For many women unaware of their pregnancies, morning sickness tends to be the calling card that causes them to run to the nearest pharmacy for a pregnancy test. Some may even think they’re ill with the flu and schedule an appointment with their physician only to discover some good (or surprising) news.
Statistics show that.
Whatever the case, morning sickness affects more than 50% of pregnant women. That said, if you’re thinking of becoming pregnant or have just discovered you are, it’s good to read up on morning sickness.
It’s Not Just Mornings
While morning sickness is nothing to be afraid of, we warn you that it’s a bit of a misnomer. Generally speaking, while it tends to be more likely to occur in the morning, it can affect you at any time of the day. The good news is that it doesn’t last all day and won’t last throughout your pregnancy. It only happens during the first trimester, and you’ll feel much better from there.
So, when does morning sickness usually start and end after conception?
Some women simply feel queasy, while others experience frequent bouts of vomiting. Your symptoms may be different with each pregnancy you have too.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, you’re likely to have morning sickness starting around the 6th week of pregnancy and through the 12th week. However, some women have reported feeling squeamish around the 4th week.
What Causes Morning Sickness?
There are many reasons why morning sickness occurs. The experts tend to think the following things could be to blame for feeling less than savory during this tender time during your pregnancy:
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG): This hormone is created by your embryo soon after conception, then by the placenta. The rise in this hormone might be throwing you off.
- Progesterone: Another hormone that can cause feeling ill in the morning is progesterone. It relaxes your uterine muscles, but as it does so, it also relaxes the muscles in your stomach and intestines, leading to more stomach acid than usual.
- Heightened sense of smell: During pregnancy, your sense of smell is more intense, and smelling certain things can make you feel suddenly queasy.
- Drop in blood sugar: If you’re not eating right or going too long between meals, your blood sugar dips down, resulting in things returning up.
Additionally, certain things can make morning sickness worse. If you have multiple births with twins or triplets (or more!), you’re much more likely to experience it.
Regardless of how many babies growing inside you, excessive fatigue, intensive emotional stress, and frequent travel increase the intensity of sickness, so try to relax and get the rest you need.
How to Safely Stop Morning Sickness?
While there is no cure-all solution to morning sickness, there are many natural and safe remedies you can try to help you get through the first trimester.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Without food in your stomach, it can only make things worse. Conversely, eating too much is a recipe for disaster. So strike a balance. Have smaller meals more often, turn more toward high-protein items, and be sure to eat slowly.
- Stay hydrated
In particular, if you find your morning sickness results in excessive vomiting, you must rehydrate yourself. Water is always good, but sports drinks with salt, potassium, and glucose are best for fast replacing lost electrolytes for those having trouble keeping things down.
- Make ginger tea
Revered in Asian cultures, ginger is a known anti-inflammatory and one that is wonderful for digestion too. Use fresh ginger root to make tea and sip on it to prevent that queasy feeling like a great home remedy for morning sickness.
- Or try peppermint
If you don’t like ginger, try peppermint. It’s wonderful for calming an upset stomach. Making peppermint tea is the safest way to enjoy its benefits as another natural morning sickness remedy.
- Go for lemons
If you find the taste of plain water boring, add lemon to it. It helps settle your stomach, gives you more vitamin C, and the smell of it chases away that nasty nausea.
- Watch what you eat
Certain foods can be harder to digest while pregnant and, thus, lead to morning sickness. Fried, spicy, or acidic foods tend to be the most irritating so avoid them as much as possible.
- Never take your vitamins on an empty stomach
Once you get the good news that you’re pregnant, your doctor will likely recommend a prenatal vitamin for you to take. And take it you should, though never do so on an empty stomach. They contain loads of nutrients your body needs now more than ever to stay strong during pregnancy and help your baby grow healthily inside you, particularly iron.
The higher iron content sets off empty tummies, so eat something first, even if you can only stomach soda crackers.
Better Yet, Reduce Your Chances of Vomiting from Morning Sickness
If you still feel a bit woozy during your first trimester, there are a few other tricks you can try out depending on the time of day it affects you.
If you find mornings are your most difficult time for morning sickness, you should allow yourself enough time to get up and out of bed. Set your alarm for an hour earlier than you normally would, and keep something solid by the bed, like plain crackers or Cheerios, so you can slowly munch something into your stomach. Lay there and take it slow, getting out of bed once ready.
Eating can be really difficult when you feel like you’re going to vomit, but it’s important to eat something, even with this loss of appetite. If you find your bouts of nausea come on strong during the day, eat more small meals during the day. This keeps you from getting too full as well as from getting too hungry.
