What Can I Eat to Combat Morning Sickness?
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More than half of all women experience nausea during pregnancy
Chances are, you will experience morning sickness at some point during your pregnancy. Unfortunately, morning sickness is not confined only to those morning hours; it can occur any time throughout the day. Eating nutrient-dense foods is important for a healthy pregnancy, but that can be difficult when coping with nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness is a vicious cycle: eating makes you nauseous, but not eating also makes you nauseous. And let’s not forget the bouts of acid-reflux after eating certain foods or the aversions to your pre-pregnancy favorite meals. I wish I could provide a one-size-fits-all solution to eliminate morning sickness, but unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. I can, however, share some nutritional tips to help you find some things that might ease your symptoms.
Two of the most common suggestions
Avoid an empty stomach
Eating several small meals throughout the day is a common suggestion, which isn’t always easy if the thought of eating isn’t appealing to you. Being in tune with your body is crucial to identifying what triggers nausea and vomiting. Try eating something small first thing in the morning, even if you’re not hungry — a small snack bar, a few crackers (I stashed sleeves of saltines in my desk), or a piece of toast with an avocado spread. It’s important to keep food in your belly, because nausea is more likely to occur when your brain figures out that your stomach is empty. Staying hydrated is important as well, especially if you experience vomiting, in which case, you should increase your fluid intake. While choosing nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables is ideal, go ahead and feed your cravings if it means easing your symptoms. The ultimate goal is to make sure you and your baby are well-nourished.
Easy snack ideas which may ease your nausea:
- Crackers and cheese
- Pita bread and hummus
- Pretzels and almond butter
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Fruits/vegetables such as apples, pineapples, melons, radishes, cucumbers, celery
- Ginger, rooibos or peppermint teas
- Snack bars, such as Bearded Brothers, Thunderbird, Oatmega, or Epic
- Sipping on smoothies, bone broth, lemon, watermelon or coconut water
Add some ginger to your diet
Ginger can be effective because of its digestive properties. It promotes saliva secretion, which benefits digestion, and it relaxes the stomach muscles, which reduces nausea. There are many convenient ways to consume it, so you don’t have to chew on fresh ginger (unless that’s your thing). Steeping it in tea is an easy and common way add a little to your diet. Or, simply add a teaspoon of ground or fresh ginger while preparing your smoothies, soups, or vegetables. Occasionally, a sweet treat like candied ginger, ginger brew, or my favorite gingerbread cookie dough bites can satisfy your sweet tooth as well as combat morning sickness, but make sure you keep your sugar intake low. Of course there are over-the-counter ginger supplements, but always talk to your healthcare practitioner before taking them.
Maybe food isn’t the answer for you
Outside of what you’re eating, there are some other activities that may ease symptoms:
- Motion sickness bands
- Deep breathing
- Fresh air
- Taking a walk
- Wearing comfortable clothes (go ahead and switch to elastic-banded pants!)
Luckily, for most, morning sickness declines as your pregnancy progresses, so hang in there. If you have concerns about your symptoms, or plan to take an over-the-counter remedy, please speak to your healthcare practitioner.
Misti Buie is a mom and holistic nutritionist specializing in pre- and post-natal nutrition consulting. She is passionate about helping others revitalize their health and wellness by reshaping their eating habits. Her services include meal planning, pantry/refrigerator makeovers and cooking with families. For more information, visit:
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