You’re excited, you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, but then… the dreaded morning sickness strikes and for some, it’s more than just a bit of nausea upon waking. It can be relentless, draining and hang around most of the day or night!
As much as everyone will reassure you that suffering morning sickness is normal and try to console you with the fact that it means your body is changing and adapting to your very healthy baby’s needs, there’s still no denying that morning sickness is unpleasant.
What the ‘blehhh’ is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness usually occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, but there are no hard and fast rules around it and every mother-to-be will experience it differently. Some longer or shorter or the lucky ones, even not at all.
Symptoms of morning sickness can include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches and even psychological effects like depression and anxiety, because let’s face it, being continuously unwell like this takes its mental toll.
Severe morning sickness (also called hyperemesis gravidarum) is a serious medical condition and can cause dehydration and weight loss.
Why Me? Why Morning Sickness?
Again, the reason morning sickness occurs can differ from person to person, but it’s thought that a combination of both physical and metabolic changes in the body can contribute to it, including:
- High hormone levels (especially oestrogen)
- Changes in blood pressure
- Changes to how the pregnant body metabolises carbohydrates
- Physical and chemical changes that pregnancy triggers in the body
When there’s so many changes going on to accommodate the ever growing needs of a developing baby, it’s no wonder your pregnant mum senses can sometimes be confused, creating cravings for certain vitamins and minerals that are often misdirected to the wrong sorts of foods or drinks instead of to those which will actually nourish your body and your baby. This in turn can exasperate morning sickness symptoms too, creating a vicious cycle of sickness and exhaustion.
How to help morning sickness naturally
Good news is, there are some great, all natural foods you can start introducing to your diet easily to help. When your body starts absorbing and adapting to the nutritional benefits that these natural ingredients provide, morning sickness symptoms and food cravings will often subside.
Ginger is an age-old natural remedy for morning sickness and is particularly helpful in relieving nausea, heartburn, motion sickness, migraines plus it’s reputed to be great in aiding cold and flu prevention.
Some ways to include ginger into your diet to help morning sickness might be:
- Ginger tea with boiled ginger, water and sugar to taste
- Ginger biscuits with cinnamon, ground ginger and sugar.
- Broccoli and minced ginger in a stir fry that you can cook with sesame seed oil
- Ginger chicken stir fry with almonds
- Home-made ginger beer with grated ginger, syrup, lime and club soda
Chia seeds are not only nutritious, but are also one of nature’s only complete proteins, making them fabulous for both you and your growing baby. They’re rich in boron which helps your body absorb calcium and they’re also high in Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, iron, niacin and zinc, so can also help with morning sickness.
Some simple ways to make use of Chia seeds include:
- Sprinkling some seeds onto your porridge or breakfast cereal
- Blend the seeds in with your smoothies
- Include Chia seeds in baked breads, pies, cakes, puddings and biscuits
We don’t often associate coconut oil with morning sickness but 1-2 tablespoons of it a day during pregnancy can really help relieve morning sickness symptoms!
It’s also high in lauric acid, which is reputed to stimulate milk production during pregnancy and after birth, so for those planning on breastfeeding, coconut oil can help give your body the best start to this too.
- Add coconut oil to smoothies – you won’t even notice it
- Replace other cooking oils with coconut oil
If you’ve been suffering a lot of morning (or especially those who are suffering it all day!), coconut water is be a simple and delicious way to help your body rehydrate, while also containing essential minerals like potassium and magnesium that you and your baby need to stay healthy.
- Drink coconut water as a treat when you need something sweet, as it’s naturally sweet but low in sugars.
- Choose raw, organic coconut water that comes from young coconut and if it’s pink or even a light grey in colour, that’s great! These colours mean there’s a high concentration of minerals and antioxidants.
Where to find help in Brisbane if natural, nutritional remedies aren’t working
While we all like to try and treat morning sickness as naturally as possible, sometimes, especially in the case of severe morning sickness, no amount of natural, nutritional remedies will help ease it. If you are finding this the case and find you’re losing weight quickly and feel dehydrated from it, it’s really is important to seek medical advice from your GP or obstetrician who can prescribe medical treatments that are safe for both you and your baby.
There are also many holistic, natural therapy centres in and around Brisbane who specialise in homeopathic, naturopathic, acupuncture & Chinese medicine treatments that many mums-to-be find beneficial in relieving morning sickness symptoms too.
Hopefully by improving your nutrition with even just these few natural ingredients or seeking further professional advice if needed, you should start to see a reduction in sickness symptoms and start to enjoy the pregnancy journey with your growing baby like you deserve to be able to!
Other online resources to help Brisbane mums-to-be with morning sickness
Queensland Health’s useful guide to ‘Managing Morning Sickness’
Mater Mother’s Hospital ‘Morning Sickness and Hypermesis Gravidarum’
Mater Mother’s Hospital guide to ‘Nine Months of Nutrition & How Dads Can Get Involved’
Kelly Northey is the founder of the Yummy Mummy Food Company, helping mums and mums-to-be Australia-wide reduce morning sickness symptons or increase their milk supply with the 100% natural, wheat, dairy & preservative free Totally Devoted range of Breastfeeding & Pregnancy Cookies. Find them here.
This article was published in Issue 11 of our print magazine, August/September 2015.