Friday, November 5, 2010

Natural cures for morning sickness

Morning Sickness

I seem to have started morning sickness with this little one right around the time of my positive pregnancy test. Unlike with Mikko, when it confined itself to afternoon and evening, this time around it's been all day and all night until just recently. (Which, naturally, makes you wonder why it has that name.)

I've gotten a decided lack of sympathy from people in real life. See, two things happen. First, they ask, "How are you?"

And, being well versed in the art of conversation niceties, I answer, "Fine, thanks, and you?"

And then they round on me with, "Oh, good, no morning sickness then!" leaving me flummoxed and sputtering.

"Well, no," say I. "I actually feel like crap."

"Ah," they say, moving on to the second stage of combat. "Are you throwing up?"

"No-o," I intone, sensing where this is going.

"Oh, you're so lucky!" they say. "I / my friend / my sister / this woman at work used to throw up constantly."

And while I heartily acknowledge that throwing up constantly must suck potatoes, I submit to you that feeling a steady state of motion sickness that leaves you feeling on the verge of throwing up at any moment is not what anyone should ever call "lucky."

Desperate for reassurance that I am not overly whiny, I turned to my Twitter and Facebook friends. Not only did they give me the sympathy I was fishing for, they even handed to me their collective wisdom for combating the curse of the morning sickies.

Which I hereby pass on to everybody, with my notes interspersed:
  • Tabitha D.: "eating small meals around the clock....and sucking on peppermints." Also: "I had nausea/loss of appetite late in my last pregnancy, too, and didn't really want to CHEW anything....so I lived on smoothies and those meal replacement shakes!! I even drank them in the middle of the night so I didn't wake up ravenous. For some reason yogurt often soothed my stomach, even ice cream! But I say, whatever is appealing, have it!!" I definitely am having some strange cravings, but I just go with them. For instance, ahem, Spaghetti-Os and Ramen (I think because they're bland), also mashed potatoes, salad, and celery with peanut butter. I've been going through phases, but I honor the requests my tender tummy makes, because I figure maybe it knows better than I do. I hereby agree with the peppermints idea; it seems to make my stomach forget that it's sad.

  • Michelle A.: For nighttime only sickness, "the ONLY thing that worked for me was Unisom pills." I'm glad this worked, but obviously it's not a solution for daytime sickness, sigh.

  • Natasha B.: "Ginger, ginger, and more ginger. Also, hard candy helps for some reason. Sprite or soda water with fruit juice might help." I really wish I liked ginger. The taste makes me feel sick, which is counterproductive, but I know it's supposed to help. I do agree that drinking something sparkly feels better than something flat, which is why I think I was getting dehydrated early on — I couldn't stand to drink my water. You know I hate water, anyway, but it was even worse than usual, because it was hitting my queasy stomach all wrong. I've experimented, and I've determined that room temperature water is more tolerable than ice cold (go figure).

  • Jamie F.: "sipping spicy ginger ale...you know, the kind with lots of real ginger." Same as above.

  • Cassie M.: "I … take vitamin b 6 tabs cut in half three times a day. Also a Dramamine. I hate taking the Dramamine but it's either that or not eat. I still feel queasy but the b6 helps a lot." I'm going to have to try B6. I grew up on Dramamine for car trips and know it puts me out like a light.

  • Molly D.: "I liked lemon drops because I craved sour things when pregnant." I agree with this one, too. It's funny how certain things taste better now.

  • Sinead H.: "Sleep, sleep and even more sleep... oh yes and a full fry (actually a grill!) every morning with my last pregnancy! Although I felt ill just looking at the food, I wasn't nearly so sick as with my previous pregnancies. I think just keeping my blood sugar levels up and rest really made a huge difference." Love these ideas! I do feel better if I can sleep, or even just lie down.

  • Molly A.: "I'll be on zofran, unisom, b6, plus continuous fluids, and probably several other things. But thats because I get hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy. I hear good things about the PrimaBella wristband but I've not tried it." Ok, see, people with HG do make me feel whiny, because how horrible.

