Morning sickness is one of the very first pregnancy symptoms most women experience. According to The Practicing Midwife, up to eighty percent of women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Traditionally, this is called morning sickness, and unfortunately, many people write it off as one of ‘those things’ you can’t do anything for.
However, ignoring the significance and challenges of morning sickness because it is common is a big mistake.
About 30 percent of women will experience severe morning sickness. It is important that these women get support as complications from constantly being sick can lead to depression, feelings of inadequacy, loss of time at work, admission to the hospital and in rare cases, termination of a pregnancy.
Ayruvedic tradition, the knowledge of health passed down from ancient India, teaches that pregnancy can be one of the most rejuvenating times in a woman’s life. It is truly an opportunity to rebirth oneself and heal in many levels.
If you are reading this post, likely, you are not feeling glowing and rejuvenated yet. Hopefully the strategies in this post will help you get past your morning sickness and into a place where you feel wonderful.
What exactly are symptoms of morning sickness?
Symptoms of morning sickness are the general tired, weak and nauseous feeling many women get at the beginning of pregnancy. Here is a more complete look at what else morning sickness might entail:
Nausea, a basic feeling of an upset stomach and feeling like you may throw up
Lightheaded or dizzy
Sensitivity to smell
For most women, morning sickness symptoms will resolve within the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. However, some women will experience this throughout pregnancy.
What if your morning sickness symptoms seem extreme?
Morning sickness should not prevent you from keeping all of your food in your body. Yes, it is normal to throw up occasionally. However, if you are keeping no food or water in your body you need to get help.
Extreme morning sickness symptoms have a diagnosis of their own. This is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. If you lose more than 5% of your pre-pregnancy body weight, you need to call your midwife ASAP. Also if you have symptoms of dehydration, you need to call your midwife ASAP. Some women need to be admitted to the hospital and be given IV fluids in extreme cases.
Your midwife will help you know if you are at this point or not.
Simple habits that will help you with your morning sickness symptoms:
There is a magic to be found when you slow down, step back and connect with the process that is happening within you. Slowing down and allowing your focus to turn inward will also help you manage your morning sickness symptoms.
Make this simple diet changes to help your morning sickness symptoms:
Focus on fluids
Another Ayurvedic principal is to focus on drinking plenty of fluids during the first trimester. Fluids are often easier to keep down than solid foods and if you choose wisely, you can pack a whole bunch of nutrients into a drink you can sip on throughout the day.
Relish in a midwife’s tea.
This tea should have ginger, dandelion leaf, nettle and lemon balm which will provide nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium and a handful of vitamins. These are important because throughout your pregnancy, your blood volume will nearly increase 50% and making all of that fluid takes a lot of nutrients! Add a Tablespoon of honey and a splash of coconut milk to your tea for a truly delightful drink. I enjoy this tea from Nil Organics.
Honestly, the most nourishing foods for early pregnancy are warm and comforting. However, you can pack a whole bunch nutrients in a smoothie. Try blending 1 cup lemonade with 1 cup frozen strawberries, and handful of spinach, a couple tablespoons of hemp seeds and half a can of coconut milk for a truly wonderful smoothie.
These drinks should be replacing drinks such as water, which is nutritionally neutral and your sweet sodas, energy drinks and coffee. Though it is important to eat a well rounded diet during pregnancy, these will provide the most basic nutrients if you can keep nothing else down.
Savor these foods to soothe your morning sickness symptoms:
These foods can help ease your symptoms and keep your nutrient level up:
Whole milk yogurt (cut the low fat, high sugar yogurt) with berries
Apples and peanut butter
Sourdough bread with a generous dose of grassfed butter
Overnight oats with maple syrup (1/3 cup oats, 2/3 cup water, 2 T maple syrup)
These foods are nourishing and perfect for helping to ease your morning sickness symptoms.
The most important principal to follow during pregnancy:
If you are experiencing morning sickness symptoms or any other discomforts, follow the golden rule of pregnancy. Listen to your whims. If you feel like eating a certain meal, make it. If you feel like going for a walk or a swim, go. The more you tune into the things that make you feel good, the more discomforts you will naturally avoid!
Fulfill all of your unsatisfied desires, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Now is your time to step into your radiance and enjoy life like you never have before. Give yourself permission to truly be you. Listen to your food cravings.
My experience with morning sickness:
My first pregnancy I had no tools and it was awful (I do not recommend handling morning sickness this way!)
When I was pregnant the first time I was so very sick. I couldn’t eat. I was living off of a few handfuls of Lucky Charms a day because this cereal was the only thing I could keep down. Though I was small to begin with, I was losing weight quickly. I had a very natural minded doctor, because that’s what I wanted, an intervention and drug free pregnancy and birth. Though I mentioned my sickness to them, they didn’t think much of it and told me to stick it out.
My performance at work was deteriorating. One of my friends pulled me aside and said “look, I know you don’t want to use medication, but you are not making it through this, I used Zofran. Call your doctor and ask for a prescription.”
So I did. When I asked for help I needed, I was met with a lecture on how I needed to toughen up, straighten up and deal. No solutions other than sitting it through were offered. Shortly thereafter, a follow up appointment found that this pregnancy was not viable. I was experiencing what is called a molar pregnancy, which is known to be accompanied by extreme morning sickness.
My second pregnancy I had Zofran, but still no practical tools that could actually help with my morning sickness symptoms. (Again I do not recommend.)
It was over a year before I conceived again.
This time I chose the OBs who had gently performed the D and C I needed after I lost my first baby. I felt mildly nauseous during this pregnancy, though uncomfortable, it was nothing compared to my first experience.
When they asked how I felt and I mentioned I had a small amount of nausea, they said “don’t worry about it, what you need is Zofran. Fill this script on your way home.”
The truth is that both of these care providers missed the mark in caring for me. My first doctor was so ‘natural minded’ that he couldn’t see that I truly needed help and something was wrong. And, he didn’t even mention the incredible changes that can happen when you focus on your food or provide me with ideas on what could be more nourishing to me and baby and even relieve some of my extreme symptoms.
My second doctor couldn’t see that things were mostly right and he skipped past many lower risk interventions, straight to a risky pharmaceutical mainly because it was easy.
The third time I got it right and had a magical firt trimester.
The third time I was pregnant, I did things right, I slowed down, rested, meditated and ate what seemed right moment by moment. It was the best experience yet.
If you are suffering from morning sickness symptoms, talk to your doctor, but also, take your life into your own hands and experiment with different strategies for managing it. Likely, when you tune into your intuition, you will find solutions.
If your morning sickness escalates, make sure to stay in close contact with your care provider.