Your Morning Sickness Survival Guide

Minimize your first-trimester nausea with these morning-sickness survival strategies.

happy pregnant woman Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Just because morning sickness is common in pregnancy doesn't mean you have to suck it up and suffer through. "You don't have to just deal with it--you can see doctor and get suggestions or medications to feel better," says Marra Francis, M.D., an ob-gyn in Woodlands, Texas, and a contributing author to the Mommy MD Guides. "It's not a badge of pregnancy that they have to put up with feeling sick for 12 weeks."

So how do you make yourself more comfortable when you have morning sickness? Experiment with these tactics to tame your nausea and fatigue--odds are, you'll hit on something that works for you.

Exercise. Dragging your sorry butt out for a run is probably the absolute last thing on your mind, but it may be worth it to push through the pain. "One of the best things--but also one of the hardest--is to exercise," says Michele Hakakha, M.D., FACOG, an ob-gyn in Beverly Hills and author of Expecting 411. "When you are so fatigued that it feels like the life has been sucked out of you, the endorphins released during exercise can help counteract that."

Stock up on lemon and mint. Try ingesting these all-natural goodies--or simply sniff them. The scent of lemon or mint can help counteract your queasiness, and make you feel better fast.

Change your eating pattern. Stick with small meals and foods that won't set your stomach churning (though, admittedly, those foods may change from day to day). Stick to healthy eating as much as possible, and to blander fare such as saltine crackers to avoid setting off your nausea.

Grab yourself some ginger. There's a reason why your mom offered you ginger ale when you had tummy trouble. The ginger root can soothe your digestive system and counteract the havoc all those hormones are wreaking. If you don't want to keep sucking down ginger ale by the case, try ginger tea or ginger lollipops.

Try some acupressure--or even acupuncture. Eastern medicine can help you counteract your queasiness. Sea bands use beads to place pressure on the center of your wrist, which can help reduce nausea. Many moms-to-be swear by acupuncture, but you'll need a pro to administer the needles.

Get your B vitamins. You may already be downing those prenatal horse pills, but add one more vitamin to your repertoire: B6. "Try an 25 mg of vitamin B6 three times a day, in addition to your prenatal vitamins," Dr. Hakakha says. That extra boost of B6 can help fight nausea in some expecting moms.

Consider some OTC meds. Some doctors swear by some simple medications to help you feel better. "Benadryl or Unisom or other over-the-counter sleep aids can help with morning sickness, if you take them before you go to bed," Dr. Hakakha says. "They're extremely safe medications for pregnancy."

Treat your acid reflux. You could be stuck in a vicious cycle--frequent vomiting can cause irritation of the esophagus and throat, and that keeps you feeling icky. Acid reflux medications can help protect your digestive tract, and by decreasing the acid levels in your tummy, may even stave off the nausea itself.

Try to avoid triggers. Many women get nauseated around heavy fragrances or other strong smells, so steer clear of the perfume counter and skip your signature scent for a few weeks. This can be hard if your cubicle neighbor bathes in Chanel and you can't exactly tell her why it's a big turnoff right now. If you aren't ready to spill the beans at work, consider bringing in your own nausea-reducing smells (like the previously mentioned lemon and mint) to counteract her perfume.

Ask about other medication options. If you're having pretty severe morning sickness--that is, nonstop nausea, and difficulty keeping down food and liquids--your doctor can prescribe some more serious medications, such as Zofran or Vistaril, which can be taken as a pill or dissolved on your tongue, to help you stave off some of the nausea and get the nutrients you and your baby need for a healthy pregnancy.

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