When you find out you’re pregnant, you expect to deal with some uncomfortable (and strange) body issues—bloating, ligament pain, sore breasts—but you cross your fingers and hope you’ll avoid the most dreaded symptom of pregnancy…morning sickness.
If you’re already experiencing it, you might already be in-the-know…but all moms-to-be should be aware that “morning sickness” is a bit of a misnomer—because for some ladies the nausea (and potential vomiting) can happen all. day. long. Whether you truly only feel ill in the morning or are dealing with a more intense all-day version—here’s the down low on why morning sickness happens, and what you can do to ease your nausea.
Why Does Morning Sickness Happen?
Those big changes in hormone levels during pregnancy are the culprit—and about 75% of all pregnant women experience it! For some, it’s simply feeling constantly queasy or nauseous—for others it can involve throwing up and having trouble keeping food or liquids down.
For most pregnant women, this condition starts somewhere around week 6 of pregnancy and begins to ease up in the second trimester (between weeks 12-14 or so). So while it can be a really miserable thing to deal with—there's usually an end in sight!
How Can I Ease My Morning Sickness?
We’re going to be honest here—there’s no surefire approach to kick your morning sickness to the curb. It’s really a matter of trial and error, and what works best for you! Here are some things other mamas have found helpful:
- Eat a small snack before you even get out of bed: Crackers, dry cereal or something small and light might help to calm your stomach as you ease into the day.
- Don’t let your stomach get empty: Small meals or snacks throughout the day (rather than three big meals) can help you with that empty, nauseous feeling.
- Eat bland foods: Put down the hot sauce, mama. You’ll want to focus on foods that don’t irritate your stomach and are easy to digest (avoid lots of spice and acid)—and for the ladies that also suffer from heartburn during pregnancy, this one’s a lifesaver.
- Focus on fluids: Sip on water, weak herbal tea or ginger ale throughout the day to calm your stomach, and keep your body hydrated.
- On the topic of ginger: Ginger is an herbal remedy that is safe for your baby and can help your upset stomach—ginger chews, ginger teas and even ginger capsules might help calm your nausea.
- Eat what sounds good: While it’s all well and good to try and eat a highly nutritious, perfectly balanced diet for the sake of your baby—some days it’s just not even close to a reality. Eating foods that your body is craving (and can keep down!) is totally fine until you’re feeling better!
- Talk with your provider: Some providers may recommend a combination of vitamins and/or over-the-counter medication to combat symptoms. Ask your provider which options are best for you.
And mama—we know it can be pretty miserable when you’re on the verge of vomiting all the time. Do what you can to keep hydrated, and to keep food down to help that little baby grow. In the most severe cases, women who can’t gain weight and are severely dehydrated may require hospitalization (a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum). If you suspect you have this condition, or are having trouble keeping food and drink down on a regular basis, get in touch with your provider as soon as possible about options for relief.