Whether you are pregnant for the first time or are trucking your way through your second, third, fourth pregnancy, odds are that you are familiar with morning sickness.
While some expecting moms are fortunate to never experience this nasty, exhausting, and difficult phase of pregnancy, many of us do! And let me tell you, it ain’t no walk in the park.
And it CERTAINLY is not limited to just the morning. I’m telling you, whoever coined it “morning sickness” was an idiot.
Dealing with Morning Sickness
I had to have Googled some variation of how long does morning sickness last or when does morning sickness end every other day.
Well, the unfortunate truth is that everybody and every body is different, so there is no real indication as to when you will stop experiencing it. Many say that most women stop having morning sickness after the first trimester, but any Baby Center style forum will reveal loads of women who had it for more than one trimester, and even most of their pregnancy. Yikes.
I had it, and I had it bad.
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What does morning sickness feel like? Well, it feels like getting hit with an 18-wheeler at full-speed. Some may call me dramatic, but ladies, OUCH. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms include nausea and vomiting – obviously. The hard part is that these ailments can be triggered by just about anything – certain odors, food (even ones that you once loved), excess saliva, heat, acid reflux, etc. Or, they can just rear their ugly heads on their own.
Personally, I experienced unexplained nausea and vomiting, as well as triggered. I’m talking puking multiple times a day, and dry heaving when there was nothing left. TMI, but hey, isn’t that what pregnancy is sometimes?
I strongly believe that I was as sick as I was because of my IVF treatment. The combination of daily progesterone in oil injections and oral estradiol pills as well as the estrogen my body was naturally creating put me over the edge. I only came to this conclusion because once I got the OK to stop my treatment, I started to feel a little better…
…just a little.
My first sign of relief happened shortly after I finished stimming at about 8 weeks. I went from being violently ill multiple times a day, to maybe once a day. Then, around 11-12 weeks, I went from daily to just a few times a week. By the time I was 16 weeks pregnant, my morning sickness was history. Hallelujah.
Morning Sickness Remedies
Much as we hate it, morning sickness is one of those early signs of pregnancy that reminds those of us who had a hard time conceiving that we are in fact, pregnant. We go through bouts of symptom spotting, trying to figure out what’s a real sign of pregnancy, and what’s just our mind playing tricks on us. Regular morning sickness is one of those signs you just can’t deny.
Early Signs of Pregnancy
It may be hard to believe, and I can’t believe I – of all people – am actually saying this, but morning sickness doesn’t have to be the worst experience of your life. There are all sorts of tricks that I learned along the way that I wish I knew from the start, because then maybe my experience wouldn’t have been so rough.
So, what helps with morning sickness? Read on to learn some of my favorite ways to alleviate the pain.
1. Ginger Candies
Ginger has long been known to be a highly effective tool in preventing nausea and vomiting in general, so it only makes sense that it would be helpful during pregnancy.
I lived off of ginger Tummy Drops for weeks. They were the only thing that could distract me from the nagging combination of hunger and nausea. You know the feeling – when you’re so hungry because you’ve thrown everything up but need something in your mouth, and yet you’re so nauseous that you can’t fathom actually eating anything else.
Pop one of these bad and not only will that hunger (temporarily) subside, but the ginger will help reel in your nausea.
I’ve also heard great things about Preggie Pops but never tried them because the Tummy Drops provided the relief I needed.
2. Stay Hydrated… Always
Drinking water can be hard for many people during pregnancy, especially during that first trimester when this harmless beverage is wreaking havoc on your stomach. While your problem may very well be that you can’t keep water down – you must!
Dehydration is one of the worst things to experience during your pregnancy. Not only is it really bad for you and your mini-me, but it will only exacerbate your nausea.
If you can’t consume straight-up water, try:
- Seltzer – the bubbles may help settle your stomach
- Adding fruit or fresh lemon juice
- Drinking caffeine-free tea, hot or iced (ginger tea to hit two tips in one)
- Using a straw (sometimes it’s just a mind game!)
3. Time Your Vitamins
By now you should be taking a daily prenatal vitamin. However, some of my vitamins (including prenatals) can trigger queasiness. For a time, I was taking fish oil until the icky burps got so bad that they were adding to my sickness.
To prevent worsening your nausea from something you have no choice but to take every day, take your prenatal and any other vitamins right before you go to bed. This way, you can sleep through any yuckiness coming your way.
4. Eat Small and Regularly
Overeating can make you sick, whether or not you are pregnant.
Instead of your typical three meals a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, try eating sick smaller meals spaced out every couple of hours. This will give you more time to digest, help maintain your blood sugar, and alleviate any nausea.
Also, it will help you identify which, if any, foods are causing your upset.
5. Try Taking Vitamin B6, Magnesium, or Unisom
When I was at the height of my morning sickness, I had already incorporated Vitamin B6 as recommended by one of my Pregnancy groups. I thought it was starting to help but it was hard to tell because I hadn’t been taking it long enough before asking for help.
My nurse recommended trying Magnesium or Unisom. I was so desperate that I got on Magnesium that same day and I can’t begin to articulate how much it helped! Moving forward, whenever I felt even a hint of queasiness, I’d pop a Magnesium and would feel so, so much better.
6. Always Have A Snack Available
Did you know that hunger can make your nausea even worse? What used to be simple hunger pains now raise the question of, am I about to be sick?
Now that you are eating small and frequently rather than three big meals a day, it’s crucial to always have a snack on you. Plus, the further along you get in your pregnancy, the more often you will feel hungry.
I liked to keep a protein bar or peanut butter crackers in my purse for those times when I knew it would be a while before I would be able to have a substantial meal again.
7. Eat Something Small Before Getting Out of Bed
This one doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for some, so it is worth mentioning. If your sickness is real MORNING sickness, where you feel disgusting as soon as you get out of bed, try this hack.
Keep a sleeve of saltines or another basic cracker in your nightstand and pop a few before you even get out of bed. Getting some carbs in your belly before it has a chance to freak out can be really helpful, especially when they are uncomplicated like crackers.
Keeping a can of room temperature ginger ale can also help.
8. Avoid Known Triggers
Once you know your triggers, don’t continue to expose yourself to them! It may be easier said than done, but you’d be surprised how frequently you’ll ask yourself – why did I do that to myself again?
It took me five breakfasts of cereal with sliced banana for me to officially stop eating cereal with banana. It took one unpleasant unloading of some delicious broccoli rabe for me to know that I should avoid it until further notice.
If certain food smells are making it difficult for you to prepare meals for your family, don’t hesitate to ask for help! If ever there was a time to relax with your feet up, it is now.
9. Sea Sickness Bands
Sea Sickness Bands aren’t just for fishermen! These elasticated wrist bands apply pressure on your wrist’s acupressure point to help alleviate queasiness/nausea – working for both those at sea and us pregnant women!
If all else fails, sleep it off. You’re likely in your first or early second trimester anyway, so you should be getting all the rest you can! Sleep deprivation is also a known cause of morning sickness, so the more shut-eye you can get, the better you will feel overall.
How Can I Rehydrate?
As I touched on before, many pregnant mamas make the mistake of not rehydrating after they get sick. This is a big no-no. I can’t tell you how many stories we have heard of hospitalizations due to extreme sickness and dehydration. While you may not be able to avoid the sickness, you can avoid dehydration.
Every time you head to the bathroom, even if it is multiple times a day, you must rehydrate with water and/or electrolytes.
My saving grace?
It may not be the most delicious drink you’ve ever had, but it had the most immediate effect for me. If it’s not your thing, you can try Gatorade or Electrolyte powders in water.
Feel better, mama!
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