Whenever I get baby fever, the one thing that puts me in “check” is having to decide if I am ready to deal with those weeks of all day sickness that accompanies my pregnancies. Yes, it’s only temporary for me, but man oh man… the struggle is REAL. I have only recently been able to eat apple pie, but I definitely will NEVER be able to drink hot apple cider again. I’ll spare the details.
I realize I am not alone. Many women deal with nausea and vomiting; some for a few weeks, some for a few months, and some for the entire length of their pregnancy. It can be debilitating. I reached out to Dr Melissa Seeker, aka Dr Wine and Gyn to ask for some safe, effective, integrative approaches for dealing with morning sickness... or all-day-sickness, and I am SOOOOOOO excited to share.
“One of my favorite patient visits is the pregnancy confirmation visit. The one where the nervous, hopefully soon-to-be momma is waiting patiently to find out her future. She recently took a home pregnancy test and it was positive. Maybe this is the first baby, maybe it’s #4. Either way she is in my office to find out. I love this visit because more often than not, this is the visit she finds out if she is expecting a little one. It becomes a secret that we share until she decides to share this news with her friends and family. It’s such an intimate and heartwarming part of my job - and I will never get enough of it.
Unfortunately at this visit, our time is maxed. With the intake of patient history, performing the ultrasound, discussing anticipated plan of care, referring for labs, reviewing genetic testing options, etc. - there is little time to discuss the most common pregnancy complaint - morning sickness. So I wanted to take some time to discuss basic tips that I often wish I could talk about at that first visit but rarely have the time to do so.
If morning sickness is keeping you in bed all day, or worse, you are hugging the toilet all day, you most definitely need a solution. Life is miserable feeling nauseous all of the time. And as most things go, we don’t know why you feel this way as the cause differs for everyone - too much acid, low blood sugar, hormone fluctuations - it can be anything. The good news is that we do have some natural remedies that are very effective and don’t require taking a prescribed medication. Let’s talk about these conservative treatment options that might help calm your belly.
To start off your day, you have to combat that initial urge to run and throw up right away. I recommend keeping a pack of crackers on your nightstand. Make sure they are bland and require little chewing meaning the cracker should practically dissolve once in your mouth. When your alarm goes off, pop a cracker in your mouth before you even feel sick. The cracker can help neutralize your stomach acidity reducing your urge to vomit right away.
Other helpful food tricks include eating small, but frequent meals.
This means you should plan to eat a snack or meal every 2 to 3 hours as skipping meals will only make this worse.
And avoid those spicy foods! That will just add insult to injury and your stomach will pay for it. It’s also wise to chose snacks with higher protein to carbohydrate content. Some great options include apples dipped in peanut butter, yogurt, hummus with celery/cucumbers, avocado toast, and anything with ginger. I want to emphasize ginger as this root has some powerful anti-nausea properties. And it’s easy to incorporate into your day. There are many options for you to try: ginger ale, ginger tea, ginger capsules, ginger crackers, ginger cookies, or even ginger beer (alcohol free). You can also infuse ginger oils. You seriously can’t go wrong.
When choosing your beverages, select cold water. This has been shown to be more palatable when suffering from an upset stomach. If you have an oil diffuser, use peppermint and lemon oils. These scents have been clinically proven to reduce your queasiness when compared to a placebo.
If all of this fails, I typically recommend supplementing with vitamin B6 aka pyridoxine. This is a component of the only FDA approved medication to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It works by replacing your deficient B6 stores, an effect of pregnancy. Without B6 your body cannot properly metabolize many proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, which will lead to an upset stomach over the course of time.
My last and final suggestion is to focus on stimulation of your P6 nerve, located on your inner arm near the wrist. Find this point on your wrist - about 2 inches up your arm from the crease at the base of your hand. Start by applying pressure on this point for 5 seconds at time. You can also purchase “seabands”, which provide pressure on this point without you having to do anything. If this fails, consider finding someone trained in acupuncture who is familiar with this area and its ability to help with nausea.
If you try all of these tricks but remain miserable, you may need to consider starting a prescribed medication to help you combat the queasiness. Losing weight and especially dehydration are signs that these remedies may be ineffective and that staying conservative may not be the best option for you. If this is the case, talk with your provider about other options that will be safe for you and baby. Be sure to ask about any potential risks so that you are comfortable with your plan of care. Good luck to all the mommas-to-be out there!”
Dr. Melissa Seeker
Dr. Seeker is an OBGyn in Santa Rosa, Ca and is truly a wealth of integrative information for women. Follow her on IG for all things women, including pregnancy, family planning, gyn issues and so much more. @dr.wine.and.gyn