Since 80 per cent of pregnant women experience morning sickness, it’s one of the most common downsides of being pregnant. For most women, morning sickness disappears at the end of the first trimester once their hormones calm down. However, for some women, it’ll come back in the third trimester when their hormones start to spike again, and, there’s a lucky few who get to experience morning sickness throughout their entire pregnancy.
Morning sickness is actually a nickname for Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP). It’s frequently called morning sickness because it tends to be worse first thing in the morning when the pregnant woman’s stomach is empty. However, it can, and does, last all day.
If you suffer from morning sickness, you can be prescribed Pyridoxine-doxylamine, which is also known as Diclectin, to help you deal with the symptoms of morning sickness. It can be very helpful for most women. But, if you’re one of the individuals that it doesn’t work for—or if you’d rather not take a medication—here are seven alternative ways for you to deal with your morning sickness.
While it’s commonly thought that morning sickness is caused by changes to a woman’s hormones, in her book Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth & Your Baby’s First Year, Miranda Castro explains that “the emotional state also has a significant bearing on morning sickness: doubt, ambivalence, fear, resentment, disgust and denial can all contribute to or aggravate it.”
This is akin to the idea that people who have stage fright will feel nervous and nauseated before a performance. Some of them will become so worried that they will actually throw up. What this means for morning sickness is that if you’re nervous or upset about your pregnancy, you can make the symptoms worse. When you’re not pregnant, these emotions can literally make you “worried sick,” and the effects will stack with the symptoms of morning sickness.
You can literally worry yourself sick
With this in mind, the first alternative form of treatment is to relax. You can do this by reading a book or going for a walk: whatever you do to relax. It’s also important for you to talk about your concerns with your partner, doctor, midwife, counsellor, or friend. As long as the individual is going to listen to you without judgement, it doesn’t matter who you speak to. Just get all of your concerns out.
Another way to relax is by having a massage. While your partner or friend can do this for you, you can also go to an actual massage therapist. They have these awesome tables with a hole for your belly, so you can lie on your stomach—which might not be super exciting if you’re only in your first trimester, but if you experience morning sickness all the way through, or it comes back in the third trimester, this is kind of a dream come true.
According to the Reflexology Association of Canada “reflexology is a natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands, and ears, which correspond to every part, gland, and organ of the body. By applying specific pressure using thumb, finger and hand techniques, reflexology reduces tension, improves circulation and promotes the natural functioning of the related areas of the body.”
It can be used to treat morning sickness in a couple of different ways. The first ties in with the emotional aspect of morning sickness. According to the Reflexology Research Project, 24 different studies have shown that undergoing a reflexology session calms a person down. So, much like a prenatal massage, or simply chatting with friends about your concerns, reflexology helps treat morning sickness by changing your state of mind from being stressed and worried to being relaxed and calm.
Denise Tiran explains the second way that reflexology can be used to treat morning sickness in her book Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness and Other Pregnancy Problems. Reflexology can also be used to treat morning sickness because one of the reflexes or zones in a person’s foot deals with the digestive tract. This means a reflexologist can focus on that specific zone to help alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness.
Now that you’re pregnant, you’re probably aware that it’s important for you to pay attention to what you eat—you’re a very lucky woman if you escape being told “you can’t eat that!” at least once in your pregnancy. While it’s important for you to choose good foods for your baby’s sake, the foods you eat and when you eat them can also help you deal with your morning sickness.
In the book Yoga for Pregnancy, Rosalind Widdowson recommends that you begin every day with a sip of water to settle your stomach before you get out of bed. Then, once you’re up you can try to eat foods that are high in Vitamin B6, like bananas. Other foods that are good for you to eat are ones that are high in protein: meats, lentils and nuts.
Eating a balanced diet could help with your morning sickness
Baby Centre recommends avoiding foods that are “rich, fried, fatty or highly spiced foods,” because these types of foods can often make you feel worse. You might also want to avoid dairy products and foods that are full of sugar, because they can also aggravate the symptoms of morning sickness.
Finally, you might find it helpful to eat small meals or snacks frequently throughout the day, because this will help prevent your stomach from being empty which can make the nausea worse.
In addition to being picky about what you eat and when you eat it, you might also find it helpful to add different herbs to your meals. If you’d rather not add dried or fresh herbs to your meals, you can also get them as powders, teas, capsules, or tablets.
