11 IMPORTANT tips to survive Morning Sickness
Conceiving a baby is not a walk in the park.
It takes strength, patience, and determination to ensure the child in your belly is safe and healthy.
Some women immortalize their pregnancies with maternity photoshoots that capture their elegance, beauty, and poise while carrying around their baby's weight. And while we all want pregnancy to look as easy and glamourous as how we see them in pictures, the behind-the-scenes can be pretty messy and frustrating.
One of the most tiring and frustrating things women experience is morning sickness.
Some experience it in their first trimester, while others experience it in their second or third trimester. Some have it worst and suffer through morning sickness throughout their pregnancy.
If, however, vomiting and nausea are causing weight loss, dehydration, or other severe symptoms, it may be hyperemesis gravidarum - a more severe version of morning sickness.
What exactly causes morning sickness?
It is said that there is no exact cause of morning sickness; however, there are studies that show the possibility of elevated HCG and estradiol levels, thyroid issues, vitamin B1, B6, K deficiencies, or emotional stress factors. These are the usual things to consider when looking at the root cause of morning sickness. In episode 171 of the less stressed life podcast, I talk about a couple more interesting causes of morning sickness connected to your gut health!
Before you hop on to your preferred podcast app, I'd like to share some tips you can follow to ease morning sickness symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
- Eat smaller portions throughout the day. Eating smaller portions makes it easier for your tummy to digest food.
- Add protein to every meal. Adding protein means you don't get hungry quickly.
- Try drinking half an hour before or after eating, not during your meals/snacks. Drinking too much water may dilute the digestive enzymes you need.
- Don't skip meals or wait too long in between eating times.
- Keep hydrated and increase nutrients by drinking smoothies or freezing your smoothies into popsicles.
- Try to include foods or drinks with electrolytes like bone broth, coconut water. If you're opting for a sports drink, I recommend Gatorade BOLT because it doesn't have too much artificial stuff in them.
- Try smelling lemons or citrus fruits or diffusing essential oils.
- Keep your home well ventilated, so smells don't just go around inside your house.
- Get up slowly from bed and
- Keep some crackers next to your bedside table when you need to munch on something to keep vomiting at bay.
- Don't hesitate to ask for help. You are creating life inside your belly, and any help will go a long way, especially if you're having a tough time and dealing with nausea and vomiting.
Remember that this list is not the absolute answer on how to alleviate morning sickness symptoms. These are just tips you can follow and adjust according to how your body responds.
To listen to this episode, click on this link or scroll down to read the transcript.
This episode is sponsored by Full circle. Prenatal. Full circle is the only prenatal in the market that has the most effective research-based doses of everything you need before, during, and after pregnancy, you can get a discount on your order at FullCircle, prenatal.com with code "lessstressed". So did you know that up to 80% of women are affected by nausea and vomiting in pregnancy? It's actually one of the most common reasons for pregnant women being admitted to the hospital, despite being known as morning sickness symptoms, of course can occur at any time of the day or night, which any woman with this will tell you, there's also a more severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy called hyperemeses gravidarum, which is much rarer and affects up to 3%, two or 3% of pregnant women. It's also abbreviated to HG and that's how I'll refer to it in the future. For most women, their symptoms improve or disappear around week 14 in pregnancy. Although for some people it can actually last longer. So of course this episode is not exactly that morning sickness is a myth or more that any woman will tell you morning is very completely subjective. You know this, but this is more about reviewing the causes and the research related to morning sickness and hyperemesis, plus a clinical perspective and my own anecdotal perspective and applicable tips. You could try for morning sickness, and then lastly, some discussion on what else might be the root cause of morning sickness. So I did go ahead and put a few of the pub med ideas or P M I D numbers in the show notes, in case you want to review any of the research that I site today. So no one knows the exact causes, but exact causes of this vomiting in pregnancy, but some of these cited possibilities most likely to cause it include hormone stimulus because you have elevated levels of HCG, which is basically pregnancy, hormone, and estradiol or estrogen thyroid issues, vitamin deficiencies, including, but not limited to B six B one and vitamin K emotional or other stress factors. I thought this was an interesting reason, evolutionary adaptation and maternal and embryonic protection from toxins. So basically having crap in your body and your body trying to reject it a little bit, kind of an interesting, um, thing that I found in one research paper. So motility, gastric emptying. So basically bloating and constipation, if your guts or RMS prior to pregnancy, or you aren't pooping every day, or you have nausea before pregnancy, it's maybe not in your favor to feel awesome during pregnancy necessarily because those issues were already kind of hanging out. [inaudible] back back to h. Pylori infection. Um, there's a really significant association with the