Morning Sickness Remedies That Really Work
Morning sickness is common in the first trimester, but fortunately for expecting mamas, you don't have to simply grin and bear it. "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."
We rounded up some tried-and-true morning sickness remedies, from nausea-reducing foods to natural remedies to over-the-counter medications. And remember: Pregnancy queasiness usually subsides as you enter the second trimester, so you only have a few more weeks to go!
Foods for Morning Sickness Relief
There's a reason you feel so sick (hello, pregnancy hormones!), but these morning sickness remedies can help. As a bonus, you can find them all in your grocery store!
This root is popular in Chinese medicine and noted for its tummy-taming properties. You can drink it in soda or tea, eat ginger candies or cookies, or suck on a ginger lollipop.
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."
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.
In lieu of eating solid food when your stomach is flip-flopping, sip a smoothie. Doing so will neutralize your stomach acids and blood sugar, giving you a calm feeling.
A combination of fruits, nuts, and a hint of semi-sweet chocolate chips will satisfy your hunger without weighing you down.
Some extra vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce morning sickness symptoms in some patients. "Try 25 mg of vitamin B6, three times a day, in addition to your prenatal vitamins," Dr. Hakakha says.
If you're vomiting often, increase your fluid intake to ten 8 oz cups a day; that's two more than the recommended eight cups a day. Alternate watermelon ice cubes and freezer pops with glasses of water and ice chips if you're having trouble drinking enough water. Italian ice or lemon slush will also help you hydrate.
Try to drink fluids only between meals; if you must drink during meals, limit the amount to keep your stomach from feeling overly full. You can also use a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes.
Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness
If changing your diet isn't helping, consider one of these natural morning sickness remedies. We talk about acupressure and acupuncture, exercise, and more.
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.
Test out this easy acupressure technique too: Press three fingertips gently but firmly on the base of your palm, just above where you'd take your pulse on your wrist. Breathe deeply and press that area with your fingertips for a minute or more, gradually increasing the pressure until you feel slight discomfort. The sensation should be the same as the feel of a mini-massage.
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. Stick to healthy eating as much as possible, and to blander fare such as saltine crackers to avoid setting off your nausea.
Peppermint or Lemon Hand Lotion
The soothing scents may help keep you calm and relaxed. As a bonus, sniffing them may help disguise other unpleasant food odors that trigger tummy pain.
Morning Sickness Cures From Medicine
Medications are usually the second line of defense against more severe cases of morning sickness, but many moms-to-be worry they'll harm the baby. Doctors, however, 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. Just be sure to ask questions and consult your health care provider before taking any of these.
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.
Acid Reflux Medications
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 tummy, reducing the damage and helping to prevent that sour stomach in the first place. Ask your doctor for recommendations.
If you're having pretty severe morning sickness—relentless nausea and difficulty keeping down food and liquids—your doctor can prescribe more serious medications, such as Zofran. These medications can be taken as a pill or dissolved on your tongue to help you stave off nausea and get the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
Women don't need to suffer in silence from morning sickness, as there are plenty of pregnancy nausea remedies to try. That said, tell your doctor right away if you can't keep down any food or fluids for 24 hours, you're steadily losing weight, or you become dehydrated—these could be signs of severe morning sickness that needs treatment.