During pregnancy, high levels of pregnancy hormones commonly cause nausea during the first trimester. Nausea and/or vomiting generally begin in the morning and dissipate as the day goes on. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), morning sickness, which consists of nausea and vomiting, effects around 75% of all pregnant women. This can occur as early as 6 weeks into the pregnancy and last until around week 12 to 14, but can continue much longer. Luckily, there are a few natural remedies that may soothe your pregnancy pains to make your journey more enjoyable.
TIPS FOR MORNING SICKNESS
Helpful tips to suppress nausea or morning sickness include eating small portions but often, and including more Vitamin B6 and zinc in your diet or as supplements. Vitamin B6 can be found in prenatal vitamins and in many foods including bananas, nuts, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, lean meats, and fish. No signs of harm have been found with use of Vitamin B6 on the fetus, but do not take more than suggested daily by your physician because some side effects may include numbness or nerve damage to the mother. A general dose for Vitamin B6 is 10-25 mg, 3 times a day.
Moreover, sip fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated and be sure to drink fluids before and after each meal. Try to eat a few salty chips and crackers to settle your stomach before a meal. Make sure to maintain regular exercise as well. The American Pregnancy Association recommends not lying down after eating, skipping meals, or cooking or eating spicy foods.
Always discuss your options and concerns with your health practitioner, but try out these suggestions before using any non-natural drugs. Natural remedies may be safer for your baby and better for your total health.
Ginger is one of the best natural remedies available for nausea from pregnancy or other causes. Taking 1 gram of ginger daily may help decrease nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, or those with migraines. There are strong protein-digesting enzymes found in ginger, which helps stimulate the emptying of your stomach without any negative effects. Ginger possesses certain agents that cause beneficial effects on your intestinal tract as well.
USE: For consumption, ginger can be used in dishes, tea, or by itself. Ginger root can be peeled using a paring knife and sliced thinly, grated, or minced to add to tea or cooking dishes. For fresh ginger tea, you can also chop off a couple of inches of ginger root and let it soak in hot water. You can add ginger to stir fries, homemade soups, or other dishes to add flavor while reaping the health benefits. Using this daily though may lead to allergies though so discretion is advised. Do not take more than 3 grams of raw ginger (about 3 teaspoons) a day. Use ginger essential oil with caution because some aromatherapists believe that it can lead to bleeding and trigger contractions. Some women say ginger worsens their symptoms of heartburn or acidity, so listen to your body. Avoid ginger food items or beverages with high sugar content as it may leave you feeling worse.
Peppermint is a good alternative to ginger. Peppermint may be used for relieving nausea and vomiting that appears during pregnancy or postoperative sickness, but should be avoided by those with cardiovascular conditions because it is a cardiac stimulant. Peppermint also may relax intestinal muscles, allowing gas to pass and easing abdominal pain. Peppermint oil may be used to help relieve tension headache pain as well.
USE: Peppermint oil may be ingested via capsules, and you may use the oil or peppermint leaves in tea to aid in gas relief. To relieve tension headache pain, blot a few drops of oil on your wrist or on a cloth, then inhale the aroma, or massage the oil directly onto the temples and forehead. Fresh peppermint leaves add more flavors to teas. You can spot fresh leaves by a more green colored leaf with few dark spots or yellowing. Fresh mint leaves can be added to soups and fruit salads as well. Sugar-free peppermint sweets or chewing gum may help cause some relief too.
Lavender oil possesses calming and relaxing properties. Lavender may be used aromatherapeutically for relieving insomnia, anxiety, depression, restlessness, and stress. It can ease sore or tense muscles and backaches with a light lavender oil massage on the effected area. Lavender benefits the digestive system by stimulating the mobility of your intestine and production of bile and gastric juices, resulting in alleviating stomach pain, indigestion, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. It has also been shown to improve blood circulation and lower elevated blood pressure levels.
USE: Lavender oil can be used to massage onto any affected area you want to treat.
Among many other uses, thyme can relieve and treat nausea and fatigue, stimulate the mind, and calm the nerves. This herb is also rich in antioxidants, which promote health, and is nutrient dense, consisting of Vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, manganese, copper, and dietary fiber.
USE: Thyme can be used in herbal form as a spice in many dishes and also as oil allowing for topical use.
This herb may calm upset stomachs and support restful sleep. Chamomile is a strong anti-inflammatory with muscle relaxant and antibacterial properties. The herb helps induce sleep, suppress heightened nerves, and promote an overall calming behavior. Chamomile may relax sore muscles and tight joints. It can ease backaches and relax the digestive system to alleviate an upset stomach or indigestion problems. Relaxation and reducing stress levels may prevent pregnancy nausea.
USE: Chamomile oil can be used for topical treatments to reduce itchiness, redness, or irritation. Chamomile is most popular in tea form to calm upset stomachs and help support calmness and restful sleep.
The greens contain nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 (which prevents nausea), thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese.
USE: Dandelion greens, which come from the flowering plant, can be boiled in water for 20 seconds to help remove the bitter flavor and then added to a vegetable juice or tea.
MORNING SICKNESS RESOURCES
Business Mirror. (2015). How to harness the power of medicinal plants. How to harness the power of medicinal plants, AsiaNet Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. Retrieved from http://libproxy.csun.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.csun.edu/docview/1666987901?accountid=7285
Tiran, D. (2014). Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: An ‘alternative’ approach to care. British Journal Of Midwifery, 22(8), 544-550.
BabyCenter. (2016). Nausea in pregnancy (natural remedies). Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.in/a549314/nausea-in-pregnancy-natural-remedies
BabyCentre. (2017). Morning Sickness (natural remedies). Retrieved from https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a549314/morning-sickness-natural-remedies.