Morning sickness can affect each mom differently. Whether it’s got you nauseated or throwing up, ravenous or completely off your food, morning sickness can be one of the worst parts of being pregnant. But since the symptoms can be varied, is there anything that actually helps? If you’re one of the up to 90% of moms affected by morning sickness,1there are steps you can take to feel better.
What helps morning sickness?
Morning sickness isn’t a disease – so unfortunately, there’s no simple cure for it.
But to start to think about what makes morning sickness better, let’s tackle the problem backwards. What makes morning sickness worse? That tends to be universal: food, smells, and stress. By breaking these down, we can work out some morning sickness remedies to help you power through it.
Tip #1: How to help morning sickness with food
Fighting morning sickness with food might seem counter-intuitive, but watching what and how you eat can make a big difference for your symptoms. In fact, some experts have suggested that morning sickness is your body’s way of keeping you away from foods that could potentially contain toxins or bacteria.
Following your natural aversions is sensible, so listen to your body. Specific foods can either help or trigger morning sickness depending on the mom, so what helps another mom might not work for you. It may help to focus on how you eat rather than what you eat.
- Don’t let your stomach get too empty, or too full.
- Try to eat something small and bland every 1 to 2 hours, rather than sitting down to three big meals.
- Stay hydrated, and try to drink at least 8 glasses of liquids like water or fruit juices throughout the day.
- Try to drink fluids between meals rather than during.
- Get protein in between meals with snacks like nuts or hard-boiled eggs.
- Avoid getting up on an empty stomach by eating simple carbohydrates before you get out of bed. Try keeping some crackers or melba toast on your bedside table for easy access.
Don’t panic if you can’t keep down much food during first-trimester morning sickness. Pregnancy nutrition is important, but in early pregnancy, the baby gets their nutrition from glands in the womb lining – not from the mother’s diet directly. Just focus on eating what you can, when you can.
Tip #2: How to help morning sickness by avoiding smell
Smells are a common trigger for moms with morning sickness – especially food smells, like barbecued meat or fried foods. To make matters worse, your sense of smell often goes up during pregnancy! To avoid triggering morning sickness, you’re going to want to find a way to block out the unpleasant stimuli, and replace it with something more pleasant.
- Wear a flu mask when you’re out and about.
- Delegate stinkier household chores like taking out the garbage to your partner or other kids until you’re over the morning sickness period.
- Put a drop of a refreshing scent like lemon scent on a handkerchief so you can take a whiff when something makes you feel sick.
- Try to avoid crowded places if you are more sensitive to body odors than usual.
Tip #3: How to help morning sickness with stress relief
Stress can make morning sickness worse. When you’re stressed, your gut responds by slowing down – something that can cause stomach pain and other gastrointestinal symptoms. It’s no secret that early pregnancy can be a stressful time, so don’t forget to take care of your mental health.
Make time for enjoyable activities like a warm bath, listening to music or relaxing with a good book to help keep your stress levels in check.
See a doctor if you can’t keep down water
Morning sickness can be awful, but it’s not a disease, and it won’t last forever. It may take a little trial and error to find the foods you can stomach or the smells that offer you some relief, but remember that regular morning sickness won’t harm you or your baby.
However, there is one caveat: if your morning sickness symptoms are so bad you can’t keep down any food or drink at all, it could be a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Unlike normal morning sickness, HG can make you very unwell, and it needs medical attention to support you like with IV hydration, vitamins and anti-nausea drugs. If you’re affected by very severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to get to a hospital and get checked out.