Feel better fast
You may be joyfully embracing the notion that a new life is growing inside you, but your body seems to be doing anything but. Considering how queasy you’re feeling, you have a perfect right to mutter a few unprintable words and snap at your significant other now and then. But you also have a right to some relief. When your stomach feels like it’s riding the seven seas, try these strategies to calm, soothe, and settle. But first, check with your doctor before ingesting any home remedy while you’re pregnant.
Try herbal tea
• Nothing beats morning sickness like a cup of ginger tea. The same spicy herb is used to counter motion sickness. To make ginger tea, boil 30 grams dried root (available in health-food stores) in 1 cup water for 15 to 20 minutes, strain, and sip.
• Herbal teas made with lemon balm, and peppermint are also known to reduce nausea. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of hot water. Avoid peppermint tea if you have heartburn, however.
• Brew yourself a cup of red raspberry-leaf tea. The herb is popular for a number of pregnancy problems, including morning sickness, and has been shown to relax the smooth muscles of the uterus. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of hot water. But with this remedy in particular, check with your doctor before taking it. There is some evidence that raspberry leaf can cause uterine contractions, so your doctor might advise against taking it later in the pregnancy or if you’re at increased risk for miscarriage.
And if you’re worried about drinking other herbal teas during pregnancy, don’t be. Tara Anchel, a registered naturopathic doctor based in Ottawa and member of the Naturopathic Doctor’s Association of Canada, says peppermint, lemon-balm and ginger tea are safe to drink while pregnant and she recommends them to her patients to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness. She explains it this way:
“The essential oil of some of these herbs is contraindicated during pregnancy, but there is a very low concentration of these oils in tea. The concentration is so low that it is safe. When you soak an herb in hot water, you’re only extracting the water-soluble components of the plant. As well, essential oils evaporate very quickly. When you have a steaming cup of tea, the first thing to evaporate is the essential oil.” These two facts combined mean that it’s safe for naturopathic doctors to recommend these herbal teas to pregnant women. As with anything you plan to eat or drink during pregnancy, it’s best to check with your own healthcare provider to determine what’s best for you and your baby.
Spices that soothe
• Drink flat, room-temperature ginger ale to settle your stomach. Although no one knows why (there’s not enough ginger in commercial ginger ale to have an effect), it works for many nauseated moms-to-be. Don’t drink ginger ale with fizz, though. The bubbles promote the production of more stomach acid-just what you don’t need.
• Chew on anise or fennel seeds, which are known to soothe upset stomachs.
Boost your B intake
• In studies, women who took 25 milligrams of vitamin B6 three times a day (a total of 75 milligrams per day) for three days reduced nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy. As with other vitamins, if you’re pregnant, don’t take B6 without your doctor’s consent.
• Water is the best medicine! Amazing as it seems, women who drink a glass of water every hour have a lot less morning sickness. Also, drink a glass of water every time you get up in the night to go to the bathroom. This helps ensure you start your day feeling as good as you can. Peek at the toilet water before you flush. If you are drinking enough water, urine should be almost clear. If it’s dark, sinks to the bottom, or has an extra-strong smell, you need to drink more.
• If nothing wants to stay down, treat yourself to a frozen-fruit bar. It helps replace sugars lost through vomiting. And since a fruit bar is made with frozen water, it also helps keep you hydrated.
Refresh with citrus
• Sniff a slice of lemon. Some pregnant women report that, for unknown reasons, it helps with morning sickness.
• You might also try drinking water with lemon or another lemon-based drink.
• Grate a bit of grapefruit, orange, or tangerine rind and add it to your tea.
Don’t get hungry
• In the morning, you might be able to prevent nausea by putting something in your stomach before you even get out of bed. Keep some crackers by your bed and have a few as soon as you wake up.
• Eat a number of small meals throughout the day. Small amounts of food are much easier to tolerate than a large meal. In fact, you might want to have a snack every hour or two, keeping the servings small. Peanut butter on apple slices, a few nuts, or a slice or two of cheese are all good choices.
• Take your prenatal vitamins with food to help them stay down. Even a saltine cracker or wheat thin can help.
• Avoid fried, fatty foods, which tend to cause and intensify the nausea. It’s not known why-perhaps because fatty foods are digested more slowly.
Avoid your triggers
• If you’re extremely sensitive to odors during this time, try to stay in well-ventilated rooms that don’t accumulate cooking odours or cigarette smoke.
• It’s okay to ask your partner to brush his teeth more often to help you avoid nausea due to bad breath! This sensitivity usually passes by the twelfth to fourteenth week…so you’re not going to be finicky forever.