Dear Addie: I’m about 8 weeks pregnant and sick as a dog! Did you have pregnancy sickness? Does anything help? —Paige
Dear Paige: First off, congrats on your pregnancy! What an exciting thing to look forward to in the new year! Second, my condolences to you. Pregnancy sickness is, hands down, the worst kind of nausea. But you already know that. Let’s get you on the track to feeling better, even if only a little.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy sickness (what many people call “morning sickness” though it can happen anytime of day) affects more than half of all pregnant women and typically begins around week 6 of pregnancy. Most women will start feeling better around the end of the first trimester or beginning of the second. And while it’s typically not harmful to Mom or Baby, pregnancy sickness sure takes the fun out of the early pregnancy days. So how do you get through the approximate six-week period of time when you have the rest of your daily life to contend with? Here are some suggestions from both medical professionals and veteran moms that may help:
Eat more ginger. The thought of one more can of ginger ale when I was in my first trimesters nearly sent me running for the nearest loo. If that sounds familiar, you should likely try a different ginger format. There are a bounty of ginger products available like ginger chews, or Preggie Pops and Queasy Drops by Three Lollies. Also, you can try grating some fresh ginger into some hot water for a ginger tea.
Check your vitamin label. Prenatal vitamins are like horse pills as it is, but taking one with 150% of the daily recommended value of iron, which many on the market have, and you’ll be puking in no time. Instead, for the first trimester, try a prenatal vitamin that has low or no iron. My pharmacist recommended VitaFusion’s prenatal gummy vitamins, which have everything a mom needs for a health pregnancy but no iron, which makes it easier on the stomach.
Get on the “band” wagon. Many women in the countless online pregnancy forums rave about the relief they get from the Sea-Bands, which are typically recommended for motion or seasickness but that also tout morning sickness relief as well. The idea is that the little disc on the band, when placed correctly, provides pressure on the energy channels that cause the nausea, therefore cutting off the channel and offering relief.
Keep food on standby. I always brought a plate of crackers and a banana with me to bed. When my nausea woke me up at night, I’d force down a couple of crackers and half a banana, and it would sustain me till morning. And in the morning, I’d nibble a few more crackers before getting out of bed, which made the transition a little more tolerable.
A little of this, a little of that. Eat small meals more frequently versus larger meals three times a day as you may normally do. Also, avoid spicy or fatty foods, which may upset your already sensitive stomach. Definitely don’t not eat; you need food as much as your baby does. Get plenty of rest. Avoid strong odors, which may trigger your nausea. With your doc’s okay, try a little extra B6 to tame your stomach upset. If possible, maintain an exercise routine, even if it’s lighter than what you’re used to. Getting your blood pumping can often help both soothe the nausea but get your mind off of it too.
And if all else fails… Please, please, please consult your OB before trying any of the above. I’m not a doctor, but I am a mom who has definitely had her share of pregnancy sickness and has employed many of the above tactics and gotten relief. If you, with your physician’s approval, have tried the above suggestions and still have no relief, you may be prescribed something a bit stronger to help knock out the nausea. Drugs like Zofran or Phenergan are the most popular go-tos for treating pregnancy sickness with a prescription, but your doctor may even have another trick up her sleeve.
Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t just gently remind you that if your nausea and vomiting continues beyond what you feel is normal, you should contact your doctor. You could be experiencing a more serious type of pregnancy sickness called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which requires medical attention. Make sure to stay in contact with your OB to keep a close eye on your situation.
In the end, if you can, try to keep your eye on the prize: a beautiful, healthy baby who will arrive in a few short months. Easier said than done, I know, but you will make it! Good luck!
Dear Addie is a wife and mom of three who has done her fair share of diaper changing, morning snuggling, boo-boo kissing, cold nursing, lullaby singing, baby rocking, field trip chaperoning and sideline cheering. She believes that there is no degree required to be a parenting “expert.” You just have to roll up your sleeves, dig in, ask the questions, get the answers, and give it your best shot. Oh, and have a whole lot of love and patience on-hand!
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