I use acupuncture with great success to treat many women for morning sickness. Depending on the severity of the condition you may need 1- 3 acupuncture treatments per week in the initial period, then weekly treatments until things settle down which is usually around week 14 of your pregnancy.
Many women ask what they can do to help themselves between visits so I did some research and have compiled this list of home remedies. I’d love to hear which ones work the best for you.
- After eating a meal, don’t lie down. Sit upright, let the meal settle in your stomach and digestion will be easier. Be sure to chew your food thoroughly.
- Low blood sugar or hunger pangs aggravate nausea so eat the way your baby eats, a little bit at a time. The child growing inside you nourishes itself by raiding your bloodstream for glucose 24 hours a day. If you don’t take care how you replenish the supply, your blood sugar levels can drop sharply. Eat at least six small, healthy meals daily rather than three large meals to help you avoid an empty stomach. Carry fruit, a protein snack and/or nuts around with you to nibble on throughout the day.
- Eat a high protein snack before bed at night and keep a light savoury snack by the bed for when you get up during the night to visit the bathroom or soothe one of the kids. Almonds are a great choice as they contain protein and are high in B vitamins.
- If at all possible try to stay in bed for a few minutes after waking. Have a glass of water by the bed and a small savoury snack to eat before you lift your head from the pillow in the morning. Then, get up slowly.
- Snack on ginger snap cookies, homemade with real ginger, if possible. Drink ginger tea early in the morning – made by boiling some ginger root in water and a little honey to sweeten. Sip ginger ale (non-caffeinated).
- Stick to bland, cooked foods, avoiding fried, fatty, greasy and spicy foods. Caffeine and artificial sweeteners can upset your system as well.
- If you are vomiting a lot, try limiting your diet to a single food, one that you know you can tolerate. Preferably something simple, lightly cooked and nutritious. Add one additional food per day as you can tolerate them.
- Water consumption is very important during pregnancy. Sip small amounts of water, or clear fluids, regularly and frequently so that you don’t get dehydrated. Foods high in water content prevent dehydration and constipation, both of which aggravate nausea. Try snacking on steamed vegetables.
- Go for a liquid diet. You may find it easier on your stomach to emphasise liquids over solids when morning sickness is at its worst. Get your nutrients from bone broths, juices, and herbal teas. Miso soup is also a great choice.
- Don’t drink and eat at the same time. In other words, drink your fluids between meals, instead of during meals, to avoid diluting digestive juices.
- A small slice of lemon or lime, added to your water or herbal tea can help ease nausea. Have a glass of warm water with lemon juice, first thing in the morning.
- Take 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 1tsp Manuka honey in a glass of warm water before going to bed at night.
- Crush 1-tablespoon fennel seeds in a coffee grinder. Place the crushed seeds in a cup and fill with boiling water. Cover and let steep for ten minutes. Drink the tea in sips to treat nausea.
- Make a cup of mint tea any time you feel a wave of nausea. Place 1 tablespoon mint leaves in ½ litre of boiling water. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes, shaking occasionally. Strain and sip. Chamomile added to peppermint can be more effective than peppermint on its own.
- Try red raspberry leaf, chamomile, or lemon balm teas.
- Take your prenatal vitamin at the time you feel your best. For example if you are vomiting in the morning, take your vitamin in the evening.
- Vitamin B deficiency can cause morning sickness: Increase your intake of vitamin B6 – the usual dose is 10 to 25 milligrams three times a day to combat the nausea of morning sickness. Be sure not to exceed 75 milligrams of the vitamin each day.
- Try changing your iron supplement if you are on one.
- Get plenty of fresh air. Smells become more pronounced during pregnancy. Certain odours often trigger feelings of nausea, so try to identify any scents that have that effect on you and avoid foods or strong odours and stuffy or smoky rooms that make you feel nauseous as much as possible. Keep the room well ventilated with a fan or keep a window open.
- Arm yourself with a small satchel stuffed with dried herbs. Lavender and thyme are particularly appealing since both have soothing reputations. A handkerchief scented with freshly-squeezed lemon also makes a handy remedy. Keep the satchel or tissue near your nose and breathe in deeply when odours turn your stomach sour.
- Sniff a fresh lemon or orange peel.
- Put three drops of lavender essential oil and one of peppermint in a diffuser or humidifier to scent the air. Try putting a few drops of lavender oil in the bath and enjoy the immersion. Or place a cool lavender-scented compress on your forehead and a warm lavender compress over your rib cage.
- Mix single drops of ginger, fennel and peppermint oils, then add them to 30ml of carrier oil. This exquisite oil massaged into the skin will settle the stomach.
- Get a massage with chamomile massage oil.
- Get regular, gentle exercise, take a walk around the block, the fresh air will do you good.
- Rest when you can, it may seem impossible with small children or work but you need to find time to lie down and take a nap. Whatever you don’t need to be absolutely doing, don’t do it!
- Wear motion sickness acupressure bands around each wrist and press gently on the pressure point.
- Don’t brush your teeth on an empty stomach or immediately after a meal.
- Brush your teeth after vomiting (at least rinse your mouth if you can’t brush right away). Otherwise, the frequent contact with the harsh acids in your vomit can eat away at tooth enamel.
- Avoid sudden moves. Don’t change your posture quickly, as you do when you get out of bed quickly. Sudden transitions from the horizontal to the vertical often trigger nausea, so go easy in the morning.
If morning sickness persists past the third month or you find yourself so ill you’re losing weight, see your health practitioner. Watch out, too, for becoming dehydrated; you’ll feel dizzy when you stand and/or your urine output would be scant and dark coloured.
Additional advice and stronger remedies can be obtained by seeing your local Chinese medicine practitioner.
Your feedback and questions are always welcome so please leave a comment below.
For further information on the benefits of Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Wholefood counselling). Tania is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (AHPRA registered) in Kingsford