  • Toya L.: "wait for about 12-13 weeks until its over & pray that you can relax and lie in bed all day like I did." That one gave me an envious laugh! If only I didn't have a three-year-old to run after, hey?

  • Jenny H.: "My midwife told me last time to eat protein regularly, and it really did help. Of course, for that to work you have to be able to actually choke it down. I ate Luna Bars and had the occasional protein shake. I also have PsiBands (like Sea Bands but waterproof and adjustable) and I think they worked pretty well." I should get some sort of seasickness bands, for now and for my actual motion sickness. Even when I was a baby, I used to puke on car and plane trips.

  • Donna B.: "Totally agree about protein! Roasted, salted peanuts are my best friend!" I was watching a TLC show about women who didn't know they were pregnant (that show cracks me up), and one of the ladies talked about how she craved peanuts. I thought that sounded SO good, I actually called Sam up and made him pick me up some on his way home. And I lurve them. I eat a handful whenever I feel yucky. The salt is a quick pick-me-up, and the protein a longer term one.

  • Jorje A.: "Crackers and/or almonds. I was able to nibble on almond slivers. Definitely the eating all the time helped me. If it is really bad, there is a compound that they can make for you to put on your wrists to combat nausea. It only takes half the recommended dose, though... Promethazine. In the oral form, it knocked me on my butt, but the topical form is great!" I imagine almonds and peanuts are similar in terms of yummy snacky protein. Interesting topical idea!

  • Krista O.: "Ginger and deep breathing...... and rest." Simple and effective. I've also been trying my Hypnobabies "Eliminate Nausea NOW!" training. (Don't you love the emphatic title?) It's deep relaxation and a way to focus elsewhere. I can't do it all day, but it's been helpful if I'm lying in bed unable to sleep because I'm feeling pukey.

  • Gwendilyn F.: "I have heard that sour patch kids work... I haven't tried them but if yesterday is like today I will." I had the chance to, and I have to say: They do work. And in the interests of science, I tested several other sour candies, and I have to say they all work. Even if I don't feel like food, I can choke down some mindless junk. Score!

  • Kristin H.: "Here's what I did in order of severity & desperation: constant nibbling (protein & carbs), including snacks at night, ginger tea or sour candies, Seabands (worked well for awhile), Unisom/b6, and then Zofran. For me, Zofran, which was approved/prescribed by both my midwives and perinatologists, saved me and was SO worth it. Of course, keeping up with sleep and staying horizontal as much as possible helped a lot too, but it was not always possible with a toddler!" Kristin was pregnant with twins, so I imagine she had a double whammy of morning sickness!

  • Tara P.: "From My Page-a-Day Calendar: Ginger Root Herb Tea: It's good for digestion, nausea, and morning sickness. Cut off a slice of fresh root; pour boiling water over it and steep ten minutes. Sweeten with sugar or honey." Good basic recipe for making your own tea! If you like ginger, that is.

  • @aphie: "Took to carrying peppermints round at all times - natural nausea-killer." See, I need more peppermints.

  • @KellyNaturally: "Have you tried sea bands? They worked for brief periods (I had to take breaks) for me. Also, barely ripe mango, sliced." The mango also sounds intriguing.

  • @BirthBabiesBlog: "I swear by @EMAB_HQ Happy Mama body spray... it has gotten me through my 1st trimester." Aromatherapy sounds heavenly!

  • @anktangle: "I liked the preggie pop drops and snacking on almonds. Mostly I just waited it out though. Pregnancy nausea is the worst!" I tried a variety pack of preggie pops but didn't like the flavors I tried. I sucked constantly on Jolly Ranchers last pregnancy, and now they make me feel sick just to look at them! The same thing has happened to me, sadly, with pupusas: I ate a couple when I felt really ill, and now I gag at the thought. Sigh.

