Morning sickness refers to the nausea and vomiting that pregnant women experience, usually during early pregnancy. It is important to note that contrary to the name, this condition does strike at any time of the day. It is rather common during the first trimester, but some women experience morning sickness all through the pregnancy. The condition creates discomfort, but usually does not cause harm to the baby and mother. It typically clears by the 20th week of pregnancy. Treatment is not usually required, but there are home remedies which help ease the condition and provide relief from the discomfort.
The precise cause of morning sickness remains unclear, but it is thought to be a combination of the physical and hormonal changes in a pregnant woman. While talking about the home remedies available for the treatment of morning sickness, it is vital to mention that there is a more severe form of this nausea and vomiting known as hyperemesis gravidarum (this is abbreviated HG).
This is a serious condition whose symptoms are far more intense than those of morning sickness, including extreme vomiting, with some women reporting up to vomiting 50 times daily, dehydration as well as weight loss. For this reason, the latter requires immediate medical attention as affected women may need hospitalization. For mild morning sickness however, there are natural remedies that may be used.
NOTE: Remember, if you react to a certain home remedy, or are unsure about its effects, consult a doctor to determine the way forward.
1. Raw Ginger:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/4 Raw ginger, a grater, 1 cup of hot water and honey to taste.
Raw ginger is one of the most common herbal remedies used for the natural management of morning sickness. Ginger is rich in a group of active ingredients collectively referred to as gingerols and shogaols. When consumed, these ingredients provide much needed relief from nausea and vomiting that is typical during pregnancy. The best way to prepare this remedy is to use grated ginger steeped in hot water with honey added as a natural sweetener.
- Peel and wash the raw ginger before grating it into small pieces.
- Transfer the grated ginger to a cup containing hot water and stir to mix.
- Transfer the mixture to a pan and boil until you have half the original amount of water.
- Allow the mixture to cool down before adding some honey.
- Sip on this mixture slowly to help prevent gagging especially if you are struggling to keep food and drinks down.
- Use this remedy as often as you need to.
- Another way of using ginger to treat morning sickness is by mixing 5 drops of ginger juice with a teaspoon of raw honey and eating the mixture daily, preferably on an empty stomach.
2. Fennel Seeds:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of fennel seeds. Optional: 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds, 1 cup of boiling water, a strainer, 2 drops of fresh lemon juice and honey to taste.
Fennel seeds are best known for their characteristic aromatic smell and licorice-like taste. It is these two distinct properties that make the seeds an ideal remedy for the management of morning sickness. The seeds work by calming the stomach to relieve the discomfort associated with this condition. What’s more, the seeds’ anesthetic properties help fight the nausea. You may either chew on the seeds or use the crushed seeds to prepare a cup of tea as indicated in the directions below. Lemon juice is added for its ability to ease discomfort.
- Take a teaspoon of fennel seeds and chew on it after meals to calm the stomach and ease the process of digestion.
- Alternatively, prepare a cup of tea by placing the crushed fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water.
- Allow the seeds to steep for a few minutes and then strain.
- Place a few drops of the fresh lemon juice in the cup and follow this by stirring in the honey.
- Sip this mixture daily to keep the morning sickness away.
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Whole-wheat crackers.
Crackers are recommended for the natural treatment of morning sickness, largely because they are gentle on the stomach and can help ease the nausea. Part of the reason for this is that crackers are simple starches whose saltiness is just right for a queasy stomach. It is advisable to start the day with a cracker and then continue to have them at intervals during the day.
- Take a cracker or two once you wake up to start the day on a less-nauseated note.
- Eat crackers throughout the day or as often as you feel you need to.
- This is an effective remedy for many pregnant women, so much so that some keep a pack of crackers in their bags so that they have easy access when required.
- You may eat a couple of crackers at bedtime as well.
4. Stay Hydrated:
Time Required: Spread throughout the day.
What You Need: Adequate drinking water. Succulent fruits are an excellent option as well..
One of the side effects of morning sickness is dehydration. When pregnant women feel nauseated and have bouts of vomiting, they may find it harder to drink water, yet failure to do this creates an unending cycle simply because dehydration may worsen morning sickness. The key to doing this is to spread your water intake throughout the day. It helps to add any ingredients that make the ‘plain’ taste of water more manageable. For women who cannot take as much water, it helps to snack up on succulent fruits as outlined below. These fruits are not only an excellent source of antioxidants, they are also rich in fiber which helps to get things moving in the digestive system.
- Spread your water intake throughout the day. Eight glasses of water are recommended, but the amount of water one drinks varies from one woman to another depending on their specific conditions.
- Consider adding mint leaves, lemon juice or cucumber slices to your drinking water for a refreshing effect.
- In addition to drinking lots of water, it also helps to snack on succulent fruits that have high water content. Fruits in this category include tomatoes, oranges, and melons.
- Some vegetables that would also help include celery and carrots.
