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Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful things that could happen to many women. It is an amazing ride that culminates into a bundle of joy cradled in the arms of the mother.
However, the unwanted morning sickness that often accompanies pregnancy is something any woman looks forward to. It has been estimated that approximately 70 per cent of women experience nausea early in pregnancy and about 50 per cent experience vomiting.
Morning sickness is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. It is a common complaint, but it often passes by three months into the pregnancy. However, for some women, severe morning sickness can be bothersome.
According to an obstetrician and gynaecologist, Marjorie Greenfield, morning sickness is common but also varies incredibly. She added that many people were sick all day, some were sick mostly in the evening and others sick if they hadn’t slept well.
Morning sickness can be managed in several ways, including through dietary measures, acupressure, and rest. Active medical treatment is only required in cases of excessive vomiting. The use of medications is not recommended during pregnancy until prescribed.
Pregnancy nausea can start as early as six weeks and tends to peak around the eighth and ninth weeks.
If you’re tired of feeling queasy while pregnant or want to better prepare yourself for when you get pregnant, then check out these 10 tips for how to handle morning sickness,
Take a break
During pregnancy, there are periods when it seems like getting out of bed is the toughest job in the world. Such mornings, the thought and worry of getting your tired body out of bed might further heighten your morning sickness.
According to Greenfield, on such days, take a day off, give yourself a break. She added, “Take a sick day and give yourself a break. Your body’s working overtime on growing that baby. During these early weeks of pregnancy, you must take rest as much as possible, not only for the baby but for your health as well.”
Be vocal about your triggers
As each pregnant woman is different, so also are the factors that trigger their morning sickness. It could be the smell of a meal, their partner or colleague’s perfume, or anything else but it triggers a heavy wave of nausea for them all the same.
For many women, in a bid to be self-sufficient, they keep quiet about the triggers, mostly in a bid not to make others uncomfortable. Your partner probably doesn’t know that their scented soap makes you queasy or that kissing you— post an eba and okro soup dinner, without brushing their teeth first— makes you nauseous. So also, your colleague might not know it’s the smell of their perfume that triggers your morning sickness.
Greenfield stated, “Being vocal about your feelings can help alleviate morning sickness misery. So tell the people around you, and let them know what little changes they can make to help you feel better.”
Track your nausea
Pregnancy nausea may seem to come and go, but by tuning into your body and surroundings, you might find the queasiness isn’t so random. If you find yourself getting nauseated at the same time every evening, then it is likely that a person or event is triggering your sickness around that time and place.
Greenfield says, “Identifying the period when your nausea is most pronounced in the day can help you find out the specific triggers in your environment and eliminate them.”
It sounds like a no-brainer, but staying hydrated can feel like a monumental effort when your stomach won’t keep anything down. According to Greenfield, it’s essential to get enough liquids because the more dehydrated you become, the more nauseated you’ll become, so try different ways of tricking your body into accepting fluids. During this period you must drink enough fluid until your urine is colourless or light yellow. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake, as well as milk, juice, tea and soups.
Find foods that work
Morning sickness more often than not makes most pregnant women afraid to eat as they feel they might only end up being nauseated afterwards. Nevertheless, you still need to get food in your stomach—it’s just a matter of figuring out what goes down best.
Author of the book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,’’ Heidi Murkoff, said, “Every pregnant woman and every queasy tummy is different. What spells relief to one may spell P-U-K-E to another.”
Though there’s no hard-and-fast rule about the best foods for morning sickness, many women find that it’s easier to keep down certain types of items. Fatty and spicy foods and caffeine increase the chance of triggering the release of stomach acid, especially as the pregnancy progresses and the foetus pushes against the digestive tract. Bland foods may be less aggravating.
Sweet potatoes, nuts, beans, yoghurt, orange juice, vegetables and oatmeal are some of the meals that can help ease morning sickness.
A doctor, Mehmet Oz, adds that “If you’re concerned about getting enough nutrients, try the chicken soup, which will help both hydrate you and give you some calories also, eat more cold foods—hot foods may trigger nausea as they are more likely than cold foods to have an aroma.”
Get creative with ginger and ginger teas
Ginger has long been touted as a stomach soother, and studies have shown that it may help morning sickness. Try adding a thin slice of ginger to hot water and drink it every morning to settle your queasy stomach.
If this is however not appetising for you, snack on a handful of crystallised ginger candy, gingerbread, ginger tea or find your tasty way to incorporate it into your meals.
A medical doctor, Lizzie Streit said, “Ginger root contains specifically two types of compounds – gingerols and shogaols – that are thought to act on receptors in the digestive system and speed stomach emptying, which in turn may help reduce feelings of nausea.”
She added that ginger has been shown to help relieve pain from uterine cramping, which many pregnant women experience in the first trimester and recommends four cups of ginger tea every day for pregnant women.
First-trimester nausea isn’t easy to ignore, but finding something to take your mind off it may help. Read a book, do a Sudoku puzzle, play candy crush or go for a short walk. Some mothers even claim that exercising helps relieve their nausea, but make sure to talk to your doctor before going that route. And of course, listen to your body—if you start feeling tired or queasier, it’s time to stop.
Carry a survival kit
No matter how many times it happens, puking in public isn’t something you ever get used to. To make the sticky situation bearable, don’t leave home without stocking your bag with a few morning sickness must-haves.
Greenfield suggests packing a clean blouse and a toothbrush, toothpaste, or bottle of mouthwash to help you freshen up. Breath mints are a smart move, too. It’s also a good idea to carry a plastic (barf) bag for those dreaded can’t-hold-it-until-I-reach-a-bathroom moments, plus a snack stash of crackers that you can munch when your stomach starts to feel empty or upset.
If you’re having a hard time keeping anything down, it’s time to see a doctor. According to an obstetrician and gynaecologist, Robert Atlas, a combination of vitamin B6 and the sleep aid Unisom has been proven to alleviate morning sickness symptoms for some. If that doesn’t work, a combination of stronger prescription medications, such as an acid reflux blocker and a bowel stimulant, may also bring relief.
Like every other medication during pregnancy, you’ll have to check with your doctor.
Oz stated, “For severe morning sickness, you may want to talk to your doctor about prescription medications such as scopolamine, promethazine, prochlorperazine and trimethobenzamide, and all are safe for use during pregnancy.”
Greenfield added that once you get the go-ahead, don’t worry about the meds harming your baby—the relief they provide will benefit you both. She said, “It’s important not to let morning sickness go too far in the interest of avoiding medication at all costs, because the dehydration, calorie deprivation, and starvation state is unhealthy for the baby.
Sometimes the best solution is the simplest. Try lying down, closing your eyes, taking a few deep breaths, and just getting some rest. Many doctors and moms have said that sleep is a great way to escape morning sickness—and your body needs it! If you already have young children, ask for help from family or friends in taking care of the children or just hire a babysitter even for just a few hours a day so you can catch up on some much-needed snooze.
Sources: Parents, MedicalNewsToday, HealthLine