  • @hildog: "mine was simple.. not go have any :)" Now why didn't I think of that?!
Thank you, everyone!

And if you're in the middle of waves of first-trimester (or later) nausea, here's an uplifting article that might make you feel better, at least emotionally speaking: "Morning sickness may signal healthier pregnancy," which backs up anecdotal wisdom that morning sickness — and how long it lasts — can mean you have a decreased risk of miscarriage. See also "Morning sickness protects both unborn and mothers-to-be," where the researchers suggest changing to name from morning sickness to "wellness insurance." Well, yeah. I don't think I'll go that far. It has an interesting take on why mothers might have morning sickness, which is to keep us from eating foods that might be contaminated.

If you don't have morning sickness, just enjoy it and don't worry, though! And if you do, I hope some of these tips from the community help you through.

If you have really bad morning sickness, it could be hyperemesis gravidarum, as Molly had. She recommends finding resources at HelpHER.org. HG is when you experience weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration because of your inability to keep food and liquids down, and it needs to be treated medically to prevent harm to yourself or your baby. Sometimes health professionals write off women's complaints of severe morning sickness or won't offer medications, so if the nausea and vomiting are really bothering you, be persistent so you can get the help you need. Here's a page to help you determine if you have HG, and here are frequently asked questions about HG that will help you as you discuss your symptoms with your health professional and family. Even if your morning sickness doesn't veer into HG territory, if it's bad enough that you're finding it difficult to eat and drink and live your life, you might still consider some medication and professional help managing your symptoms. Take it from me: You're allowed to complain if you're miserable.

Who else has tips and tricks to fight the dreaded morning sickness?

Photo courtesy Rich Childs on flickr (cc)

26 comments:

cypress sun said...

oh girl...i feel for you. i was there for almost the entire pregnancy with my one and only. i'm sure it was hg...but my sure will power helped me to down water and spoonfulls of peanut butter, even if i had to lie on the floor, hold onto the oven drawer and watch the ceiling spin afterwards! (i can't believe that was my life now....) hopefully...it will let up for you.

mine was also worse in the afternoons/evenings.

i tried everything that you have mentioned here, but i really wish i'd tried acupuncture. friends tell me it saved them.

otherwise...i was really ready to smash that box of (recommended) saltines over the 100th persons' head....

ok. off the rant. the little things that helped: sleeping as much as possible, lemon ice water, walking a lot, having the husband cook a lot of meals outside (i couldn't stand the smell of boiling water!), and spry peppermint gum.

i also could not stand the smell of a computer...so i hope you are on your way to feeling better!

Natalie said...

With my 1st, I lost ten pounds and my midwife recommended I take Unisom. I took it every night and instantly felt like a new person. I felt it started to wear off in the evenings but it gave me immense relief. I also heavily relied on mint tea, peppermints, bland foods, distracting myself, and avoiding any objectionable scents that I could. I also slathered mint scented lotion on my wrists so I could sniff them if I was out somewhere and needed to block a scent that bothered me.

With #2, only minor nausea. No weight loss at all, only threw up once or twice. My main struggle was eating enough protein, loved keeping nuts and granola bars stashed around for quick snacks.

Now #3... I'm in the middle of it. I'm determined to avoid Unisom again if I can (just because I prefer not to take any meds during pregnancy, I do believe that as meds go Unisom is safe but it was my goal to skip that this time), so I'm getting by on Bolthouse Farms Perfectly Protein smoothies (amazing!), tea, and scented candles. I've lost 5 lbs but have stabilized and am not loosing anymore, so yay! Also, I'm 15 weeks so I'm hoping only a few more weeks until I am over the nausea...

Momma Jorje said...

I could not stand the smell of ground beef or the idea of touching / cooking it. Strangely, this rule did not apply to Taco Bell!

I drink water, almost exclusively. Yet while I had "morning" sickness, I couldn't stomach it. So my mother got me lots of "Life Water" and other flavored healthy drinks. I was able to get them down just fine. Then once I hit my second trimester, I couldn't stand those anymore and was back to regular water.