Some herbs that are helpful for morning sickness, are mint, camomile, lemon balm, hops, slippery elm, and ginger. Of these you might find ginger to be the most helpful, and the best way for you to get the benefits of ginger is by making it into ginger tea.
However, Tiran cautions that if you’re going to uses herbal remedies, you need to be aware that they work in the same way manufactured medicines do. So it’s important for you to use the correct remedy for the symptoms and remember that “’natural’ does not automatically mean ‘safe’,” because there are many herbs you should avoid eating when you are pregnant.
Several different studies have shown that acupuncture and acupressure are effective in treating morning sickness. Acupuncture works off of the belief that people have meridians or energy lines running throughout their bodies. Sometimes, certain points along these lines become blocked, which can cause a variety of ailments, like morning sickness.
To fix the problem, the acupuncturist will insert special needed into the acupoints to unblock your meridian and allow the energy to flow freely again. Acupressure is basically the exact same thing as acupuncture, but it’s friendlier to people who are terrified of needles, because it works by simply applying pressure to the acupoints instead of poking them with needles.
Acupuncture or acupressure might be just the trick for you
If you find getting out of the house difficult, or you don’t want to spend a ton of money on several different sessions, you can purchase a Sea Band and take your acupressure with you. Sea Bands work by applying pressure to the acupoint on your wrists that are associated with nausea and vomiting—these are the same points the therapist would be working on in a session—but you have to make sure the bands are in the correct spot or they won’t work.
“To find the exact point on your inner wrist where you should position the button,” Tiran suggests explains that you need to “use your own fingers to measure three finger-widths up the opposite wrist: this is approximately where the buckle of a watch strap might rest. If you press firmly between the two tendons in the centre area you will feel a bruised sensation: the more nauseous you feel, the more bruised the point will be, and you will know you have found the correct spot.”
If you’re one of those women who are bothered by scents, then this remedy is probably not for you. However, for the rest of you—or if you are bothered by scents, but figure it can’t get any worse now—aromatherapy might help you alleviate your nausea.
According to Tiran, it’s the chemicals inside of the different oils that that have the effect on a woman’s mood and well-being, not the scents themselves. If you get a prenatal massage, you can use the essential oils in the massage oil. Or can also get the benefits of essential oils by using a diffuser or a sachet. The benefit of the sachet is that you can carry it around with you wherever you go, so you’ll always have something to smell when you feel ill.
Some scents that are good for nausea and vomiting are lemon, lime, ginger and camomile. These four oils are safe to use during the first trimester, which is good considering most moms-to-be only experience morning sickness in the first trimester. However, not all oils are safe to use while you are pregnant. So if you intend to use this method, please be careful which oils you use and how you use them.
The final alternative method is of treating morning sickness is homeopathy. According to Tiran, homeopathy “seems to work by triggering the body’s own natural self-healing capacity.” Since it works by using the body’s own healing methods, then it should be safe to use homeopathic remedies when you are pregnant.
While you can try different remedies without seeing a homeopath, it’s important to note that every woman is different. This means different women might be given different remedies to treat morning sickness, because the causes of their nausea and the way it shows up in their lives is different from each other.
So, Tiran suggests that if you decide not to see a homeopath, but just figure out which remedies to use on your own, remember that “most conditions which arise during pregnancy and which you may wish to treat with homeopathy, should be resolved within three days of taking the remedy—if the symptoms have not changed after this time, you may have selected the incorrect remedy and should stop taking it.”
Before using any homeopathic remedy speak to your doctor
But what remedies should you take? According to the British Homeopathic Association, if your morning sickness starts later on in the morning, and you end up throwing up small amounts of food and mucus, then you should take Nux vomica. If, however, morning sickness starts to plague you the instant you get out of bed, then you should try Cocculus indica. The last remedy that the Association suggests is Sepia.
This one works for those whose morning sickness is starts when you smell of food, and when eating food doesn’t make the nauseous feeling go away. All of these remedies should be taken three times a day at a 30c dose. However, “if symptoms are very severe,” then the Association says “you can take any of the above remedies every two hours, at the same strength.”
If, after trying these different methods, you still feel crummy, remember that morning sickness isn’t all bad. An article by Irena Nulman and Gideon Koren discusses the connection between the severity of a woman’s morning sickness and the development of her child’s brain. Just think, while you’re feeling queasy and spending more time in the bathroom than you’d like, your child is getting smarter.
If that’s still not enough to cheer you up, then you should know that morning sickness is also connected with lower rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm birth.