Where possible, it is preferable for women who are pregnant to avoid taking medications, which may have the potential to cause harm to the mother and baby. However, the symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can be distressing and many women seek out suitable natural options to manage morning sickness.
Food choices are very important in reducing the symptoms of morning sickness, as the nausea is often related to certain odors that come with some foods. The exact trigger varies for each woman, so affected women should be encouraged to identify offenders and avoid eating them or being in areas that have this smell.
In general, the diet for women wishing to reduce morning sickness should include high carbohydrate and protein content, with lower levels of fat. Foods that are very greasy, spicy, or sweet should usually be avoided.
It is helpful to eat smaller meals more frequently. This helps to avoid an empty stomach, which may worsen symptoms of morning sickness.
Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water is also important. It is better to take small sips regularly than having a big drink all at once.
Many women find that the symptoms are worst in the morning when they first get out of bed. In this case, eating some dry toast or a plain biscuit before getting up can also be useful.
For all pregnant women, but particularly those affected by morning sickness, it is important to get enough rest and allow the body to cope with the physical changes that occur throughout pregnancy. This is important because fatigue can contribute to worsening symptoms of morning sickness.
For women who have severe symptoms in the morning, allowing time to get up out of bed more slowly can be beneficial. As mentioned previously, eating something plain (e.g. dry toast or a biscuit) before getting up can help.
Cooking and preparing food can also lead to worsening of symptoms for many pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness. In this case, reducing time in the kitchen and arranging for someone else to prepare the meals can be helpful.
Fresh air can also help reduce nausea. Taking a walk outside to get some fresh air can help or opening the windows at home or work may also be beneficial. Following on from this, women should be advised to avoid smoking and areas where other people are smoking.
Wearing loose clothing that does not restrict the abdominal region is also helpful in the prevention of symptoms.
Ginger reportedly has a significant effect on reducing nausea and vomiting associated with morning supplements. Affected women may benefit from taking a ginger supplement for this reason. Alternatively, sipping on ginger ale in alternation with water to keep fluid up may be helpful.
Alternative therapies such as acupressure may also help to reduce morning sickness symptoms. For example, acupressure involves the use of a special band worn on the forearm. This is thought to put pressure on certain parts of the body, which triggers the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that, in turn, reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
Reviewed by Susha Cheriyedath, MSc