As most of us know, the term morning sickness is kind of a misnomer. It can strike at any time of day. It can last a few moments, a few hours, or all day. It can cause a generalized not wanting to eat feeling, mild to moderate nausea, all the way to vomiting multiple times a day. Anyone who's ever experienced it wants to know exactly how they can make.it.stop!
Here's a couple of bits of good news. The best news is that morning sickness is thought to be due to a rapid shift in hormones, metabolism, and digestion habits. Basically, it means you likely have a very healthy pregnancy with ample amounts of pregnancy hormones. Another bit of good news is that, for most women, this is a temporary stumble on the road of pregnancy. It typically last no longer than the 14 week of pregnancy and a lot of women report that at a certain point near the beginning of the second trimester, it's as if someone has flipped a switch and they are no longer plagued with nausea.
So what's a girl to do?
1.) Eat regularly: Think about why your stomach is doing flip-flops as soon as you wake up. You are literally waking from an 8 or 9 (or 12!) hour fast. It takes calories to make a baby and you process your food differently when you are pregnant. What that means is you have to step up your eating game. If your stomach is EVER empty, you'll feel sick. Once you feel sick, you'll have a hard time not feeling sick the rest of the day, not to mention it will be hard to fill your belly which is the one thing that will likely fix it. Your new eating strategy is to eat something every 2-3 hours. NEVER go more than 3 hours or you'll pay the price to the toilet!
2.) Eat a protein item every time you eat: Protein takes longer to digest. You also need 75-100 grams each day (which is roughly 4-5 servings of protein) when you are pregnant. Protein grows your baby's brain and it also quells things like gummy bear cravings. It is really best to limit the amount of gummy bears a person eats during pregnancy, sorry! There are lots of ways to up your protein intake. You might try making a fruit smoothie with yogurt (or kefir), fruits, a scoop of protein powder, a scoop of dry milk, and almond milk or regular milk. Of course we all know meat has protein but these non-meat sources might be easier to stomach in the beginning stages of pregnancy: Yogurt, beans, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, cheese, cottage cheese, nuts, and seeds.
3.) Eat a small meal before bed: Making sure you don't wake up feeling like death warmed over has everything to do with making sure that fast is a short as possible. Keep it right by your bed if you have to. Crackers and peanut butter is an easy go to. Don't be ashamed if you have to dive to the bottom of the peanut butter jar at 4am. When your partner wakes up wondering why you are spooning peanut butter directly into your mouth with your fingers in the middle of the night, try to mutter "I'm pregnant" through the peanut butter sticking on the roof of your mouth.
For morning sickness, you want to drink a little of the brine. Drink a bit first thing in the morning then eat a little something. Every time you feel a little under the weather, have another shot. It's shots, pregnancy style! As a complete aside, I've decided that someone out there needs to start a band called Shots of Brine. Throughout the day, you might enjoy munching on a few of the veggies as well.
You can easily make your own ferments by chopping up organic veggies (cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, or cauliflower are pretty popular), placing them in a mason jar with whatever pickling spices you choose (I recommend garlic too!) and pouring a salt water brine over them. Ideally, you should use a Celtic gray or Himalayan pink sea salt but definitely use a NON iodized, non processed salt. Then, just cap them and keep them at room temperature for about 10 days. If that's sounding like too much work, there is likely someone in your area who is already doing this that you can bum a jar from. In the Spokane area try: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Happy-Tummies-Healthy-Brains/784795291611853
5.) Eat one thing at a time: Our poor pregnant bellies get confused sometimes. They spend so much time trying to filter through what we eat to make sure that none it is bad for our baby, it ends up just hitting reject at the mere possibility of a bad meal. Sometimes sitting down to a full meal of several different items sends our bodies into survival mode and we never even knew what part of the meal our body didn't agree with. Instead, try eating one thing at a time. Instead of having a piece of chicken, a baked potato, and a salad at one sitting, spread them out about 20 minutes apart.
6.) Separate your food and fluids: By the same logic as number 5, try drinking separately from eating. It's usually best to get your water in after a meal but wait at least 20 minutes before adding liquids.
9.) Go for the carbs: There's a reason that a lot of pregnant women, especially the ones with morning sickness, crave carbohydrates. Sometimes your body is just so busy growing another human being, it has a hard time digesting more complex foods. It's not uncommon for me to go through an extensive list of protein rich foods only to have a pregnant mama tell me she can't imagine eating most of them. We need to trust our bodies! Protein is very important BUT eating something is even more important. I will say that if you can get some protein in your body, I bet you will feel better. But, if you are so far down that eating any amount of protein makes you gag, you need to get yourself out of the dumps first. When I say carbs, I don't mean sugar but often even a complex carb is too much. A whole wheat bagel might be more than your tender tummy can handle but a white flour bagel might be fine. Brown rice might be too hard to process but you find yourself craving a bowl full of buttered noodles. Point being, trust your body. Eat that bowlful of noodles. Then 20 minutes later, try adding something with protein. A handful of nuts, a yogurt, a glass of milk (or chocolate milk!), a piece of cheese, anything. Just know that your body will process that carb quickly and you'll be right back where you started, feeling green and sickly. So don't let more than an hour or 2 go by without adding something else to your belly. Use those simple carbs as a way to bump yourself up so that you can eat other things that will stick with you longer and serve your body and your baby better.