When it comes to pregnancy, the first trimester is often the hardest to endure. Fatigue hits you like train. Nausea can happen any time of the day – and usually does. And everything is harder. Because you’re growing a little human. And that takes work.
The worst of morning sickness usually peaks at around 9 weeks and begins to subside by 12 weeks. So far, no one knows what causes morning sickness – but it may have something to do with:
- Vitamin deficiency
- Blood sugar
With that in mind, there are a few science-backed tips that can help you manage the severity of morning sickness.
SIMPLE TIPS TO MANAGE MORNING SICKNESS
1. EAT PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL. AND EAT OFTEN.
Managing nausea is also about managing blood sugar. If the idea of meat or dairy sends you running to the bathroom, try protein-rich plant foods – like fermented quinoa. Quinoa is a slow-burning carb, so it won’t throw your blood sugar into unbearable highs + lows. It’s also a complete protein.
2. AVOID ADDED SUGAR
In a 2013 paper published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, researchers found that mommas with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy were more likely to turn towards carb-heavy foods, added sugar, and soft drinks. Since blood sugar might play a role in the coming + going of nausea, do your best to manage blood sugar with whole, unprocessed foods.
For example, choose Nature’s candy! (Instead of the packaged stuff.) Raspberries, blueberries, citrus, and papaya – these fruits can satisfy your desire for something sweet and they’ll help you rock your pregnancy because they’re full of baby-supporting antioxidants.
3. CHOOSE GENTLE EXERCISE
Exercise lowers blood sugar. Muscles contract, taking up more glucose or sugar for fuel. And exercise also increases sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that shuttles sugar into cells. While this is normally a good thing, during pregnancy your body is more sensitive to low blood sugar. So, instead of rigorous exercise, focus on gentle movements that prepare the body for labor and delivery – like prenatal yoga.
And if you just can’t let go of Soul Cycle while pregnant, be sure to load up on slow burning carbs + protein.
4. TRY GINGER
Plenty of research backs the efficacy of ginger – more in its ability to alleviate nausea, rather than reduce vomiting. While it’s not a magical cure for everyone, it might help. Try ¼ teaspoon of dried ginger in tea, add a knob of ginger to homemade soups, or make the smoothie recipe below.
5. TAKE ENOUGH VITAMIN B6
Some research reports that extra vitamin B6 is as effective as ginger in reducing morning sickness.
Vitamin B6 is interesting because it helps to release glucose (or sugar) from stored glycogen. There’s also evidence that throughout pregnancy, your baby pulls on your vitamin B6 – reducing your own levels.
The activated form of vitamin B6 (called P5P) takes the work out of conversion, making it easier to use. Some prenatal vitamins (like Seeking Health ) offer vitamin B6 as P5P.
6. USE MAGNESIUM OIL
There is no science to back up the use of magnesium for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. I’ve looked. Literally nothing.
But there are A LOT of mommas who swear by the magic of magnesium oil. Google it. It looks like only good things can happen when you soak in a tub of Epsom salts (often) or use a magnesium oil spray. Good things, like relaxation and possibly less nausea.
7. TRY ACUPRESSURE + ACUPUNCTURE
There’s an acupuncture point on the inner wrist that’s notorious for its ability to relieve nausea, including morning sickness. Again, a lot of researchers have looked into this point (called PC6 or Inner Gate) and found that it does indeed help certain people, but the effects aren’t universal.
If you’re interested, you can use pressure to stimulate this point right now – here’s a little tutorial on how.
MY FAVORITE FIRST TRIMESTER SMOOTHIE
This smoothie is green. Mainly because green plant foods are hard to stomach in the first trimester but also because plant fiber feeds your gut bacteria, and this does good things for your developing baby. I also use a probiotic drink made by Body Ecology – because it’s soothing and bubbly in all the right ways. Although coconut water kefir would work too.
To make this smoothie, I use almond butter. If you can’t find almond butter or if you have a sensitivity to almonds, use avocado instead! Do not use whole almonds – if you do, the smoothie will be less smooth.
And a note about frozen bananas – peel ‘em before you freeze ‘em! Because I’m sure you have better things to do than pry a frozen peel off of a banana.
- 3 frozen bananas
- 1 peeled and chopped green apple
- 1/3 of a cucumber, unpeeled
- 2 sprigs of mint, leaves only (if mint doesn’t agree with you, try basil)
- 1 small handful of arugula leaves
- 1 tablespoon of almond butter or 1 whole avocado
- 1 heaping teaspoon of dried ginger
- 1 glass of Body Ecology’s CocoBiotic
- Juice from 1 lime
Blitz in your blender until smooth and enjoy! Makes 2 servings.
About Megan Garcia: I’m a momma to a 3-year old boy and currently 13 weeks pregnant! I write about baby health and wellness on www.megangarcia.com and share lots of tips through Instagram – come join me!