Morning sickness doesn't have to be something you simply grin and bear--there are plenty of treatment options out there that can help you feel better. "Just because it's a common part of pregnancy, doesn't mean women have to suffer with it," says Marra Francis, M.D., an ob-gyn in Woodlands, Texas, and a contributing author to the Mommy MD Guides. "People do get relief, either by using natural remedies or traditional medications."
Here's a rundown of some tried-and-true methods that worked for other moms. You may need to do some experimenting to find the right mix of treatments to keep you feeling good all day long.
These homegrown remedies are easy for you to try on your own--and many women find that a combo of these keeps them pretty nausea-free throughout the first trimester.
Ginger. This root is popular in Chinese medicine, and noted for its tummy-taming properties. You can drink it in soda or tea, or try ginger-laced lollipops whenever you're feeling queasy.
Something Sour. If your stomach is already feeling sour, should you really add in additional sourness? Strangely, it works. "Using something sour can help," says Michele Hakakha, M.D., FACOG, an ob-gyn in Beverly Hills and author of Expecting 411. "Try sucking on sour candy, sipping lemon water, or even just sniffing something sour. I had one patient who carried around a lemon and scratched the peel and smelled it to make her feel better."
Mint. Eating or sniffing something containing this fresh flavor can help you feel less nauseated. (Bonus: Mint can help with a not-so-fresh mouth after a round of morning sickness.)
Saltines or toast. Simple starches like crackers can help settle a queasy stomach.
Vitamin B6. A little extra vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce morning sickness symptoms in some patients. "Try 25 mg of vitamin B6, three times a day," Dr. Hakakha says.
Acupressure or acupuncture. These techniques, which use gentle pressure or tiny needles to hit certain nerve centers in the body, can be extremely effective in treating nausea. You can wear sea bands, stretchy bracelets that put pressure on a nerve in the center of your wrist, or see an Eastern medicine specialist to receive acupuncture treatments.
Exercise. You probably don't exactly feel like running a half-marathon with your tummy so queasy. But a gentle walk could do wonders for your body. "Even walking 20 minutes a day can help release endorphins to counteract the fatigue and nausea," Dr. Hakakha says.
Changed eating patterns. Sometimes it's a matter of simply keeping your stomach from hitting empty. "Eat small, frequent meals, and eat as soon as you wake up," Dr. Hakakha recommends.
Medications are a doctor's second line of defense against more severe cases of morning sickness. But with so many things, such as wine and many common meds, declared off-limits during pregnancy, many moms-to-be worry that morning sickness meds may harm your baby. But the doctors say to rest easy. "I always remind my patients that we would never give anything that isn't safe, and that doesn't have a long safety record," Dr. Hakakha says.
OTC medications. Benadryl and Unisom are more commonly used to treat allergies or insomnia, but they can actually help with nausea, especially if your morning sickness starts the moment you wake up in the morning.
Acid reflux meds. Frequent vomiting can damage your esophagus and throat with potent stomach acids, leading to heartburn and a continuous sour stomach. Using acid reflux medications can lower the acidity of your stomach, reducing the damage caused when you do vomit, and helping to prevent that sour stomach in the first place.
Motion sickness patches. Medications that can help with motion sickness, such as scopolamine, can actually help with the nausea related to morning sickness.
Prescription medications. Doctors can prescribe one of several medications to help you minimize the nausea, including Vistaril and Zofran.
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