- You may also prepare frozen fruit bars which you can suck on during summer to stay hydrated and get relief from morning sickness.
5. Peppermint Tea:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of fresh peppermint leaves, 1 cup of boiling water, a strainer and a dash of honey.
Peppermint is an effective remedy for an unsettled stomach, and is especially great for managing nausea that occurs during morning sickness. The tea’s refreshing taste is ideal for women struggling with the gag reflex. All you need to prepare the tea is fresh peppermint leaves, hot water and a dash of honey for this herbal tea.
- Place the peppermint leaves in a cup of boiling water and stir.
- Wait for about 5 minutes as the leaves steep.
- Pass the mixture through a strainer and then add some honey to taste.
- Drink this tea daily to ease the discomfort associated with morning sickness.
6. Fresh Lemon Juice:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of fresh lemon juice, a dash of mint leaves, 1 tablespoon of ginger juice and some honey. Warm water (optional).
Fresh lemon juice is also recommended for the natural treatment of morning sickness, thanks to its ability to calm the stomach. The juice is also a refreshing way to stay hydrated and keep the nausea off. Additions including mint leaves and ginger juice compliment the remedy’s efficiency. In the absence of these ingredients, you may use warm water that is both gentle on the stomach and has a cleansing effect on the body.
- Add the mint leaves and ginger juice to the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Stir in some honey and drink this juice multiple times daily until the morning sickness eases.
- The other option is to add the lemon juice to warm water and drink it for an easy remedy.
7. Gentle Exercise:
Time Required: 20-30 Min
What You Need: Appropriate workout gear.
Morning sickness can easily make the simplest of tasks feel insurmountable, but one of the best things that an affected woman can do for herself is to take on gentle exercises. These exercises help the body release endorphins, what are commonly referred to as ‘feel-good’ hormones, which help counter the nausea and vomiting. What’s more, they serve as a simple distraction which helps get relief because the more one thinks about the morning sickness, the more they are likely to get endless bouts of the same.
- Choose a simple routine of gentle exercises that you can incorporate into your daily schedule without straining your body.
- Great options include cycling, nature walks, yoga and swimming among others. Even doing any of these routines for just 30 minutes daily makes a lot of difference.
NOTE: While most pregnant women can maintain their workout schedules in the first trimester, it is advisable to take moderately-intense routines and avoid high-intensity workouts that may strain the body.
8. Use Supplements:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Any of the supplements recommended.
A number of herbal supplements have been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of morning sickness. Their effects will vary from one woman to another, but the most important thing is to let your doctor know to avoid drug-drug interactions if you are on another medication. Secondly, check to ascertain that the supplements purchased are safe for pregnant women. Below are some herbal supplements that are recommended for pregnant women to ease morning sickness.
- Ginger tablets/ Ginger essential oil eases the nausea and helps reduce the vomiting. These supplements also help improve digestion.
- Vitamin B (B6 and B12) supplements have also been shown to ease nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Additionally, they also help reduce the fatigue.
- Magnesium and calcium supplements are known to reduce the symptoms that accompany nausea and vomiting, including dizziness, headaches, and in some cases, muscle cramping.
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Handy herbal satchels.
Many women who experience morning sickness will find that their sense of smell is extremely heightened, and this is sometimes at the core of the nausea and vomiting. The best way to steer clear of this is to avoid the smells, but this is not always possible. As such, it helps to incorporate aromatherapy into one’s routines to ease the effects of the morning sickness.
This typically involves carrying a handy satchel of your preferred herbs or essential oils. You will then sniff on these whenever you encounter unpleasant smells. Essential oils are very beneficial as they help calm the stomach, reduce cramping and even improve one’s moods.
- Simply pack a satchel of your preferred herbs and/or oils for use on the go. Some of the most common options include peppermint for its refreshing aroma, chamomile, lavender and ginger.
- Thyme is also recommended for its soothing and relaxing properties.
- If at home, using a diffuser for the oils is an excellent way to fight the morning sickness.
- Another option is to add the essential oils to your bath water and soak in it to relieve the symptoms of morning sickness.
10. Practical Tips:
In addition to the remedies listed above, it also helps to take practical tips that will reduce the frequency of morning sickness. These include:
- Avoid large portions at meal times as this will only increase the discomfort and make it harder to deal with the morning sickness. Instead of the conventional three meals daily, opt for 5-6 smaller and more frequent meals.
- Get enough rest to prevent fatigue and burnout as these typically worsen the symptoms of morning sickness.
- If your morning sickness is especially bad in the morning, give yourself permission to get up slowly.
- Snack up on something bland such as plain toast, crackers or a dry biscuit.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes to get rid of unnecessary discomfort.
- Lastly, ask for help from your support system, especially with tasks that may act as triggers – tasks such as cooking.
Morning sickness will usually resolve on its own after the first trimester for most women, but if this does not happen, check with your doctor to rule out any underlying factors. As mentioned above, in cases of extreme vomiting, hospitalization and intervention may be required.