit.
The last thing you probably feel like doing is getting active, and of course you don’t want to overdo it. But even a gentle 20-walk will release endorphins that can counteract pregnancy-related fatigue and nausea, so try a trip around the block.
6Supplements to combat morning sickness
Assuming there’s no reason why you can’t take them – it’s always a good idea to check with your health professional – some supplements are known to help reduce morning sickness.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to significantly ease pregnancy-related nausea – take 25mg every eight hours. B12 reduces fatigue and helps with digestion, while magnesium and calcium can lower dizziness, headaches and muscle-cramping. Probiotics and Omega 3 fatty acids are also beneficial to the gut and digestive system.
7Don’t forget to replace lost liquid
If you’re sick a lot, don’t forget to increase your fluid intake to make up for what you’re losing. Watermelon ice cubes are a refreshing change to plain water – in fact, ice chips or ice lollies are comforting for some women and help lessen sickness.
Try not to drink too much while you’re eating as this can make you feel fuller and bring on the nausea again – between meals is best.