For a pregnant woman, nausea and vomiting is like an unwritten rule! It is bound to happen! About 50 to 90 percent of all pregnant women go through some degree of nausea. It could be with or without vomiting though. Nausea and vomiting usually starts at five to six weeks of pregnancy and reaches the peak at nine weeks. By 16 to 18 weeks, the condition generally gets normal and there are only few occurrences of vomiting. However, some women continue to deal with vomiting until delivery! So, what to do to get rid of such condition? Vomiting during pregnancy can’t be stopped completely but there are some ways to deal with it effectively. Let’s get such tips to deal with vomiting during pregnancy.
What causes vomiting in pregnancy
There are no reasons that can explain why vomiting happens during pregnancy. It is probably due to some combination of various physical changes that take place in the body of a pregnant woman. Some possible causes of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy include the following.
1. Hormonal changes
During pregnancy, apart from various changes in many of the hormones, there occurs a rapid rise in a hormone called Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). It is not clear if and how hCG contributes to nausea in pregnancy. However, it is considered to be one of the main causes of vomiting and nausea as this hormone peaks around the same time when nausea and vomiting start hitting the pregnant woman.
2. Enhanced sense of smell
Pregnant women probably become more sensitive to odors. The smell coming from certain foods or flowers or anything else may act as a trigger for nausea and vomiting. This is sometimes related to the increased levels of the hormone estrogen but like other factors, this too is not an established fact.
3. Abnormal gastric motility
The gastrointestinal tracts of some pregnant women become more sensitive due to the changes they face during early pregnancy. This is taken to be one of the causes for vomiting but as with other causes, it is not sure if this is also a valid reason for the same.
4. Psychology and stress
For some women, stress is what equates pregnancy. This makes them psychologically prone to having nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. This is just a theory and it may be wrong too!
Tips to deal with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
Contrary to its misnomer, ‘morning sickness’, nausea and vomiting can occur at any time during the day. And need not say, it is a nightmare for any woman. But it has to be dealt with patience. Here are some tips for dealing with vomiting during pregnancy that may give you the much needed relief.
Correct Eating Patterns
One of the major causes for nausea during pregnancy is abnormalities in your gastrointestinal tract. To keep the things in control, eat small, frequent meals. Know that an empty stomach is a trigger for nausea, especially during pregnancy. So, have snacks throughout the day so that your stomach never remains empty. You may choose healthy options though. A study has found that high-protein foods are more likely to ease nausea and vomiting experienced during pregnancy. Whatever you eat, have it slowly.
When and what to eat?
- In the morning, eat toast, cereal, crackers, or other such dry foods even before getting out of your bed. Just after waking up, have a couple of crackers but don’t get out of the bed yet. Rest for another 20 to 30 minutes and then get out of the bed.
- Such simple snacks as cracker can be eaten in the middle of the night too when sometimes you wake up due to the feeling of nausea.
- Eat small meals frequently, every 2-3 hours. Don’t go for larger meals three times a day. This will make you feel bloated and nauseated.
- Have more fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and dairy. But don’t have them in larger amounts all at once. Have them in smaller amounts throughout the day.
- Having cheese, lean meat, or other high-protein snack before bedtime may also help avoid night time nausea and vomiting.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day. If you can’t have it in larger amounts, replace it with healthy substitutes like fruit juice, clear soups, broths, herbal tea etc. However, don’t drink lots of fluid at one time. Have them in smaller amounts frequently, just like solid food.
- Avoid having fried, greasy, or spicy foods.
- Avoid having those foods that trigger vomiting or nausea.
Pay attention to your food cravings
It is common for a pregnant woman to develop a sudden urge or a strong dislike for a food during her pregnancy. You may sometimes crave for sweets, salty foods, red meat or fluids. This is often your body’s way to communicate with you. Cravings often are a sign of telling you that your body needs a specific nutrient, such as more protein or fluids.
Listen to your body. Pay attention to your cravings and have what you want to eat.
Have ginger to avoid and treat nausea during pregnancy
Ginger is one of the best remedies for nausea and upset stomach. And it is safe for pregnant women too! You can always find ginger candies or crystallized ginger but if possible, make ginger tea with fresh ginger. It will soothe your stomach like nothing else can!