occurrence of hyper MSS or the really bad kind of nausea HG. You can read about this in fourth citation, I included, which is a 2014 review from the American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. I have some pretty strong feelings about this particular pathogen. And I think that if you had extreme nausea and a previous pregnancy, you should really see someone that doesn't just Pat you on the head as, as one of my clients says, thanks for not patting me on the head and just telling me to get an antidepressant. But if you have had this in the past, you should work with someone that is able to help you with that root cost because up to 30% of Americans are affected by H pylori, which is another story for another day. You can easily find that information on the research as well. You should know that our testing and our treatment leaves a lot to be desired conventionally, kind of like a lot of interventions in gastrointestinal health, sorry, GI specialties. Um, we're really good at some things we're really good at some things, and we need a lot of help, but we need to get together on a lot of other topics yet. So you might be, um, totally SOL during pregnancy because when you're trying to correct gut dysbiosis, some of the interventions for that can be really contraindicated during pregnancy, depending on the type of intervention used. So it's kind of like you will address it after pregnancy, unfortunately, or if you've already had this, try to address it before you get pregnant. Again, there's a fair, remember there's a fair amount of research with the hyperemesis or the really bad form of nausea, vomiting during pregnancy. And if you test positive for H pylori with conventional testing, your provider may or may not decide to treat during pregnancy, um, your, your primary care provider, your doctor. Alright, so that was one reason. Another reason could be genetics. And I think sometimes we blame things on genetics sometimes. And I want to just mention that families significantly share microbiota before you just pass things off as genetics. So when it's, when people say my mom had this, it's like, well, did she, did you guys all share the same bacteria a little bit, which will create a lot of similar symptoms or is it genetics can be both. Another reason could be because you're carrying a baby girl and it's not that baby girls have more hormones going on in general, which goes back to reason. Number one or another reason cited is a larger placenta, which makes me just sit here and imagine what it would be like. If you could get compliments on placenta's eyes, it'd be like, Hey, it's a nice placenta. Anyway, it made me laugh when I was reading the research. So what other signs and symptoms or lab values might help you identify if you have one of the above root causes with extreme nausea? So if you have a tender abdomen or loose stool constipation, or if you have enlarged thyroid or elevated liver enzymes, which usually things are not very good. If you have elevated liver enzymes, AST, or alt elevated, Billy Rubin, same would not be very, that's a very bad sign, very bad sign, um, or just any other irregularities on that values. Um, if you have issued some, I don't think this is super common, but if you have issues, I mean, testing wise, this is not, but if they do test and look at values of digestive enzymes, sometimes you can see a low amount, which I would just say gut health needs to be addressed and shored up overall. So when you've got morning sickness, there are some little diet and lifestyle strategies that can be used. And some of these are like common things that they give out of helplines for women with nausea, vomiting, and pregnancy. And some of them are adaptations that I've used in practice. So depending on where someone is or whatnot. So one option is to, and I know some of this is not life-changing, but eat smaller portions every couple of hours, um, and make sure you're adding some kind of protein to every meal, like when you're snacking. So eating nuts and seeds or dairy to each snack or meal. So you're increasing, you're trying to increase your calorie intake. You're trying to help balance blood sugar. Um, you're also trying to help stomach acid get busy on digesting protein, um, which sometimes, sometimes could be helpful sometimes now. So anyway, you have to experiment a little bit, but splitting it up, eating more, more often, um, keeping solids and liquids separate can help. So it's thought that maybe doing a lot of liquids at meals can dilute some digestive enzyme function. So try to drink your water either a half hour before or after your meals and snacks. Try not to wait a long time between meals or skip meals, um, and get really hungry or thirsty that can increase your nausea and vomiting during pregnancy symptoms. And then try to just change up your liquid intake. So do make things into popsicles, right? Um, because then you're not just swallowing a bunch of things. Smoothies are a common way to get nutrients down, to try to like sh tight things in there. So you can make sure you're increasing nutrients and caloric intake, but just freezing a smoothie into a Popsicle is also awesome. You could also like put things into ice cube containers and just suck on different kinds of ice cubes are kind of mixed slushies. We're trying to stay hydrated. Cause if we're vomiting, we're really having hydration issues. I would say doing high electrolyte foods like bone broth, coconut water, or doing like electrolyte added products would be great. Um, as a side note, when my family is traveling and I have nothing except dehydration staring me and my kids down, I like, like if we're at a gas station, I like grabbing the Gatorade a bolt drinks, um, because they don't have some of the same artificial colors that