Nausea or morning sickness is a common complaint of pregnancy. Morning sickness typically resolves by the end of the first trimester, although some Moms can have it their entire pregnancy.
It is unknown exactly what causes nausea in pregnancy. It may be caused by elevated progesterone and hCG (human chorionic growth hormone), or swings in blood sugar levels or a nutritional deficiency like low magnesium. During pregnancy, the body becomes very sensitive to swings in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels drop, that can cause feelings of nausea and may lead to vomiting. Since you don't eat while you are sleeping, blood sugar levels are low in the morning (hence the name morning sickness). A sudden increase in blood sugar levels depending on what you eat may bring on more nausea. Sometimes certain smells, foods or food textures can cause nausea. Whatever the cause is doesn't change the fact that having nausea in pregnancy is not pleasant.
What can be done to prevent or minimize nausea?
- keep blood sugar levels stable. Having protein and healthy fats every time you eat can help, so can having small, frequent meals or adding in snacks throughout the day.
- Have a protein rich snack right before bed. This helps keep your blood sugar from dropping as much during the night.
- Try taking 50 mg Vitamin B-6 at bedtime.
- Ginger: tea, candy, ginger ale etc can help calm nausea symptoms.
- Peppermint: smelling peppermint oil, or having peppermint candies may help.
- using an acupressure wristband or magnetic bracelet specifically for nausea.
- anise or fennel leaf tea first thing in the morning, and chewing on the seeds through the day.
- Probiotics, either a supplement or in fermented foods and yogurt may help.
- ceaseless, uncontrollable vomiting
- decreased urine output
- weight loss that exceeds 5% of body weight
Sources not linked in blog post:
Davis, E (2012). Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s guide to Pregnancy and Birth (5th ed.) Ten Speed Press
Frye, A. (2007). Understanding Diagnostic Tests in the Childbearing Year (7th ed.). Portland, OR: Labry’s Press
Frye, A. (2008). Holistic Midwifery, Vol 1. Portland, OR: Labry’s Press
Sinclair, C (2004). A Midwife’s Handbook. Elsevier Ltd