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You are here: Home - Pregnancy - Pregnancy Nutrition

The Morning Sickness Diet

by Teresa Shaw | February 18, 2008 12:00 AM
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Nausea and vomiting, often known as morning sickness, are often the first signs of pregnancy. More than half of all pregnant women will experience some morning sickness during their pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. It usually begins around the sixth week of pregnancy, and generally lets up around the 12th week.

While many health care professionals see the nausea and/or vomiting as a good sign, it can be a nuisance. Nausea is caused by the increase in hormones in your body. Some say it means that the placenta is growing.  Following are some tips on foods that can help alleviate your symptoms.

Morning Sickness Upon Rising

Eat as soon as you wake up. Keep saltines or club crackers next to your bed. Having something in your stomach before you get up can help to settle it and stabilize your blood sugar as well. Or have a piece of dry toast as soon as your rise.

Prevent Morning Sickness All Day

Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day so your stomach is never completely empty.

Drink small amounts of ice water and other fluids all day to stay hydrated. Lemonade or lemon water may help to squelch your nausea, as will ginger ale or peppermint tea. Some pregnant women swear by flat soda drinks. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Avoid foods or food smells that trigger your nausea. Warm dishes or spicy foods can be especially difficult to stomach. Instead, try eating bland foods such as crackers, popcorn, cereal and other carbohydrates; salty snacks such as potato chips; or comfort foods such as soup or broth. Eat what sounds good to you and what you can keep down, and gradually increase the numbers and amounts of foods you eat.

Try to avoid lying down after eating. Instead, try taking a walk or some other activity to get your mind off your stomach.

Prevent Morning Sickness at Night

Try eating protein-rich foods as bedtime nears, such as peanut butter or cheese, to help steady your blood sugar and fill your stomach. It might help you to sleep better, and being well rested will help to alleviate some feelings of nausea.

Other Morning Sickness Remedies

Acupressure wristbands such as Sea Bands can ease the nausea caused by morning sickness. The bands put gentle, continuous pressure on a point on your wrist, and are a drug-free and natural treatment. They are available at most drug and super stores.

Preggie Pops are naturally flavored lollipops made to ease morning sickness. Developed by health care professionals, the all-natural lollipops offer relief through a combination of essential oils and aromatherapy. They are available at Baby Depot and many drug and super stores.

When It's More than Morning Sickness

Hyperemesis gravidarum is an extreme form of morning sickness characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and sometimes electrolyte disturbance. While mild cases can be treated with dietary measures, bed rest and antacids, severe cases require a hospital stay so that patients can be given fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line. About 1% of pregnant women experience hyperemesis gravidarum. Symptoms to look for include nausea accompanied by severe vomiting, nausea that does not subside, the inability to keep more than a few bites of food or a few sips of water down for 24 hours, dehydration, confusion, jaundice, headaches, and fainting. Talk to your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms.

Teresa Shaw is a professional editor and freelance writer with a degree in English and journalism. She writes about motherhood, travel, and cooking, among other topics, for a variety of print and online markets. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, two cats, and dog.

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