Sick of Being Sick?
If pregnancy nausea has got you down, these remedies, both mainstream and alternative, should help you feel better.
If nausea strikes despite your best efforts to avoid it, cold foods may be soothing, especially water-rich choices such as melons, grapes, berries, fruit smoothies, cucumbers and oranges. In fact, for some women, eating any form of citrus alleviates nausea; even just sniffing a lemon can help. Others find relief by sipping vinegar mixed with warm water and honey.
Ginger is another antidote. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that ginger was somewhat helpful in alleviating morning sickness—more so when taken in capsules than in any other form. "Fresh ginger, ginger powder (in tea) or dried ginger in tablet form is more potent than a less concentrated form of ginger, such as ginger ale, ginger snaps or prepared ginger tea," Hirota says.
Acupuncture can be a safe, effective "alternative" remedy as well; most women need two or three treatments a week through the first trimester. Acupressure wristbands (such as ReliefBands), designed to stimulate the acupuncture points that alleviate nausea, are also available. But the bands won't provide much relief for those women who aren't sensitive to the surface stimulation of acupuncture points.
If you're vomiting, it's essential to stay hydrated in order to replenish lost electrolytes—minerals such as sodium and potassium that regulate the fluid balance in your body. So load up on ice chips, citrus-flavored slush drinks, flat ginger ale (carbonation may exacerbate nausea) and popsicles. Pace yourself with slow, steady sips. If you drink more than 2 ounces at a time, fluids tend to bypass the tissues and travel directly to the kidneys and bladder.
If Morning Sickness Persists
For moderate cases, described as strong or persistent symptoms that interfere with a woman's quality of life or ability to take care of herself, doctors may recommend vitamin B6 supplements. Pregnancy causes water-soluble vitamins such as B6 to become depleted more quickly; taking a supplement or loading up on food sources that contain B6, such as egg yolks, yogurt and whole grains, may help alleviate morning sickness. "Work with your doctor to get the appropriate dose," Johnson advises. The general recommendation if you're pregnant is 1.9 milligrams a day, while the therapeutic level can be up to 25 mg three times a day.
According to Johnson, relieving morning sickness often requires trial and error. "Pregnancies are as unique as babies, so keep trying different remedies," she says.