With my son, I was mildly nauseous for about a month in the first trimester. With my daughter, I was sicker, but only threw up once or twice. But with this one? Well, let’s just say the third time was definitely not the charm for this pregnancy.
Now, I am not complaining, because I have a healthy baby and pregnancy, and I know that sickness is to be expected for the majority of women in early pregnancy. I was not uniquely or especially sick. However, I know that I am also not alone in my desire to try to alleviate first trimester sickness as much as possible- so let me share with you my myriad of coping measures that I clung to this pregnancy.
1) Eat nourishing food. Gross, I know. Believe me, I hear you- all I wanted was sugar and perhaps something dry- like a cracker- and then maybe nothing at all with a side of stomach acid to boot. Eating can be really hard when you feel like you have the stomach bug for weeks on end.
However, depriving our bodies and growing babies of the food and nutrients they most need- not surprisingly- doesn’t usually make us feel better. Having well-sourced protein (pastured eggs were a favorite) really helped to settle my stomach- even though I didn’t initially crave it. Sneaking pureed veggies into my soup or having homemade yogurt were ways that I got some nutrition without losing it to the toilet- well, most of the time, anyway. Mommypotamus has some great real-food remedies for morning sickness that you should give a try.
2) Eat smaller, more frequent meals. You’ve heard it a gazillion times, but it’s true. Even when something tastes really good to you, don’t overdo it. A little at a time, more often, will be kinder to your sensitive tummy than full meals three times a day- or than waiting too long in between meals!
3) Make your snacks count. Sometimes you can’t get a meal down, and sometimes you can’t even think about cooking. Look for ways to get in some nourishing snacks- nuts and nut butter, hand-held fruit, cheese and crackers, or raw veggies if you can stomach them. Try real fruit or cultured yogurt-based popsicles to suck on. Making your snacks count will get more nutrition to you and the baby, and at least you know you got something good in you- even if it wasn’t a full, balanced meal.
4) Love your lemon. Squeezing a slice of lemon into my water really helped to calm my tumultuous tummy. Some mamas adore lemon tea or lemonade in their first trimester. Then again, I have a friend who couldn’t stand this idea. Take it or leave it. 🙂
5) Give ginger a try. Candied ginger, ginger tea, ginger in your food- these helped me a good bit my first two pregnancies. By my third, it made me puke. Who knows? See if it works for you!
6) Keep food by your bed. Keep something by your bed to nibble in the middle of the night or when you first wake up in the morning. This will help to regulate your blood sugar and keep your belly from getting too empty- and too sick.
7) Get your rest. Getting a good night’s sleep- and a nap when possible- is a huge relief. Exhaustion exasperates everything, and morning sickness is no exception. I was SO happy to go to bed each night, because it was the only time I didn’t feel nauseous at the beginning of this pregnancy.
8) Try essential oils. I’m not an “EO” nut, but this pregnancy is what made me a believer. I tried a blend called “Digest Zen” to help alleviate morning sickness and heartburn- and it was sometimes the ONLY thing that worked for me. Some women really like peppermint or ginger oils on their own to relieve nausea. (These oils are generally considered safe for pregnancy, but ask your care provider if you have any questions.) Purchase and get more info on oils for morning sickness here.
9) Get a prenatal vitamin that works with your body. I tried several “one-a-day” prenatal varieties, and I would generally vomit them up shortly after taking them. They were hard to swallow and they never sat well for me. My midwife recommended Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite Mini-Tablets (affiliate link), and I haven’t looked back since trying them. They are small, food based multi-vitamins that you take three times a day. They help to keep your B-vitamins in balance, they are non-constipating, and your body absorbs the nutrients better in these than in conventional non-food based vitamins. They also have two unique elements that I don’t usually see in your typical grocery store vitamin: a “gentle prenatal blend,” featuring red raspberry leaf, ginger, and spirulina, and a digestive support blend. I highly recommend these!
10) Get outside. A little outdoor activity and fresh air can be a welcome distraction to all that pukiness. It may seem hard to get yourself up and out, but it can really be a boost to your spirits and your energy level.
11) Try some gentle exercise. Prenatal yoga or pilates, a relaxing walk, some easy stretches, or swimming all felt lovely to me in early pregnancy. I’m not sure what the science is behind it, but I bet that encouraging some leisurely physical activity can help get your body closer to optimal functioning. (Obviously, please don’t overdo it!)
12) Do what you can. We are all only capable of so much. Take it easy, and don’t fret if you have some bad days when all you do is stick your kids in front of the TV while you lay on the couch and eat junk food. While I really believe that it’s always good to do your best with nutrition, exercise, and the like, I also firmly stand by the need for grace for struggling mamas. When your days go downhill, don’t beat yourself up. Just start back on track when you can.
Remember also that certain remedies will work at certain times, and not at others. This is normal. Roll with what works until it doesn’t work any longer, then try something else. This stage of pregnancy is usually only a short time period in the grand scheme of things, and you will one day begin to feel like yourself again.
*Some women with severe morning sickness find it helpful to be on prescription medication for nausea. I haven’t had to go this route yet personally, but I was tempted this last time. If natural remedies aren’t cutting it for you, there is a time and place for intervention. Talk to your doctor to see if this option is right for you.
What helped you to get through the early stages of pregnancy? Share your tips below for other struggling mamas!