And I totally agree, often times I was certain I would feel better if I could just vomit and be done with it!

Momma Jorje said...

Vitamin Water was the other one I drank a lot!

Sybil said...

Acupuncture!!!!! I had 24/7 queasiness and it was 90% cured after one acupuncture session. For real. Not even trying to sell you anything ;)

The Awesome 4 said...

I feel for you. Literally. Almost 14 weeks with bub #5 and still nausea lingers, not as bad as wk6-10 but still blegh. I don't throw up either but the constant nauseated feeling is no fun.
I found having protein in the morning helps eg. almonds, milk. I eat whatever I can as I still feel limited in what sounds appetising.

~semi-crunchy mama~ said...

The sour candies worked for me this last time. I was especially find of the sour tangerine Altoids.

And I must agree with you that feeling like you're going to vomit any second all day and night can hardly be considered lucky. In fact, I'd venture to say it was even a little worse than my previous pregnancy where I did throw up here and there.

Cassie said...

I had the "all day" sickness too. Never threw up, just nauseous all day. It is like that horrid feeling you get right before you throw up. But instead of feeling relief from throwing up you just keep feeling sick.

Hugs. Tim tams worked for me.

Cassie said...

I meant to say the non drowsy Dramamine called meclazine(sp?). That what I took, the regular stuff made me sooo drowsy. Thankfully I'm able to just take the b6 now and I feel a lot better because I'm almost oficially out of the first trimester!! Hope you feel better soon.

Ashley said...

7up, actually; I was working at a gas station at 6AM during my first trimester (nightmare!) and I used to nibble on saltines and sniff my 7up. And drink it, but sniffing was sometimes much more comforting.

I had a nurse tell me that I was nauseous either because I had not eaten enough, or had eaten to much -- in this case, she said, I needed to eat more often. So I can see the merit in small meals throughout the day.

St. Louis Smart Mama said...

I had horrible morning sickness with both of mine. And I don't care what people say, nothing really helped. Except getting to about 4-5 months and magically feeling better and wanting to eat everything in sight :)

Inder-ific said...

Half Santa Cruz Naturals lemonade, half sparkling mineral water. I drank this CONSTANTLY. I also learned that while I love Thai food, my baby did NOT, so I had to avoid coconut curry and pad se ew for nine whole months (sad!). Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

I've heard that a very very small bit of umeboshi plum does the trick. Also, and don't get all up in arms about it, but some medical marijuana does wonders. I'd prefer that to a prescription med any day.

KitsuTails said...

LoL Looks like my suggestion has been listed!! Sour Patch Kids!!! They DO work!!

When I was unable to eat anything due to feeling crappy, I also found the fall back of Rice mixed in Cream of Chicken was the only thing that stayed down.

Earthenwitch said...

Hello there! De-lurking to say that the thing which helped me (and I, like you, had lots of 'lucky' comments because I only felt sick all the time, as opposed to vomiting copiously) was drinking sparkling water all the time. Something about its carbonated nature seemed to work where even ordinary water made me feel sick as a dog. Best of luck!

Thomasin said...

No new ideas, just more agreement about ginger (which doesn't help if you don't like it, obvs) and small meals throughout the day. While pregnant with my daughter I was very rarely ill-feeling, but when it crept up on me I'd snack on a Luna bar and feel better instantly. I was one of the bona fide lucky ones, I suppose. I hope your stomach calms down soon!

Mama Whimsy said...

Ugh. I am so sorry! I had terrible all day sickness with both of my girls. I never did find anything that worked besides hitting the 24 week mark. Both times, when 24 weeks rolled around, all the nausea and vomiting went away.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Sounds like you've gotten some really good advice. I agree with several comments. I had night nausea with no vomiting rather than morning sickness. No one understood except my hubby, and I got others scary vomit stories too. Here's a list of things I ate/did. I think most people have themes- mine were sour and carbs. I ate a snack every night at around 1am so I wasnt ravenous in the morning. And I took an OTC prenatal at lunch. Hope it gets better!
Lemon drops, pickled Ginger, rice pudding, cold applesauce, grapefruit slices, mashed potatoes, lots of cold ice water with lemon, strawberry Ensure shakes (cause meat was a def protein no go), dry Cheerios, oyster crackers, mint tea with agave nectar

cartside said...

