Morning sickness is the first, and maybe the worst part of pregnancy. Sure, it’s wonderful to have a sign that you’re pregnant – but that doesn’t make it any easier! Let’s look at some steps you can take to help lessen the severity of morning sickness and other early pregnancy symptoms.
The golden rule of morning sickness remedies: Take it easy
It’s not clear what causes morning sickness, but many expectant mothers experience it, so you’ll need to know how to deal with it before you go about lessening the severity of the symptoms.
Pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness aren’t just rough on your body – they also have a psychological impact. When you’re not eating well yourself, you might also feel particularly anxious over whether your baby is getting enough nutrition.
However, at this early stage of pregnancy, the embryo grows a structure called the yolk sac. This provides all the nutrition needed to for the baby to grow and develop until the placenta has finished forming. In other words, the developing baby isn’t taking nutrients directly from the food that Mom’s eating at this stage.
When your morning sickness symptoms are really bad, try to go easy on yourself, as any extra stress won’t be good for your body. Your baby comes fully equipped with all the structures needed to develop healthily during this period, so you don’t need to worry about that for now. What’s more, you don’t have to suffer through early pregnancy alone – draw on your support network for the strength to ride it out!
Is there a universal treatment for early pregnancy symptoms?
When you think of “early pregnancy symptoms”, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the nausea of morning sickness. In fact, there are many different kinds of physical symptoms that can accompany early pregnancy, so there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy. We can split these up into 5 different categories of symptoms, so see if you can recognize yours here.
1. Gastro-intestinal upsets
This is what most people think of when they hear “morning sickness,” though in fact it can occur at any time, and some moms feel sick all day long. In severe cases, this means you can’t eat anything at all, and even drinking liquids makes you feel sick.
2. Hunger-related symptoms
In this case, your nausea is worse on an empty stomach. Eating more than you can handle makes you feel sick, but if you don’t eat anything at all you’re left with nausea and heartburn.
3. Hyper sensitivity to smells
You become hyper-aware of odors, and unpleasant ones trigger your nausea. This doesn’t just means gross smells like garbage – some pregnant moms find smells that normally wouldn’t bother them, like cooking vapors or natural body odors, become very noxious.
4. Fatigue and sleepiness
You’re feeling sleepy around the clock. When you’re awake you feel lethargic, and sometimes you’re hit by a sudden wave of drowsiness. This doesn’t just mean you’re tired – the characteristic here is that you feel sleepy and spaced out.
5. Ptyalism (Excessive salivation)
Your mouth is producing more saliva than usual. Some moms-to-be find the taste of their own saliva unpleasant, or that they have too much to get rid of by swallowing, and have to keep spitting it out.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the steps you can take to bring each of these symptoms under control!
1. Fighting morning sickness nausea and vomiting
When nausea from morning sickness leaves you feeling constantly ill, remember this: eat when you can, what you can and the amount you can. There’s no need to worry about meal timing, portion size or nutritional balance for now.
You might find certain foods are easier to eat in terms of taste or texture. For example:
- Soft-textured foods that go down easy, like fruit jelly or pudding.
- Cold foods, like ice cream or slushies.
- Sour foods with a strong taste, like lemons and other citrus fruits .
Some moms-to-be also find they can manage things like hard candy, gummy bears, and club soda. Anything you can stomach right now is just fine, so try to experiment to see what you can manage to eat! Just eating little by little will help you ride this out.
Vitamin B6, which is present in ginger and many other foods, is also considered to be an effective way to combat the nausea of morning sickness. Other rich sources of vitamin B6 include red-fleshed fish (like tuna and salmon), sesame, sea vegetables and sunflower seeds.
Repeated vomiting with morning sickness runs the risk of dehydration, so do what you can to make sure you’re replenishing all the fluids you need.
2. Fighting hunger and empty-stomach queasiness
This type of morning sickness nausea is worse on an empty stomach, so it’s important not to go too long without eating. Rather than eating a large meal all in one go, try to eat small amounts more frequently throughout the day.
Some people find waking up on an empty stomach makes them feel sick. You can avoid this by keeping a stash of snacks ready on your bedside table so you can have something to eat as soon as you’re awake.
However, one word of caution: when you’re breaking up your meals to snack regularly like this, it can be easy to overshoot your calorie goals for the day, leading to excess weight gain. Try to avoid sugary, oily foods and high-calorie snacks like chocolate.
3. Fighting odor hypersensitivity
When you become hyper-sensitive to a particular odor, the best thing to do is avoid it. It’s not unusual to feel nauseated by the smell of foods cooked at a high temperature – like pan-fried meat, fish and vegetables, or even toast – so do your best to avoid these. Try not to cook if you can avoid it – for instance, you and your partner could enjoy takeout or a meal at a restaurant.
However, sometimes it’s not possible to avoid all the smells that you find noxious – for example, some women can’t stand the smell of men. For situations like this, consider carrying a handkerchief or flu mask spritzed with a little perfume. This way, if you encounter a smell that sets you off, you can cover your nose to ward off the nausea.
4. Fighting sleepiness and fatigue
You’re going to be feeling tired anyway, so the best thing you can do is to not fight it. Think of sleepiness as your body’s way of telling you it needs a breather. So, do right for yourself and your baby by taking a rest.
That said, if you’re working outside the home, that might be easier said than done. After all you can’t exactly lie down on the office floor and take a nap! In this case, try moving around in your chair, or get keep your jaw moving by chewing gum. This should help you feel a little more alert.
However, when you’re feeling drowsy, overworking yourself can lead to silly mistakes and leave you feeling stressed. In this case, try discussing the situation with your boss – you may be able to make arrangements for some quick shut-eye during the workday.
5. Fighting excessive salivation
The smell and taste of your own saliva can be uncomfortable, so the best thing to do is keep something on hand to clear out of your mouth as soon as you need. If you carry tissues, a handkerchief, or a small face-towel with you when you’re out and about, you’ll be able to spit out excess saliva, or clear your mouth afterwards.
Another option is to cover up the taste of your saliva with the taste of food. Try carrying cold drinks or hard candies and chewing gum when you’re out and about: you can pop one of these in your mouth to get rid of the taste of excess saliva whenever it makes you feel unwell. You can also prevent the discomfort in the first place by keeping one of these sweets in your mouth in advance.
Best cure for morning sickness: Go easy on yourself!
It can be comforting to think of the physical symptoms of early pregnancy as a sign of your baby doing the best they can to grow and develop. Morning sickness can be rough, but it won’t last forever. Until then, just remember to go easy on yourself, and find out what methods work for you to ease your symptoms.