No one likes morning sickness, but it’s one of the most common side effects of early pregnancy. Here are some helpful facts, tips and advice on getting through it in one piece.
#1. Medically, the exact cause of morning sickness isn’t known, and the reason why some women suffer horribly from it and a lucky few escape its curse, no one knows. The growth hormone hCG is a suspected culprit, as is a surge in oestrogen.
#2. There’s no one-size-fits-all cure, but certain remedies have better results than others, and finding out what works for you is really a trial and-error process.
#3. Eating little and often is said to help, as nausea is often aggravated by a drop in blood sugar levels; eating five or six small meals that combine complex carbohydrates, proteins and good fats can be effective.
#4. Many women have specific trigger foods (often fatty or spicy foods) or smells, which can change throughout the pregnancy.
#5. A handful of women are affected by nausea so severely that without proper management it can lead to chronic dehydration, weight loss and hospitalisation – a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.
• Ginger: a great natural remedy, found crystallised, powdered, in sweets and biscuits, or try fresh ginger tea.
• Mint: drinking mint tea or chewing mint gum can help; you can buy the latter here for medicinal purposes at pharmacies.
• Vitamin B6: this is thought to reduce nausea and vomiting.
• Acupressure band: a soft wristband that acts on your pressure points to ease nausea.
While nobody wants to eat when they’re nauseous, pregnancy is famous for evoking some weird and wonderful food cravings, too; here are just a few we’ve heard among our colleagues and friends:
1. Anchovies straight from the tin
2. Mountains of iceberg lettuce
3. Sweet things, but no later than 3.30pm every day (“I could set my clock by it”)
4. Red grapes
5. Mr Bean Plain Soya Milk
6. Chicken nuggets
7. Sardine O’s from Old Chang Kee (“I normally can’t stand sardines!”)
9. Vinegary things (pickled beetroots, red cabbage, onions, Balsamic)
10. Ice cream, cheese and yoghurt (“An intense and constant craving for dairy”)
We ask the panel: Did you have morning sickness? If so, do you have any tips for easing the symptoms?
Kathryn: I suffered terrible morning sickness with my daughter and I was tired and nauseous in the first trimester with my son. The most difficult thing is keeping it under wraps when no one is supposed to know you’re pregnant! I’m surprised no one at work suspected as I positioned myself right by the door at every meeting and went from eating anything and everything to dry crackers.
Lorraine: I had morning sickness with my second child, particularly in the first trimester; I lost weight due to that. I found that smells triggered my sickness the most. I used a Vicks inhaler stick or Tiger Balm to block out the smell to prevent the sickness.
Laura: I had more of an afternoon sickness when I was pregnant! The only thing I could do to help was to nibble on salty foods to make me feel less nauseous. I never actually vomited, but feeling sick for several hours a day could actually be worse than vomiting, which just gets it all over with!
Mariel: Yes, I did. Eating dry crackers helps!
For more see our Mums & Babies section