the other sports drinks on the shelves too. So I don't know if everyone else reads all the labels on things when you're traveling, but I'm just, I'm just saving you some time if you don't want to. Um, so I usually recommend doing your prenatal supplement in a small smoothie or doing something like Vega makes some decent nutrition shakes to get extra nutrients and protein. I feel like they have them some with like the most extras. If you're looking for something just off the shelf, basically, I'm kind of looking for a powerhouse option to increase calories with nutrients, not just, not just in intake. I'm also considering ventilation sniffing lemons or sniffing other citrus or for some people diffusing oils, keeping the windows open, um, or asking other people to help you with meal prep or kind of doing your meal prep cold and then sticking it in a Crock-Pot or just not handling some of those foods. If you're really struggling with odor aversions, aggravating your symptoms. And yes, you have permission to send this episode to your husband, um, to ask him to help prep food if needed your partner. All right. So some of or interventions could be like icy liquids, chewing gum sour, chews, ginger chews. That's two different things. Just choose in general, which kind of like in ginger chews, which are a nice for motility and moving things to the proper direction, those might help, or they might help change that metallic or bitter or sour just odd tastes. Sometimes people get in their mouth. Another tip is to try to avoid brushing your teeth after eating meals and snacks. If that seems to trigger or worse, worse than nausea. I know that's like a habit, but for some people it makes it much worse. Um, these are like old school recommendations. Try not to like completely flat after meals, just because gravity, um, having a snack like crackers before you get up in the morning and you'd get up very slowly. So just putting crackers on the bedside table and being pretty careful about how you get up and then also trialing mouthwash. If you're dealing with a lot of like excessive saliva or just other tastes in your mouth. So again, getting protein in every meal and snacks spreading that out and just being kind of cautious with high fat or fried foods, just noticing like what might be big triggers for you in the past, um, to help you kind of move forward. So you're not like acts and this is part of, if you get over hungry, I mean, I do this. Absolutely. If I'm ever hungry, I'm just going to like go eat a whole bag of something or binge something. So trying to be careful with that, because it'll probably backfire in this particular case. So when you have different things going on, on, in the gut, you are not digesting very well. Typically. And pregnancy is an extremely reasonable time to use a digestive enzyme or one that has enzymes for protein, fat, and carbs in it. They digestive enzymes vary a ton. And unfortunately some of the good ones are a little bit pricey on the shop page. On my website, you'll find some, um, you'll find a supplement dispensary. So Krista bigler.com forward slash shop, you'll find a supplement dispensary with a bunch of high quality products and brands. And I have favorites lists that you can view. If you want to go look at some enzymes that I like, I know life extension has some and another cheap brand that's okay, is now brand. Now I want to mention iron because iron is tricky because it can really exacerbate or even cause nausea, vomiting and its own. So if there's iron in your, um, this might be a situation or an issue, gut pathogens are really iron loving, so complicates things. So if you're struggling with GI symptoms in pregnancy, consider using a prenatal without iron or one with iron glycinate, it might be better tolerated. And then there's also like different teas that you could drink that are kind of iron rich, where you, where you can get, um, iron is you can iron better with vitamin C. So if you have iron, if you have an iron in your prenatal and it's not a good glycinate form or a highly absorbable form, it could be causing some nausea. So do a different prenatal and then do a better version of iron. So do a prenatal without iron, and then you can experiment with different iron separately because it's not worth it. If it's making you really sick and nauseous and vomiting, you can also try splitting up your prenatal in divided doses. So lots of things to say about iron and just keep in mind, the iron can also cause constipation. So if things are not going out, then are they coming up sometimes like you've just slowed motility. That was like one of the potential reasons they could be having nausea in the first place. So the most common complimentary and alternative therapies for nausea, vomiting and pregnancy include ginger B6 and Acupac puncture or acupressure, um, B6, especially in the Virgin. PFP has been pretty well studied in doses up to 200 milligrams per day from both your diet and supplements overall in pregnancy. So both diet and supplements, ginger has been shown as well to be, um, pretty decent and can be used up to one gram or a thousand milligrams per day. You could do ginger. Yeah. Ginger chews ginger, um, steep like a knob of ginger steeped in tea, drinking it throughout the day. And then as far as acupuncture, you can apply pressure to the piece six acupuncture point, which is basically below your wrist on your forearm. So they have these, um, this product called [inaudible], they're a brand of an acupuncture bracelet. I bought on a cruise last year. It's like a little cloth band. And then it's got a little plastic spot to kind of push on that area and it could have been a placebo effect, but that in a combination of ginger ale available on the cruise deck was pretty helpful when the sea