According to the American Pregnancy Association, morning sickness can affect as many as 85% of pregnant women, but only about 60 – 70% of pregnant women experience vomiting as a symptom. Even without vomiting, nausea from morning sickness can be miserable, making it difficult to get through the day.
What Is Morning Sickness?
The term might imply that this sickness only happens in the morning. The truth is that some women feel nauseous more frequently in the mornings, but the discomfort and symptoms can last throughout the day. These symptoms can hit any time day or night!
Doctors don’t know the exact cause of morning sickness. But it is thought that the hormone changes in pregnancy play a role. During the first trimester, the body is producing higher levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which could cause the body to react with morning sickness symptoms. These hormones can cause a domino effect of indigestion, heartburn, and slowed digestion, which can all contribute to feelings of nausea and vomiting.
What Are The Best Foods To Eat To Help Ease Nausea During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy diet results vary, but there are common themes regarding the best foods for nausea during pregnancy. Here are some of the food choices that seem to help with the reduction of morning sickness symptoms:
- Bland Starches: Foods that are metabolized quickly can be good to eat during pregnancy. Try eating bland ingredients, such as pasta, rice, potatoes, toast, or bread. Saltine crackers tend to be a popular choice, especially first thing in the morning. Try keeping a sleeve of crackers on your nightstand so you can take a few nibbles before getting out of bed.
- High Protein: The amino acids found in protein are essential building blocks for you and your baby. Some women find that high-protein snacks can be helpful to minimize nausea, probably because they stay in the body longer since it takes more time to digest.
- Fluids: Staying hydrated is important, especially if you are vomiting. Dehydration can be a serious consequence of morning sickness. Aim to drink at least 8x 8-ounce glasses of liquid per day. If you can’t handle water, then try carbonated drinks such as ginger ale or soda water. Sugar in soda can be a much-needed pep at times, but don’t go overboard with the sugary drinks. Also, avoid artificial sweeteners, which can be harmful to you and the baby.
- Herbal Tea: Certain herbal properties can be beneficial in managing the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Try lemon, peppermint, chamomile, spearmint, or red raspberry.
- Broth: Another way to get good nutrition through fluid is by drinking broth-based soups. Broth is a great source of minerals, calories, and protection that can restore your energy when you are having a hard time eating.
- Applesauce: Eating applesauce can be gentle on the stomach, while providing you with a good source of carbs and nutrients. Choose unsweetened applesauce from the store. Or, make your own by boiling apple slices and processing them in a high-speed blender.
- Ginger: Traditionally, ginger is an effective ingredient to help with nausea and morning sickness. Find the form of ginger that works best for you. Some women prefer to drink it in a tea or suck on a lozenge, while others find it more beneficial to take ginger capsules.
- Lemons: Some women find that the scent and taste of lemon can be helpful for morning sickness. Try eating lemon slices or adding lemon juice to water. If you can’t stomach them, sometimes sniffing fresh lemons or lemon essential oil can be enough to reduce the nausea.
- Watermelon: If you are fighting dehydration because it is hard to drink water, then watermelon can be a good solution. Try eating your hydration in the form of fruits with high water content, such as watermelon.
- Cold Foods: Do you find that the aroma of cooked food triggers your gag reflex? Stay away from the kitchen when food is being cooked, and stick with cold, raw ingredients instead.
- Hard Candies: Sucking on a mint or fruity candy can be helpful to keep nausea at bay. Hard candies are a great option to use when you are on the go since they can fit in your pocket.
- Flavored Popsicles: A cold, fresh treat can manage your temperature and stave off the waves of nausea at the same time. Choose all-natural or homemade popsicles that use real fruit instead of sugar and food dyes.
Don’t stress if your dietary choices are limited in the first trimester. The baby doesn’t have significant nutritional needs at this point. If you started the pregnancy with a reasonable body weight, then it means that you likely still have the reserve supply of vitamins and minerals needed for your baby. As your appetite returns, then you will be able to consume the foods that are essential when the baby gets bigger.
More Tips If You’re Experiencing Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
Not only do the types of food matter, but the frequency and portion sizes can also play a role in morning sickness. Here are a few more recommendations for help if you are experiencing nausea during pregnancy:
- Avoid an Empty Stomach: It is common for pregnant women to find that it is easier to keep morning sickness at bay by avoiding an empty stomach. Eating small, frequent meals might be better than sticking to the standard breakfast/lunch/dinner eating style. Try keeping crackers on hand, so you have something to munch on when the nausea starts to creep in. These snacks can be essential to help you make it through the hour until you can get more food.
- Fluid Consumption: The timing and amount of fluids can also play a role in your nausea. While it is important to stay hydrated, drinking too much at once could trigger vomiting. Take small sips of fluid throughout the day, and avoid drinking at mealtimes since the water can dilute the stomach acid that is needed for digestion.
- Time of Day: Remember that foods you can eat in the morning might not be the best choice at night. So, pay attention to your patterns during the day.
- Don’t Lay Down: A nap can be a great thing to restore your energy, but you should avoid lying down for at least half an hour after eating and know that breakfast ideas for morning sickness might not be the typical foods you usually eat for breakfast.
- Foods to Avoid: Some women find that there are certain foods that make morning sickness worse. Avoid foods such as caffeine, greasy/fried foods, spicy foods, and ingredients with strong odors.
Each Woman (and Pregnancy) is Unique
What helps nausea during pregnancy? The trick to managing morning sickness is to figure out what works for YOU! Every woman is different, which means that some diets and home remedies might be more or less effective, depending on the person. Women who have had multiple pregnancies also find that their morning sickness changes from one pregnancy to the next.
As a result, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for the management of morning sickness. The key is to pay attention to what triggers your nausea and what seems to help. Identifying the pattern can be an important step in helping you feel better throughout the day.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you about the best foods for nausea during pregnancy. This process will help you in determining a morning sickness diet plan that will be optimal for your needs.
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