25 Ways to Beat Morning Sickness That Actually Work

August 26, 2015
Pick your head up (out of the toilet bowl)!

This article was written by Anne-Marie Cook and provided by our partners at Women’s Health Australia.

Some women take comfort in knowing that they’re queasy for a good reason: From a biological point of view, morning sickness might protect your baby, as keeping down only bland, simple foods means that mothers may then reduce the risk of being exposed to foodborne diseases. Good work. The root cause of queasy-making pregnancy hormones, specifically estrogen and human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), play a vital role in supporting the newly fertilized egg—so women who experience morning sickness are less at risk of miscarrying. (But don’t freak if you feel fine! It’s equally healthy to go symptom-free for your entire term.)

That being said, it's no fun to feel like you have to puke for months on end. Here, 25 ideas to get your head off the bathroom floor:

1. Eat frequently. Have small nibbles at least every two hours, even if you don’t feel like it. An empty stomach will make you feel queasier.

2. But don’t overeat—too full is as bad as an empty stomach for worsening symptoms.

3. Keep plain crackers in your bedside drawer and chomp a couple before you swing your legs out of bed in the morning.

RELATED: The 13 Worst Things About Being Pregnant

4. Go for cool foods like salads, yogurt, fruit, and cold soup, as warm foods tend to smell stronger. Strong smells = bleurgh.

5. Don’t stress if all you can handle are mashed potatoes and toast. The body provides some “nutritional grace” if you’ve eaten well in the preconception phase—your well-nourished body is able to provide for the growing baby. Phew.

6. Stay hydrated. If water makes you feel pukey, add fruit slices to it. Or try coconut water, fizzy water, or ginger ale diluted with soda water.

7. Right before bed, eat a snack that contains both protein and carbs, such as museli with milk or yogurt and fruit.

8. Cold fluids tend to work better than room temp, so try putting ice in your dinks. Sip slowly rather than gulping.

9. Keep an orange in your handbag. Sometimes the sweet, liquid feeling in your mouth helps.

10. Discover and then avoid your triggers: It might be egg salad, Brussels sprouts, coffee, tuna—you’ll definitely know it when you smell it.

11. Peppermint can help nix nausea in some women. Inhale three drops of essential oil from a tissue, or use in a diffuser.

12. Acupuncture once a month can improve sleep and maintain energy, as well as reduce aches and pain. Book weekly sessions for intense morning sickness.

13. Switch to unscented soaps, shower gels, and cleaning products if the bathroom makes your stomach turn.

14. Apply pressure to the Nei Guan wrist acupressure point—right where your wrist pulse is—with fingers or wristbands.

RELATED: 7 Fears Pregnant Women Have—but Shouldn’t

15. Tiredness aggravates morning sickness—which is why it can be worse later in the day. A siesta may help. Shut your eyes in your car or the park for 10 minutes at lunchtime to help you stay strong all afternoon. 

16. Rein in your stress. Yep, that’s easier said than done, but stress hormones seem to exacerbate nausea symptoms. Try the app Mind the Bump for free pregnancy meditations.

17. When a wave of nausea hits, try left nostril breathing, which calms the nervous system. Gently block the right nostril, and breathe calmly through the left nostril only for a few minutes, both for inhalation and exhalation.

18. Ginger is a tried and tested nausea killer. Grate ginger into hot water or buy a packaged ginger tea. (Ginger cookies generally don’t have enough ginger to really do much, but if the taste does the trick for you, go with it—though be wary of the sugar.) Also try ginger tablets—sometimes the extra strength helps.

19. Digestive enzymes (supplements made of the chemical substances that help break down food) can work, especially if you get repeated burping and a greasy feeling after you eat. Try vegetable-derived enzymes, which work across a wide range of pH levels.

20. The herb St. Mary’s thistle (a.k.a. milk thistle) can be helpful in supporting the health of the liver and kidneys, as morning sickness can be a sign of an under-functioning liver.

21. Avoid anything too spicy, fatty, or fried. Foods that could upset your digestive system are asking for trouble.

22. Ditto too much sugar or sweet stuff.

23. Get a pregnancy belly band—tight pants can make your sickness much worse.

RELATED: What to Do During Pregnancy to Make Losing the Baby Weight Easier

24. Jump in the ocean. The saltwater freshness can make you temporarily forget about your watery mouth.

25. If all else fails, take the day off and hit the hay. The world won’t spin so much in bed.

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