- Ginger- 1 inch piece
- Water- 1-2 cups
- Lemon juice (optional)- 1 tsp
- Honey (optional)- 1-2 tsp
- Grate the ginger
- Bring the water to a boil
- Add the ginger to the boiling water
- Simmer the tea for 2-3 minutes
- Put off the flame and cover
- Let it steep for another couple of minutes or so
- Strain and add lemon juice and honey, if using
- Have this ginger tea to combat nausea and vomiting
Avoid foods that lead to nausea and vomiting
Just like cravings send you positive signals for a food, there are certain foods that will send you negative signals. These are the foods that you are most likely to develop a disliking for during your pregnancy. They will trigger nausea and vomiting. So, avoid having such foods.
There is no one or two food categories that may trigger nausea in you. These foods differ from person to person. In fact, it may differ throughout the course of your pregnancy too. You may like to have some food during your first few weeks of pregnancy and suddenly you may trigger nausea by having these foods later in your course of pregnancy. Therefore, it becomes important to monitor the foods that lead to vomiting or nausea during the different phases of your pregnancy. Just avoid them whenever you don’t feel like having them or you don’t like their odor. Most of the times, these are the foods that have strong odors. Some of the common foods that trigger nausea and vomiting in most of the women during pregnancy include the following:
- Fatty fried foods
- Spicy foods
- Foods with a strong odor
- Foods with unappealing texture
You may try eating food by bringing them to room temperature because hot foods tend to have a stronger aroma.
What to do after eating to avoid nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
Sometimes, you might be eating the right things and at the right time but then also you may vomit or feel nauseated. This may be due to certain wrong habits. Watch your actions, especially just after eating a meal so that you may avoid vomiting.
- Do not lie down just after eating. This hampers proper digestion and may lead to nausea or vomiting.
- In the morning, after waking up, do not jump out of the bed immediately. As mentioned earlier, have a light snack just after waking up such as a cracker or a fruit. Then rest for some 15-20 minutes. After that, get up from the bed that too slowly. First, sit on the bed for a few minutes. Then only get down from the bed.
- Always brush your teeth and rinse out your mouth after eating. Remember, odors are a big trigger when it comes to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Brushing teeth and washing mouth properly ensures you do not keep getting any foul odor. If, however, the smell of your toothpaste too triggers nausea, try changing your paste. Switch to an odorless toothpaste or start brushing with something that doesn’t make you feel nauseated. For example, you may use homemade paste by mixing salt and a little oil. You may also experiment with toothpastes meant for babies. They have nice aroma and flavor.
- Instead of drinking water or juice after meals, try to have fluids with meals. This will not let you feel bloated. Have smaller sips of fluids during the meals. You can also have fluids in between meals.
- Don’t overeat. Eat slowly and only till you feel like. Wait for sometime after having few bites. If you feel the urge to have more food, then only continue eating.
Avoid non-food triggers
Food is not the only thing that leads to vomiting during pregnancy. There are many more triggers other than foods such as smells of perfume, suffocated rooms, etc. Identify what makes you feel nauseated and keep yourself away from such situations. Some of the common triggers that most of the women find uncomfortable include the following:
- Excessively warm or stuffy room
- Smell of heavy perfume
- Scented candles
- Traveling in a car or some other vehicle.
- Flickering lights
Whenever, you start feeling nauseated, get some fresh air. Walking in open for some time may avoid vomiting. Or just open a window and breathe in the fresh air to ease your nausea.
Take plenty of rest and sleep properly
When you are exhausted, you are more likely to feel nauseated. Sleep for at least 7-8 hours every night. Rest whenever you feel tired. Lie down for a while, no matter where you are. Just avoid lying down after meals. If you take light meals, you won’t actually feel the need to lie down. At all other times, you may lie down whenever you feel like having some rest.
If some day, you don’t feel like getting out of the bed and go to office, just take a leave and rest. Remember, you are nurturing a baby inside yourself. You are working overtime in any way. So, you deserve a break every now and then. In fact, you may plan a vacation during 7th or 8th week of your pregnancy because this is the time when nausea and vomiting usually starts to peak.
Sniff some pleasant smell
Just as some odors will trigger nausea, there will be some smells that will make you feel good. Smell a fragrance that makes you feel refreshed and takes away your ill feeling. You may like to carry a bottle of lemon extract with you wherever you go. Or carry a sprig of fresh rosemary and sniff it whenever the nauseating feeling starts dawning upon you!
Identify, what smell makes you happy and be with that smell, everywhere!
Seek help from those around you
Your husband, your mother or mom-in-law probably would not understand that the smell of something you liked earlier now triggers nausea. So, talk to them, they would be more than happy to discontinue using their regular perfumes, tooth pastes or anything else that might make you sick during your pregnancy. When you are comfortable, your family will be happy too!