Another must for the mid-day morning sickness sufferer is to drink plenty of water and do so 30 minutes before and after your meals.
One huge dose of caution here is that although you should get plenty of rest, don’t take a nap after eating a meal. This will only cause things to come up, pardon the pun. Keep cool too. Warmer places can add to that nausea and make things worse. If it’s hot outside, stay where there’s plenty of cool air conditioning indoors.
If morning sickness comes at you after the sun sets, watch what you eat for dinner. Stay away from greasy or spicy foods. It’s best to keep your flavors bland. Another important point for those that feel queasy come evening is that you should go to bed early. Allow enough time to pass between dinner and bedtime so you don’t feel sick in bed.
Keep those crackers handy by your bedside too and munch a couple of them when you get up to use the toilet at night.
What Foods to Eat to Avoid Vomiting from Morning Sickness?
When it seems that every food grosses you out, you’ve got to find something you can eat for the sake of your growing baby. That’s not to say that you should force yourself to eat a big meal, but rather, go for things with a proven track record of not upsetting your stomach or exacerbating your morning sickness.
If even your favorite foods are sending you running for the loo, try some of these to help keep things down and move past this stage of your pregnancy.
Just like a hot room or environment can bring on your nausea in a flash, so can hot foods. Try snacking on raw vegetables, enjoy a scoop of sorbet (yes, we’re recommending ice cream!), or sandwiches and salads. Be cautious of what’s in your sandwich, though, as deli meats risk causing listeria. The same goes for salads, especially in recent times with many E.coli outbreaks.
A simple salad of chickpeas and cucumbers can work great on its own or in a whole wheat pita. As a bonus, chickpeas have plenty of vitamin B6, which is good for keeping morning sickness at bay.
Sometimes, it’s the scent of something that sets us off, even if it’s something we used to adore eating. Your pregnant nose is very sensitive to smells at this time. Keep your seasonings simple, or eliminate them. Try plain boiled chicken breast or chicken soup, allowing them to cool down before eating. Bone broth is a good one because it’s incredibly nourishing and is generally easy to keep down.
Potatoes, either baked or mashed without any added seasonings, are another one that might bring you comfort and nutrition without coming back up. For snacks, try crackers or pretzels to anchor your stomach.
Many women have great success with keeping fruits down when morning sickness strikes. As mentioned before, lemons can be a great and effective, not to mention a completely natural way to get rid of morning sickness. If you’re drawn to fresh fruit, eat more of it. It can’t hurt to add fresh-squeezed lemon juice to increase your chances of avoiding nausea.
Foods with plenty of vitamin B6
Eating more foods with vitamin B6 can help nourish your baby and help with growth and development. It will also help you keep morning sickness away.
Foods rich in vitamin B6 can really help you feel better even when you feel at your worst. Try bananas, avocados, spinach, dried fruits like prunes, lean meats, sunflower seeds, and pistachios.
If you don’t have popsicle molds in your kitchen from making boozy popsicles with your gal pals pre-pregnancy, get them now. You’ll get plenty more use of them once your baby gets to toddlerhood, and you can make them healthy, delicious popsicles out of fresh ingredients.
For you now, though, you can easily make a delicious morning sickness remedy that’s all-natural with just a few ingredients. Keep them in your freezer and eat them as needed to feel well all day.
Simply combine one and a half cups of fresh orange juice (the fresher, the better!), 4 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (it’s best if you grind it as fine as possible).
Mix well and pour into your popsicle molds. You’ll want to stir before filling each one so that some ginger gets into each popsicle mold.
Don’t have popsicle molds and feel too lousy to get them? You can also use ice cube trays to make this tasty popsicle treat!
Other Fast Morning Sickness Remedies
Don’t feel like making anything? We don’t blame you! You can easily find safe and naturally-formulated products designed for pregnant women. Preggie Pops makes an entire line of drug-free, doctor-recommended products that taste great, from drops to lollipops.
But if you don’t feel like taking anything, try using acupressure in the form of Sea Bands. These will work great for that cruise you’ll hopefully take when you need a vacation just the two of you once the baby gets a bit bigger, but for now, they will help keep nausea away during your pregnancy.
Hang in There
While it certainly is no picnic to have morning sickness, just remember this won’t last. Because we’re all different, some things may work for you while others won’t. Try and see what works best for you and stick to it.
On another note, it was found that those who experience morning sickness are less likely to suffer a miscarriage, which could be a good sign. Still, we know it’s unpleasant and unfunny, but think of that sweet baby you’ll soon be holding in your arms. We promise you’ll forget about pregnancy’s discomforts when you look at that little face for the first time.
So, how is (was) your experience? Let us know. 🙂
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.