was, um, really, uh, really, really Rocky. So there are some options you can discuss with your provider, one being anti-histamines as needed. So it's actually first-line protocol in Canada, at least in the 2014 paper that was published, um, that an anti-histamine plus time released B6 capsule is the number one preferred treatment for nausea, vomiting, and practice and see in Canada, which I have the re the research site citation in the show notes in a Cochrane review, looking at 41 different studies. There wasn't one intervention that really stuck out the most when they looked at acupuncture or acupressure essential oils and different drugs. And it's worth noting that out of those 41 studies, they look at diet or lifestyle as a factor. So it wasn't that the interventions that they looked out like essential oils and acupuncture and different things weren't effective, but that there just wasn't a lot of strong evidence for any one specific one, which means for you, you just have to try them and see which one there is. So that's kind of the situation. So what do you, what have I seen in practice? Because that's the last piece it's like, what's in research. What works for you? This is the evidence-based medicine. What's in research. What works for you? And then what is your clinician experience? Not that I'm your clinician, but what I see in practice, I will see, I work with gut issues. So I see a lot of gut issues like bacterial overgrowths at play in those most predisposed to nausea and vomiting. And I can tell this from pointed questions from before they were they're pregnant, as well as what's on testing. Of course, I meet women in different stages. A lot of them, I would say the majority are working on gut health to have optimal pregnancies, but sometimes I get moms, especially kiddos with eczema that have had more morning sickness in a past pregnancy. And now they're like, Oh wait, can I actually prevent that for a future pregnancy? And so, um, uh, meeting them at all different stages, but I usually see gut issues being an issue. Sometimes, sometimes I'll be talking to a woman who's already pregnant, maybe because I'm working with another one of their family members, but they're dealing with morning sickness. So all we can do is really manage those symptoms for the most part, because some guttered gut interventions are contraindicated in pregnancy. I can also speak to my personal experience, which is, you know, again, personal experiences. What matters the most in morning sickness is what works for you when, what helps. So I had my first child 16 years ago, and I was not the picture of health at the time I was young. She was a girl, it was a girl. And I had a lot of nausea, vomiting and throughout and beyond that first trimester. So not the picture of health. By the time I had my second child, I had done a lot of health stuff, got health things, and I'd started my career. There were some very specific health optimization things I'd done around both gut health and micronutrient deficiencies, um, that I had addressed. And I had absolutely no nausea, vomiting and no, um, queasiness with that, um, child or mine, third child, I had a very strong sense of smell. Um, but for the most part, like, no, no, no nausea vomiting. The major difference was simply that work on health and nutrients and gut health. And the change was substantial. And keep in mind, risk is high when 80% of women experienced nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. So no matter where you are, I hope that this episode gives you insight on what you might need to do before or after pregnancy to have the most symptom-free and wonderful experience. Now, I mentioned earlier that this episode is sponsored by full circle prenatal. And I want you to know why this topic was specifically inspired by full circle premium. I mean, you need nutrients it's, especially if you're feeling a diversion of food or not keeping it down, but what do you do if taking a capsule or a prenatal is the least appetizing thing you can think, or your current prenatal is already making you queasy? Well, here's the crazy thing. Full circle. Prenatal has had hundreds of women reach out and tell them that their nausea actually went away. When taking this prenatal, here are a few of those women's statements, Hey, I'm 10 weeks pregnant. And I swear, this has helped with my nausea. Is that possible? I was so nauseous. And then I started taking these and it completely went away and I feel great. Here's another one. Hi, I started using your prenatal, but a week ago. And I have noticed a significant reduction in my nausea. Have you heard this from other clients? And lastly, are there nutrients in here that would help with nausea? I started taking it a few months before I got pregnant and I'm just finishing my first trimester and I've had almost no nausea. Now, there are a few things going on with full circle, prenatal that might be helping women avoid unnecessary nausea, including removing poorly tolerated iron and including the most absorbable forms of every nutrient in the actual amounts needed by expecting women. Basically when you're taking the best form of everything, you're actually getting your money's worth and you can feel good about all those nutrients going into you and your baby, getting all the nutrients and the most effective doses can look like several capsules. If you have any trouble with capsules, just pop them open and then put them in a smoothie or some kind of drink or applesauce to make it easier to take. And if you want to know more about specific nutrients needed for pregnancy, check out episode 96, makings of a perfect prenatal right interview, full circle, prenatal creator, and brilliant dietician and friend ALA farmer.
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