Morning sickness can be caused by many factors in pregnant women. Hormonal imbalances seem to be the most common, but other factors like vitamin deficiencies, dehydration, or stress can exacerbate symptoms. Morning sickness symptoms come most notably through headache, bodily pain, and mild to moderate nausea. Morning sickness can also be hereditary; a lucky few may never experience morning sickness, where most women experience mild to moderate morning sickness in the middle of their first trimester.
Excluding severe morning sickness or other diseases—also called hyperemesis gravidarum, an affliction that can lead to hospitalization—anti-nausea remedies and other precautionary efforts can definitely reduce morning sickness. Morning sickness, for many, is caused by the same stimuli that cultivate motion sickness.
Some morning sickness causes include:
- Strong odors
- Strong flavors
- Pain or dizziness; vertigo
- Pregnant with twins
- Lack of vitamins—specifically vitamin B
- Lack of nutrients
- Excess estrogen
Many of these causes can be prevented before becoming pregnant, or cured with natural remedies. Let’s read about natural remedies and medicine alternatives for morning sickness.
Acupressure and Acupuncture
A common anti-nausea remedy, for all nausea causes, is to diffuse or quiet the nerve that sends nausea signals to the brain. One such nerve exists between the two tendons of the wrist, about three finger-widths below the nape of the wrist. This nerve leads right to the brain and can detect stimuli caused by lack of balance or vertigo. Some studies suggest that putting pressure on this nerve also relieves stress, another morning sickness factor. You can put pressure on this nerve with your fingers, or buy motion sickness “sea bands,” specially designed to compress the nerve and reduce morning sickness symptoms.
Many studies support acupuncture as another method of pain relief, stimulating blood flow, oxygen, and stimulating nerve points in the body to provide relief from many ailments. Some studies support—and many pregnant women have sworn by—acupuncture as a long-term morning sickness relief method. These studies cite acupuncture’s ability to warm and make mobile muscle-connective tissue, which can alleviate many morning sickness symptoms. Acupuncture can be performed with thin sterile needles, or by heating acupuncture points.
Inhaling extracts and essential oils from different herbs and foods can sometimes help pregnant women combat morning sickness. Tread carefully, as some odors can induce morning sickness, but others will create a calming atmosphere that helps resist the symptoms. Inhale steam or aromatic infusions of lavender, almond, eucalyptus, or ginger oils. These and others can help reduce nausea.
Ginger doesn’t just apply to pregnant women; ginger is a centuries-old anti-nausea root that calms stomach inflammation and otherwise quiets upset stomach. Ginger releases its flavinol, gingerols, which gives the root its anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties. They also promote ginger’s flavor. Eating the ginger root in very small increments can combat morning sickness; drinking ginger-infused tea, like lemon ginger tea, can often calm morning sickness in a milder fashion. You can also purchase hardened ginger-infused candies that promote salivation. Human saliva is a natural anti-nausea and anti-gastrointestinal distress remedy.
For many women, low-fat high-carbohydrate foods are the only foods the stomach can easily digest when facing morning sickness. Small portions of breads, crackers, or un-oily pasta can help fight morning sickness symptoms. Studies show that eating these foods before leaving bed can give the stomach some weight and distraction and prevent vertigo symptoms, for morning sickness caused by dizziness.
Sodium chloride—salt—can aide in anti-nausea remedies that are caused by a lack of vitamins, nutrients and electrolytes. Low electrolyte levels in the body can cause nausea and provoke vomiting; multiple studies show that the most important directive when fighting morning sickness and nausea is to maintain electrolyte levels. Doing so can combat and reduce nausea. In addition to carbohydrates, try eating carbohydrate and sodium rich foods for one meal or snack a day, typically the earliest meal in the day. As usual, mind your overall sodium intake—too much sodium can lead to other health problems.
Water makes this list, but water in and of itself isn’t always the best option. Rather, staying hydrated via other water-rich drinks and foods will help cure nausea. Firstly, try sucking on ice or ice pops. Water in minuscule increments can help reduce overall nausea and hydrate the body over the course of a day, building up fluids and electrolytes. Additionally, the body tends to absorb water slowly melted from chips before it hits your stomach, both nourishing the body and preventing nausea.
Specialists recommend vitamin B as both a pre-pregnancy vitamin and as a nausea-fighting vitamin. Vitamin B regulates body processes and blood flow; stimulating oxygen flow can greatly improve morning sickness symptoms. While vitamin B comes in capsule form, some women find that they can eat more foods in the early to mid-afternoon range of the day. This would be the time to eat more vitamin-B rich foods and really sustain natural intake methods.
Vitamin B-rich and pregnancy safe foods include:
- Low-fat milk, almond milk, or soymilk (if you can consume dairy)
- Low-fat yogurt
- Egg whites
- Low-fat cheese (if you can consume cheese)
- Whole grains
- Tempeh (if you can consume soy)
- Dark green vegetables
Many of these foods contain moderate doses of iron. Iron and minerals, in closely watched moderation, can regulate the body and help stave off morning sickness.
Morning sickness symptoms can be reduced or eliminated by following both these natural remedies and by avoiding triggers. Pregnant women should avoid closed, dark spaces with a lack of oxygen flow. Seek sunlight and outdoor air. Fresh air can clear provoking allergens and odor stimuli, which provoke nausea in many women.
Women should also consume many of these natural remedies in small, but frequent increments over the course of a day. Heavy foods or meals are discouraged; women are more likely to sustain hydration and vital vitamins and nutrients. Help your body to absorb as many nutrients as possible before fluids or foods reach the stomach; or, chew foods very well while you eat, to make digestion as smooth as possible. If you experienced chronic nausea or morning sickness, which remedies helped you best? Which remedies would you try in the future?