Watch the timing of your nauseated feeling
If it’s at the same time everyday, something’s there which is happening around you that makes you sick. For example, your neighbor might be preparing meals at that time and your body doesn’t like the smell of those spices! Or when in office, the smell coming from tea time snack of your colleague may make you uncomfortable. You may talk to your neighbor or colleague or just excuse yourself and go somewhere else to avoid these triggers daily at the same time. You can always think of various solutions once you identify what’s triggering your vomit or nausea!
Avoid stress to keep off nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
Stress is almost in the root of every problem. And morning sickness is no exception. Stress builds up more acid in your stomach, which then leads to queasiness and nausea. So, what to do? Relax! Plan for relaxation time. And relax whenever possible. How to do so?
- Take leave and rest
- Listen to some soothing music
- Learn meditation
- Take warm bath
- Go for aromatherapy sessions (just be careful about the triggering smells)
- Read books
- Watch films, preferably comedies that make you laugh
- Go for walks
- Watch babies and pets. Spend time with them, if possible.
- Be in natural surroundings
- Or do whatever makes you relaxed and happy
Try Acupressure to deal with vomiting during pregnancy
Acupressure therapy in which pressure is applied to certain points of your body is effective in treating many conditions including nausea. However, because it is about nausea during pregnancy, you have to be more careful while trying out this option. It’s better to take the help of professional acupressure therapist.
You may also consider trying an acupressure band. It is a soft cotton wristband that applies pressure on the acupressure point, underside of your wrist. Some pregnant women find it useful while dealing with vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. These wristbands are sold without a prescription at most of the pharmacies and drugstores.
Try Acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting
Acupuncture, instead of pressure, uses needles that are inserted into the pressure points in your body. If you are among those women who experience nausea and vomiting throughout their course of pregnancy and can’t find relief through any other measure, you may try acupuncture. Find a professional though. In fact, before taking the services of the professional, ensure he or she is a well reviewed and respectable acupuncturist. After all, you will be doing this in your pregnancy.
Try Acustimulation to relieve nausea and vomiting
Acustimulation involves mild electrical stimulation of acupuncture points done to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Just like acupressure bands, the acustimulation device stimulates the underside of your wrist with the help of a mild electric current. Acustimulation device is generally safe to use though it may sometime cause local skin irritation. It comes with a gel which helps prevent skin irritation. Many pregnant women use this device to get rid of vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. However, you need to check if it works for you or not and that can be done only by using the device.
Engage yourself in interesting activities
Accept this- the more you think about it, the more you get it! Nausea is sometimes a psychological reaction too. Distract yourself so that you do not think much about it and start vomiting. Do what engages you fully and takes your mind off from thinking about feeling sick. Here are some suggestions:
- Read an interesting book (may be something that is mysterious and engages you fully!)
- Watch a movie. Something that makes you happy (it might be a romantic film or a comedy or a romcom!)
- Do a Sudoku puzzle or the simple crossword! The key is to engage your mind fully into something else!
- Sometimes mild exercise or yoga too help relieve nausea. However, consult your doctor before trying out this option.
- Engage in soulful conversation with your husband, or friend or anyone with whom you are comfortable and who can spare time for you!
Call doctor if it’s a severe vomiting
Seek immediate medical help if vomiting is severe and constant. If you can’t keep down fluids or food, it’s severe. Also, if you are rapidly losing weight during pregnancy, you must consult your doctor. Visit your doctor in the following situations:
- Extreme vomiting where you can’t even keep the fluids down there.
- If you are not urinating due to severe vomiting. This is a sign of severe dehydration. It may also be a sign of hyperemesis gravidarum which is a type of extreme morning sickness that may last throughout your pregnancy.
- Constant vomiting
- If vomit is brownish or has blood or streaks of blood in it
- Extreme fatigue
In all the above cases, you need to immediately call your doctor. Your doctor will decide whether you need medicine to stop the vomiting or intravenous (IV) fluids are what is needed. Your doctor might recommend having certain foods such as ginger or certain supplements like vitamin B6 supplements to help alleviate nausea.
Some pregnant women feel that their nausea and vomiting gets reduced when they eat and take their prenatal vitamin before going to sleep at night or just after getting up in the morning. Your doctor might help you identify what vitamins to take and at what time of the day as per your comfort.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are common but you need not suffer a lot. You may always deal the situation with the help of measures described above in the article.