Natural Methods to Relieve Nausea during Pregnancy: My experience supported by evidence based studies

This is my second time around the block when it comes to pregnancy and BOTH my babies have come with incredible nausea lasting longer than the typical 12 week window. This time around was more intense, possibly due to the fact that I already have a very energetic tiny human to look after 24/7.. but the nausea hit me hard as it was around the clock.. all day, everyday, for 4.5 months. My last pregnancy I had moments in the day where the nausea would subside and while it lasted well into my 5th month, the breaks in the day where I felt normal again made it a little easier. The nausea has mostly subsided at this time in my pregnancy but I do experience days here and there up until delivery with the same pesky side effect. Any woman who has experienced this unpleasant bout of sickness knows how badly it can affect your day to day. It also leaves you feeling defeated and many times during my current pregnancy I felt it was impeding on my ability to keep up with caring for my three year old. Luckily, my little one was old enough to understand why Mom couldn’t walk to the park on certain days, or why I had to lay down while she played alongside me for the afternoon. Needless to say, I needed some relief. Between the two pregnancies I have found a small handful of remedies that worked for me. I was also able to back these up with studies which I’ve linked to below. If you’re struggling with nausea during your pregnancy, hopefully some of these tips will help you take the edge off.

 

After two pregnancies, I have yet to find a cure all. I did however, find little tips and tricks that eased the intensity of the nausea even slightly to make it bearable.

I opted not to take Diclectin (a popular pharmaceutical prescribed to women who experience intense nausea during pregnancy) during either of my pregnancies despite the fact that even my midwives tried to point out to me that it’s “basically vitamin b”. Diclectin is not simply vitamin b if you read the drug inserts and although it is widely used and appreciated by many women,  it just wasn’t for me. In fact, many women are opting to avoid pharmaceutical options to ease nausea during pregnancy for a multitude of reasons but overall its been proven that drugs cross the placenta barrier and do come with negative effects for the baby inside (King M., Green Med Info LLC, 2014).

So I opted for natural methods to help relieve the symptoms I was experiencing. I scoured the internet and relied on the advice of women who had gone through the same ordeal to help give me suggestions. I found some that worked for me and many that didn’t. I decided I would share some insight as to what remedies worked the best for me personally as well as some evidence based research to help you choose what may work best for you. I also added a few remedies that may have worked well had they applied to my situation, but overall these nest 3 strategies worked best for me. Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and all options during pregnancy should be discussed with your primary care provider. 

 

 

For those who are hoping to opt out of pharmaceutical options to reduce the symptom of nausea during pregnancy, here is my list of the 3 top natural methods I personally used to help ease nausea naturally:

 

  1. Timing your Prenatal take your prenatal before bed to try and sleep through the extra nausea that comes barreling in with your prenatal. Many women experience nausea or an increase in their current state of nausea when taking prenatals. It has been touted that prenatal vitamins and the high levels of iron are what may cause this unwanted side effect. In fact, research published by Obstet Gynaecol, J. et. al., Green Med Info LLC (2009), has stated that the reduction of iron laden prenatal vitamins actually helped to mitigate the effects of nausea and vomiting in women who were pregnant. I was not able to locate information on how reducing a prenatal would affect the health of the pregnancy, however, and wouldn’t suggest doing so unless guided and approved by your obstetric medical team, whether it be O.B. or Midwife. I was not comfortable even requesting this as I see the value in receiving other vitamins that are within my prenatal complex such as Folate, so, rather than reducing or eliminating it altogether I decided I would take the complex before bed each night.  I was able to sleep through the prenatal induced wooziness and didn’t add to my sickness during the day.

 

  1. Frozen Ginger Root peel, freeze and grate raw organic ginger root into your water every morning and when you feel at your worst. I kept a full knot of ginger root peeled in my freezer till I need it and grated it over cold water every morning. This also helps with indigestion which is something I suffer with throughout my entire pregnancies so far. Ginger has been studied as a reputable natural method to reduce nausea in pregnant women and a longitudinal study from 1991-2011 (Viljoen et. al., 2014) concluded that ginger did in fact reduce the symptom of nausea in women who were pregnant. Interestingly enough, the same study noted that a moderate dose of ginger as opposed to a larger dose was more effective. The reason was thought to be that Ginger aids your body in flushing foods through the digestive system quicker which reduces the time available for nausea to surface as it pertains to the gut (Viljoen et. al., 2014). Another study, by Pongrojpaw D., et. al. (2007), showed significant improvement of nausea symptoms when using ginger as compared to the pharmaceutical drug, Dramamine. To show higher results than a drug used for motion sickness is something to be considered and it was also noted that side effects were significantly lower than its pharmaceutical counterpart.

 

  1. Fresh Fruit when all else failed and I couldn’t stomach anything, I was almost always able to grab a few blueberries, pieces of watermelon or grapes and pop them every few hours. The natural sugar content spiked my blood sugar quicker than anything (rather than eating something  nutritionally deficient such as a piece of candy) and took the edge off. In no way am I suggesting to ONLY eat fruit, this was all I could stomach most of the early days but certainly would have loved to have been able to take in a whole food diet consistently throughout the day to keep blood sugars stable. Unfortunately, the nausea was bad enough that I couldn’t keep most food down so fruit was really helpful in getting some whole nutrition into me and relieving symptoms with blood sugar. I also found freezing grapes and having them as snacks here and there was helpful.

 

In addition to these above tips, I also used some other methods that worked moderately well for me. Increasing intake of water was a good source of relief when I was able to keep it down. During my first pregnancy, eating and drinking were ways I avoided the bursts of morning sickness. Unfortunately during my second pregnancy, I was not as well able to consume foods or water due to the nausea I was experiencing. I was reminded by my midwives that drinking water was paramount and eating what I could was also recommended. I did try to keep up with these rules but as many women know.. this is much easier said than done in certain pregnancies. I also opted to eat smaller snacks when possible versus taking in larger meals all at once. This helped my stomach from adding digestive distress which seemed to boost my level of nausea. Eating smaller meals more often also keeps blood sugars at a more stable level which could aid in reducing morning sickness as well.

Overall, I would say that nothing truly eliminated this symptom of pregnancy for me and it was the most pronounced symptom of pregnancy for me during both my pregnancies. I did find a reduction of symptoms using the 3 tips listed above and would use them again in subsequent pregnancies. Of course it is important to note that I am not a medical professional nor am I qualified to hand out medical advice to anyone reading this, so I suggest that anyone suffering with nausea during pregnancy still talk to your designated medical professional to decide what might be best for you. It’s also important to do your own research and make informed choices that feel right for you and work into your lifestyle.

 

Article References:

  1. Viljoen E., Visser J., Koen N., & Musekiwa A. (2014). A Sytematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. BioMed Central Ltd., Nutrition Journal 2014, 13(20). Retrieved from: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-20
  2. King M. (2014). Ginger Safely Relieves Nausea During Pregnancy. GreenMedInfo LLC, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/ginger-safely-relieves-nausea-during-pregnancy 
  3. Pongrojpaw D., Somprasit C., & Chanthasenanont A. (2007). A randomized comparison of ginger and dimenhydrinate in the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. J Med Assoc Thai. 90(9). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17957907
  4. Gynaecol J.O., Gill S.K., Maltepe C., Koren G., (2009). The discontinuation of [inorganic] iron-containing prenatal multivitamins reduces the severity of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. GreenMedInfo LLC, 29(1). Retrieved from: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/discontinuation-inorganic-iron-containing-prenatal-multivtamins-reduces-severi

 

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