Oh it's rotten isn't it? I was the same with both, constant at edge of vomiting feeling, but never actually threw up - so all around me were these women who did all the time and I felt I couldn't even have a wee moan.

In the pregnancy I miscarried I didn't feel so sick. It came in waves and faded at 8 weeks. So definitely a sign that morning (err, all day) sickness is a good sign, even if it sucks. And feeling rotten in my 3rd pregnancy did reassure me that all was well, and so it was.

Mama Mo said...

Oh, I feel ya, momma! I had all day sickness with my twins, and it was horrible. I did not feel "lucky" because I wasn't actually loosing my lunch. I just felt like I might all.day.long.

One trick that worked for me to help (not a cure) the severity of the nausea was to cut my prenatal vitamin in half and take the halves at different times of day. Ask your midwife/OB/healthcare provider to make sure it's ok, but spacing out the iron in the supplement made for a happier me!

Good luck, hang in there, and know it will get better just in time for swollen feet and tighter waistbands!

Olivia said...

I only has minor nasea for a few weeks in the morning. I figured out as long as I ate as soon as I woke up, it was better.

Minor quibble, but I don't like the "morning sickness as sign of healthy pregnancy" thing. I think it's great to tell women that having morning sickness does not mean an unhealthy pregnancy, but to say that not having morning sickness is a sign that things may be bad is a troubling thing to hear.

Shana said...

Oh dear, it really is just the pits isn't it? Things that helped me were saltines, saltines, and more saltines. Seriously, I had to put something in my stomach at every half hour, typically carbs. Also hard candies were a life saver as well as orange juice. Something about the effect on my blood sugar was imensely helpful. Zofran didn't do anything for me, but Phenergen did help. It totally knocked me out though, so I could really only take it at night before going to bed - then I could wake up in the morning and not feel like I was about to die.
:-f

Issa said...

Small, regular meals and upping the protein were what did it for me. I'm just now at 13 weeks, and the nausea seems to have passed. Whew! :-)

Lisa C said...

I'm bookmarking this post. Hubby's been talking about me getting pregnant again, and I realized I'm more ready to have another baby than I am to get pregnant again. I had nausea my WHOLE pregnancy, except the first few weeks. I had phenergan which prevented me from vomiting constantly but also made me extremely tired and my tummy still felt queasy. Later I switched the the Unisom and B6, which allowed me more energy.

I needed frequent meals. Instant oatmeal helped, and cinnamon gum and candy. I think I had sour candies, too. Soda water with lemon. I had a lot of pretzels but I think they made me constipated. I just read in Mothering magazine that regular protein consumption helps, so I'm trying that next time. Next time I'm also going to try to use a lot of ginger in my cooking (if I can manage cooking for myself!). I'm also considering hypnosis. Haven't heard of anyone doing that, but there's gotta be a hypnotherapist who does it.

pallasathena2007 said...

Sorry for the double-comment, but I re-read your post and noticed where you mentioned that Unisom can't help in the daytime. If you would like to try it for the daytime, you can cut the pill into quarters and divide it up. 1/4 of a tab throughout the day, then 1/2 before bed or a few hours before your really rough time. Hope this helps.

pallasathena2007 said...

Molly A. here. I'm so, so sorry that I made you feel bad when I commented about HG. That was definitely not my intent. HG or not, nausea stinks bigtime. I really hope you find relief.

Thanks so much for mentioning the HelpHer website. So many women get told they're crazy by their doctors and have to suffer without medical care. I really appreciate you helping to spread the information.

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