Finding out I was pregnant with my older son was definitely a joyous time. I was about 4 weeks pregnant when I found out and I felt great. Unfortunately, fast forward a couple of weeks and I had entered the dreaded morning sickness phase. The "good" news is that it is a relatively short period of time and most women will see relief by about 16 weeks (which can feel like forever when you are in the thick of it though!) During this time, I found I didn’t want to eat most foods, and so I subsisted on crackers, cereal and toast, not realizing that denying myself various nutrients was actually making me feel worse. Implementing the tips I outline below when I became pregnant with my second son made a huge difference. The nausea didn’t completely go away but I was able to manage the symptoms better.
Up to 80% of women will experience some form of morning sickness during pregnancy varying from mild food aversions and low grade nausea, to nausea and vomiting and in extreme cases something called hyperemesis gravidarum, a serious form of vomiting where you are unable to keep anything down. If you fall into that most severe category then definitely see your doctor right away, however if you find yourself somewhere in the first two camps then hopefully some of these tips below will be helpful.
1) Eat sour foods, such as lemons and other citrus, or fermented foods like kefir or raw sauerkraut. The sour flavor is palatable for most women experiencing nausea and may help you stomach other foods when added to a dish. Personally, during my first pregnancy I was unable to drink water without adding lemon or a splash of grapefruit juice to it…good tips if you are also struggling with water consumption.
2) Eat more protein, especially in the morning. While protein may seem like the last thing you want to eat, it can actually help ease nausea in most and is an important nutrient to boot. You don’t have to start your day with a steak however, unless you want to! Simple, easy to prepare protein sources include things like hard boiled eggs, nuts and seeds or you could add some yogurt or hemp seeds to a breakfast smoothie.
3) Consume cold foods. Most folks tend to find cold foods more palatable so if certain foods turn your stomach when heated try them cold and see if that makes a difference.
4) Add ginger to your diet. Many studies show its effectiveness in calming nausea during pregnancy. Just make sure you don’t overdo it…a little goes a long way. You can include fresh ginger in your cooking, have ginger snaps or use it to make a ginger tea or smoothie.
5) Eat as soon as you wake up. Some find it helpful to have some whole grain crackers or fruit on their bedside so they can literally eat before even getting out of bed.
6) Include foods rich in Vitamin B6, a vitamin with good evidence in providing relief from mild to moderate morning sickness. Your doctor may suggest a supplement, however you can also find B6 in the following foods – sunflower seeds, salmon, chicken, avocado, chickpeas and bananas.
Some great recipe ideas putting a few of these tips into practice include:
- Banana “ice cream”-one of my favourite desserts and it literally could not be easier to make. Peel and cut up a banana and freeze. You then combine the frozen banana chunks with a splash of milk or water and blend until smooth and ice cream like consistency.
- Avocado toast- Toast a slice of whole grain bread, spread on mashed avocado and top with a sprinkle of sea salt and red pepper flakes.
- Smoothies with various types of fruit, vegetables, nuts/seeds or yogurt and some type of liquid (water, milk) to blend together. As a bonus, some find swallowing their supplements easier with a smoothie than with water alone.
For more advice on alleviating common pregnancy complaints check out our grow package.