If you find yourself suddenly offended by strong smells or too often running for the loo, you’re not alone. As many as three-quarters of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP). And, as you may have noticed, morning sickness doesn’t only strike before noon. Luckily, there are things you can do to get you through this stomach-churning time (which, by the way, usually subsides by the end of the first trimester). Doctor-prescribed medication is one option, but a new Canadian report, led by a physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, indicates that Diclectin, the go-to drug for treating morning sickness, might not be as effective as once thought. So what’s a nauseous mom-to-be to do? Talk to your healthcare provider about all the treatment options available to you, says Sarah White, a naturopathic doctor with Bronte Wellness Boutique in Oakville, Ont. “Severe and prolonged vomiting has been linked to a greater risk of preterm birth and low birth weight, which is why it’s important to seek medical guidance,” she says. For women with mild to moderate cases of NVP, however, there are a range of drug-free options proven to ease the queasies. Here are a few of the treatments White recommends to her patients.
You may have already gone off coffee, to cut back on caffeine and curb an iffy tummy, but if not, now’s a good time to switch to peppermint tea in the mornings. “Many of my patients report less nausea and vomiting when drinking mint tea daily,” White says.
Instead of three squares, opt for five to six mini-meals throughout the day. Focus on a combination of foods that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates. Some of White’s favourite snack recommendations include hard boiled eggs, trail mix, whole grain toast with smashed avocado, and a banana with nut butter.
See a naturopathic doctor or massage therapist who specializes in acupressure to trigger some of the spots related to nausea. “One of my favourite points for relieving nausea of pregnancy is located on the wrist and is called PC6,” says White. (If you’ve ever been on a cruise you may have worn “sea bands”—bracelets that put pressure on the same spot to ward off motion sickness.) A massage can also help you destress, which may ease nausea, says White.
Research shows that upping your intake of vitamin B6 may help to relieve that queasy feeling. A dose of 25 milligrams three times a day is typically recommended, but talk to your healthcare provider before you start a supplement. In the meantime, load up on B6-rich foods like bananas, nuts and cauliflower.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Spring/Summer 2018