At Integrative Obstetrics, Nausea and Vomiting is one of the most often talked about side effects of pregnancy and we’ve put together a list of our favorite tips and tricks to help you tackle Nausea and Vomiting before it starts.
Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
When people think about nausea and vomitingin pregnancy, they often think of “morning sickness.” This is often mislabeled as nausea that pregnant women feel during the first trimester and only in the mornings. Unfortunately, once pregnant, women know that this is a serious misconception.
As many as 80 percent of women deal with nausea and vomiting in their pregnancy, and it isn’t limited to just the first trimester or just the morning. In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can approach one of the most well-known side effects of growinga human life inside of you.
Preventing Nausea and Vomiting
Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to deal with it at all? If you can prevent this occurrence of nausea, then that’s the way to go. Here are some tips that you may want to consider incorporating into your daily life while pregnant.
- Avoid triggers
Certain trigger foods can cause you to get nauseous or vomit while pregnant. For many women, these include processed and packaged foods as well as greasy, spicy foods and yes, sugary foods. Often, pregnant women may find that they have specific personal triggers as well. For instance, pizza could have been your favorite food pre-pregnancy and now you can’t stand it. Once you know this, you can work to eliminate these items from your home to help reduce nausea.
- Skip saturated fats
Foods that contain high amounts of fat can slow stomach emptying, and in turn, cause nausea. As a result, you’ll want a diet low in high-saturated fats like beef, chicken, pork, and dairy. A single serving of non-fat Greek yogurt may be helpful and is a great source of protein.
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals
Many pregnant women find that eating smaller meals can help satisfy their appetite while stabilizing their blood sugar levels and reducing their nausea. Try changing your current eating pattern from three large meals to six small meals each day.
- Maintain a stable blood sugar throughout the day
Eating frequently will help to keep your blood sugar stable. Just make sure you avoid high sugar snacks!
- Walk at least 30 minutes a day
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t be active! Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day (or better yet force yourself to try exercise if allowed). This will help your body release endorphins that will counteract both fatigue and nausea.
- Snack, snack, snack
This is one of the most recommended tips for nausea during pregnancy. Try dry foods like soda crackers, pretzels, toast, or cereal if you’re experiencing nausea and vomiting. Fruit, vegetables, seeds, popcorn, brown rice, and almonds can also be a good option if you’re feeling up to something more substantial.
- Take your prenatal in the evening with food
Prenatal vitamins can often make people nauseous in the morning if taken right after waking up. Instead, try taking them with a small snack at bedtime or with dinner.
Sometimes nausea is all about throwing everything at it but the kitchen sink until something sticks. Many women with only mild or moderate nausea will fall into three categories. They will feel relief from cool/cold things, warm things or fruity/citrusy things. Women who prefer coolness will respond to spearmint gum, ice, cold/cool showers and mint. A woman who prefers warm items will usually like, tea, cinnamon, ginger warm baths and heating up the body with exercise. And finally, if fruit sounds good to a woman she will like lemon with seltzer, orange, or tangerine. Aromatherapy will work well for each of these groups too.
There are mediations that can be used when nausea and vomiting is interfering with activities of daily living. These medications range from very mild and over the counter like an antihistamine with B6 to more effective and prescription. Unisom, Diclegsis, Replan, and Zofran have all been used to treat moderate to severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Ask your pregnancy provider if one of these medication is right for you.
IV hydration is another great way to get a bit of reprieve from all day long nausea and vomiting. IV hydration can often be done at your doctor or midwife’s office. After 1-2 liters of fluid, women often will free reprieve from nausea and vomiting for 24-48 hours. This can be great for traveling, big events, and even just to get a breather from the nausea and vomiting every once in a while. Often women are able to reset after hydration and it can have lasting effects after 48 hours if steps 1-7 are then followed.
If you’re currently experiencing extreme nausea and or vomiting at all times, be sure to consult your provider. You may be experiencing a condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which is a medically recognized condition that requires intervention.
HG is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. It is thought that HG may be linked to the overproduction of the proteins GDF15 and IGFBP7 (although, research is still being done).
Although nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are typical for around 80 percent of women, be sure to talk to your provider about your symptoms. In some cases, medication may be considered if other prevention methods are not sufficient.